Aims Managers and administrators have a key strategic role and responsibility for the way the care of older people is delivered within health and social care services, since the decisions made and directions taken at this level have a direct influence on services delivered. This article provides an outline of the context in which the services provided for older people have emerged, especially within health care, and offers strategies for the way forward.Background The standard of care received by older people is high on the agenda in contemporary health care. Frequent reports have questioned this quality over the years, yet concerns still remain. A key factor influencing quality of care received by older people, can be attributed to the persistence and perpetuation of ageist attitudes held by society and those working within health and social care settings at all levels. Methods Drawing upon a range of literature, an overview of those factors that seem to be attributable to the development of contemporary attitudes and perceptions about older people and their care are reviewed, focusing particularly upon health and social care workers, especially nurses.
Findings The role of education in particular is explored as this has a key role in influencing attitudes towards caring for older people and will impact directly on the way in which all care and services develop.
Conclusion A number of areas are outlined for future development and research that aim to address and serve the needs of older people, and which could be supported at a managerial and administrative level to promote positive attitudes.