Within the legal system of England and Wales, there is no body of law separately identifiable as relating exclusively to older people. Old age, unlike childhood, has no separate legal status; although age thresholds may act as a gateway to welfare benefits, or as a barrier to remaining in employment, older people generally have no greater call on public services or public protection than other adults. This has both an advantage and a disadvantage. The advantage is that older people have the freedom to reject paternalistic involvement from concerned others, relying on their status as capacitated adults. The disadvantage is that legal powers and duties in relation to older people are often ill-defined, and securing rights for older people may be a contentious issue.
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