Strategies for old age and agency of the elderly in towns of the Low Countries in the Renaissance

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Abstract

Contrary to what is sometimes assumed, the elderly in the distant past could not always rely on voluntary care. Therefore, some of them had to develop strategies to secure assistance during old age. We focus on towns in the Low Countries, where family ties were weak, and ageing individuals likely had to plan for old age. We show how members of the middling layers of society could use wills and retirement contracts to ensure care provided by both kin and non-kin, and also to secure living standards during their final years. By recording such contracts, the elderly remained in control of their lives, despite their advancing years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-284
Number of pages20
JournalContinuity and Change
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • History
  • Economic History

Keywords

  • retirement contracts
  • wills
  • medieval history
  • early modern history

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