This volume presents innovative research on issues of importance to the well-being of older persons: labor market behavior, health care, housing and living arrangements, and saving and wealth.
Specific topics include the effect of labor market rigidities on the employment of older workers; the effect on retirement of the availability of continuation coverage benefits; and the influence of the prospective payment system (PPS) on rising Medicare costs. Also considered are the effects of health and wealth on living arrangement decisions; the incentive effects of employer-provided pension plans; the degree of substitution between 401(k) plans and other employer-provided retirement saving arrangements; and the extent to which housing wealth determines how much the elderly save and consume.
Two final studies use simulations that describe the implications of stylized economic models of behavior among the elderly. This timely volume will be of interest to anyone concerned with the economics of aging.
Aged by Culture
Margaret Morganroth Gullette University of Chicago Press, 2003 Library of Congress HQ1061.G863 2004 | Dewey Decimal 305.26
Americans enjoy longer lives and better health, yet we are becoming increasingly obsessed with trying to stay young. What drives the fear of turning 30, the boom in anti-aging products, the wars between generations? What men and women of all ages have in common is that we are being insidiously aged by the culture in which we live.
In this illuminating book, Margaret Morganroth Gullette reveals that aging doesn't start in our chromosomes, but in midlife downsizing, the erosion of workplace seniority, threats to Social Security, or media portrayals of "aging Xers" and "greedy" Baby Boomers. To combat the forces aging us prematurely, Gullette invites us to change our attitudes, our life storytelling, and our society. Part intimate autobiography, part startling cultural expose, this book does for age what gender and race studies have done for their categories. Aged by Culture is an impassioned manifesto against the pernicious ideologies that steal hope from every stage of our lives.
Let’s face it: almost everyone fears growing older. We worry about losing our looks, our health, our jobs, our self-esteem—and being supplanted in work and love by younger people. It feels like the natural, inevitable consequence of the passing years, But what if it’s not? What if nearly everything that we think of as the “natural” process of aging is anything but?
In Agewise, renowned cultural critic Margaret Morganroth Gullette reveals that much of what we dread about aging is actually the result of ageism—which we can, and should, battle as strongly as we do racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry. Drawing on provocative and under-reported evidence from biomedicine, literature, economics, and personal stories, Gullette probes the ageism thatdrives discontent with our bodies, our selves, and our accomplishments—and makes us easy prey for marketers who want to sell us an illusory vision of youthful perfection. Even worse, rampant ageism causes society to discount, and at times completely discard, the wisdom and experience acquired by people over the course of adulthood. The costs—both collective and personal—of this culture of decline are almost incalculable, diminishing our workforce, robbing younger people of hope for a decent later life, and eroding the satisfactions and sense of productivity that should animate our later years.
Once we open our eyes to the pervasiveness of ageism, however, we can begin to fight it—and Gullette lays out ambitious plans for the whole life course, from teaching children anti-ageism to fortifying the social safety nets, and thus finally making possible the real pleasures and opportunities promised by the new longevity. A bracing, controversial call to arms, Agewise will surprise, enlighten, and, perhaps most important, bring hope to readers of all ages.
This book provides a comprehensive analysis of federal programs for the aging, and their origins. Landmark federal legislation affecting the aging was enacted in the 1930s, and the intervening decades have witnesses a dramatic increase in the number and scope of programs. But far from constituting a cohesive national policy for the elderly, the many programs reflect the particular political and social conditions surrounding their origin and implementation. The multiplicity and complexity of resources and services available make achieving even a reasonable grasp of this field extremely difficult. This study offers a coherent and readable summary of this important area of federal legislation.
Seniors today find themselves living in a time when rapid changes in health care delivery have made vital decisions about when and how best to obtain medical treatment difficult and confusing to navigate. At the same time, seniors proportionately need more health care services, have a higher incidence of chronic disease, and take more medications than any other demographic—and yet have the lowest rate of health literacy.
In this short, easy-to-read book designed as a concise but effective healthcare guide, Dr. Harold Kennedy, with more than 60 years of experience practicing medicine, guides readers through the healthcare maze faced by many seniors. While the information in this book is not intended to diagnose or treat ailments, it will give readers a valuable foundation of health literacy, crucial in making good decisions regarding their health and medical care services, and that of their loved ones.
Written expressly to help persons aged 60 years and older, Aging and Health for the US Elderly: A Health Primer for Ages 60 to 90 is essential reading for all older Americans. Chapter topics include health risk factors; social determinants of disease; best practices; and up-to-date prevention, surveillance, and wellness, with special chapters tailored specifically for women and for men. Coverage also includes an overview of the U.S. health care system, both its history and the current state of affairs. Scientific validity of the evidence is provided by more than 180 references.
By 2030, over 30% of the Japanese population will be 65 or older, foreshadowing the demographic changes occurring elsewhere in Asia and around the world. What can we learn from a study of the aging population of Japan and how can these findings inform a path forward for the elderly, their families, and for policy makers?
Based on nearly a decade of research, Aging and Loss examines how the landscape of aging is felt, understood, and embodied by older adults themselves. In detailed portraits, anthropologist Jason Danely delves into the everyday lives of older Japanese adults as they construct narratives through acts of reminiscence, social engagement and ritual practice, and reveals the pervasive cultural aesthetic of loss and of being a burden.
Through first-hand accounts of rituals in homes, cemeteries, and religious centers, Danely argues that what he calls the self-in-suspense can lead to the emergence of creative participation in an economy of care. In everyday rituals for the spirits, older adults exercise agency and reinterpret concerns of social abandonment within a meaningful cultural narrative and, by reimagining themselves and their place in the family through these rituals, older adults in Japan challenge popular attitudes about eldercare. Danely’s discussion of health and long-term care policy, and community welfare organizations, reveal a complex picture of Japan’s aging society.
Aging and Old Age
Richard A. Posner University of Chicago Press, 1995 Library of Congress HQ1061.P67 1995 | Dewey Decimal 305.26
Are the elderly posing a threat to America's political system with their enormous clout? Are they stretching resources to the breaking point with their growing demands for care? Distinguished economist and legal scholar Richard A. Posner explodes the myth that the United States could be on the brink of gerontological disaster.
Aging and Old Age offers fresh insight into a wide range of social and political issues relating to the elderly, such as health care, crime, social security, and discrimination. From the dread of death to the inordinate law-abidingness of the old, from their loquacity to their penny-pinching, Posner paints a surprisingly rich, revealing, and unsentimental portrait of the millions of elderly people in the United States. He explores issues such as age discrimination in employment, creativity and leadership as functions of age, and the changing social status of the elderly. Why are old people, presumably with less to lose, more unwilling to take risks than young people? Why don't the elderly in the United States command the respect and affection they once did and still do in other countries? How does aging affect driving and criminal records? And how does aging relate to creativity across different careers?
Represents the first integrated effort to deal with age as a crucial variable in the social system. Of special interest to sociologists for whom the sociology of age seems destined to become a special field.
Interprets the research findings on aging for professionals concerned with the prevention and treatment of problems associated with aging. Each chapter, written by an expert, deals with the field within the broad context of aging in contemporary society.
Selects, condenses, and organizes the entire body of social science research on human beings in their middle and later years. This volume summarizes empirically-tested generalizations from some three thousand research studies.
Aging And The Law
Lawrence Frolik Temple University Press, 1999 Library of Congress KF390.A4A424 1999 | Dewey Decimal 346.73013
As Americans live longer, and as the "baby boom" generation approaches retirement, the social, political, and legal needs of older citizens pose a challenge to our institutions. One response has been the rise of "elder law." In this groundbreaking reader, Lawrence A. Frolik gathers together seminal essays on the intersection of law and issues affecting older Americans. The essays take into account not only the variety of professional perspectives but also the perspectives of individual older people, care givers, and family members.
After an introduction covering the nature of elder law, social attitudes toward the elderly, aging and ethnicity, and generational justice, the book includes sections on work, income, and wealth; housing; mental capacity; health care decision making; long-term care; health care finance; family and social issues; and abuse, neglect, victimization, and elderly criminals. It concludes with essays on legal representation and ethical issues. The essays have been edited to make them easily accessible to students and the general reader, and Professor Frolik has supplied introductions to the sections, as well as summaries of issues for which the essays could not be included.
Both comprehensive and engaging, Aging and the Law brings together essays by lawyers, social workers, health care professionals, and policy makers, as well as selected case law and congressional hearings.
This is a story about aging in place in a world of global movement. Around the world, many older people have stayed still but have been profoundly impacted by the movement of others. Without migrating themselves, many older people now live in a far “different country” than the one of their memories. Recently, the Brexit vote and the 2016 election of Trump have re-enforced prevalent stereotypes of “the racist older person”. This book challenges simplified images of the old as racist, nostalgic and resistant to change by taking a deeper, more nuanced look at older people’s complex relationship with the diversity and multiculturalism that has grown and developed around them. Aging in a Changing World takes a look at how some older people in New Zealand have been responding to and interacting with the new multiculturalism they now encounter in their daily lives. Through their unhurried, micro, daily interactions with immigrants, they quietly emerge as agents of the very social change they are assumed to oppose.
A growing number of studies indicate that social ties that are formed by older people in the church have a significant positive impact on their physical and mental health. Aging in the Church: How Social Relationships Affect Health by Neal Krause constitutes the first attempt to provide a comprehensive assessment of the various types of relationships that stem from church involvement.
Among the many types of relationships Krause explores are closecompanion friendships, social-support structures (such as assistance provided by fellow church members during difficult times), and interactions that arise from Bible study and prayer groups. Through his thorough investigation of the underlying links between these relationships and the ways they relate to attributes like forgiveness, hope, gratitude, and altruism, the author hopes to explain why older adults who are involved in religious activities tend to enjoy better physical and mental health than those who are not involved in religious communities. Going well beyond merely reviewing the existing research on this subject, Aging in the Church provides a blueprint for taking research on church-based social relationships and health to the next level by identifying conceptual and methodological issues that investigators will have to confront as they delve more deeply into these connections.
Though these are complex issues, readers will find plain language throughout, along with literature drawn from a wide array of disciplines, including sociology, psychology, public health, medicine, psychiatry, nursing, social work, gerontology, and theology. Insights from these diverse fields are supplemented with ideas drawn from literature, poetry, philosophy, and ethics. As a result, Aging in the Church takes on a truly interdisciplinary focus that will appeal to a wide variety of scholars, researchers, and students.
Japanese and American economists assess the present economic status of the elderly in the United States and Japan, and consider the impact of an aging population on the economies of the two countries.
With essays on labor force participation and retirement, housing equity and the economic status of the elderly, budget implications of an aging population, and financing social security and health care in the 1990s, this volume covers a broad spectrum of issues related to the economics of aging. Among the book's findings are that workers are retiring at an increasingly earlier age in both countries and that, as the populations age, baby boomers in the United States will face diminishing financial resources as the ratio of retirees to workers sharply increases.
The result of a joint venture between the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Japan Center for Economic Research, this book complements Housing Markets in the United States and Japan (1994) by integrating research on housing markets with economic issues of the aged in the United States and Japan.
Active aging programs that encourage older adults to practice health- promoting behaviors are proliferating worldwide. In Poland, the meanings and ideals of these programs have become caught up in the sociocultural and political-economic changes that have occurred during the lifetimes of the oldest generations—most visibly, the transition from socialism to capitalism. Yet practices of active aging resonate with older forms of activity in late life in ways that exceed these narratives of progress. Moreover, some older Poles come to live valued, meaningful lives in old age despite the threats to respect and dignity posed by illness and debility. Through intimate portrayals of a wide range of experiences of aging in Poland, Jessica C. Robbins shows that everyday practices of remembering and relatedness shape how older Poles come to be seen by themselves and by others as living worthy, valued lives.
Analyses in the Economics of Aging summarizes a massive amount of new research on several popular and less-examined topics pertaining to the relationship between economics and aging. Among the many themes explored in this volume, considerable attention is given to new research on retirement savings, the cost and efficiency of medical resources, and the predictors of health events.
The volume begins with a discussion of the risks and merits of 401(k) plans. Subsequent chapters present recent analysis of the growth of Medicare costs; the different aspects of disability; and the evolution of health, wealth, and living arrangements over the life course. Keeping with the global tradition of previous volumes, Analyses in the Economics of Aging also includes comparative studies on savings behavior in Italy, the Netherlands, and the United States; an examination of household savings among different age groups in Germany; and a chapter devoted to population aging and the plight of widows in India.
Carefully compiled and containing some of the most cutting-edge research and analysis available, this volume should be of interest to any specialist or policymaker concerned with ongoing changes in savings and retirement behaviors.
Animals, Aging, and the Aged was first published in 1981. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
This volume explores the significant contributions of animals to our understanding of aging, to improving geriatric medicine, and to providing companionship and assistance to the elderly. Leo L. Bustad discusses what can be learned from animal life-span studies about the process of aging, including the problems of cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and age-related mental conditions. The results of these studies suggest that changes in life-style—especially the diet—may modify the effects of chronic degenerative diseases.
Other studies show that caring for a pet can contribute greatly to the health and well being of the elderly. Bustad surveys experiments using animals in therapy and he presents, for the first time, evaluative instruments for choosing the appropriate pet. Companion animals allow many elderly people to maintain their independence. Animals are also helpful as aids for those with visual, hearing, and physical impairments. An appendix lists agencies that train dogs as aids to the physically impaired.
Animals, Aging, and the Aged is a thoughtful discussion of the physical, psychological, and social problems faced by the elderly, with emphasis on the ways that animals have contributed to the solution of some of those problems. As such, it will be useful for those involved in geriatric medicine and social work and in veterinary medicine and research. This book is volume 5 in the series Wesley W. Spink Lectures in Comparative Medicine.
Wayne Booth has selected, and has been inspired by, the works by some of our greatest writers on the art of growing older. In this widely praised anthology he shows that the very making of art is in itself a victory over time.
Culled chiefly from great literary works, this unusual compendium of prose and poetry . . . highlights the physical and emotional aspects of aging. . . . The thoughtful commentary with which Booth connects the selections reminds readers that physical decay and fear of death are conditions common to us all. . . . Provocative."—Publishers Weekly
"His blending of literature, humor, and crotchetiness will capture the interest of readers of all ages."—Booklist
"Funny . . . profound. . . . It is hard to resist the closing chapters, which celebrate the freedom from constraint and ambition, the permission to be crotchety, the joy of memory and perspective that come with age."—William March, Tampa Tribune
"Booth puts a new spin on the worries many of us have about what's catching up with us. . . . Booth's book . . . [is] for both the younger readers and those of us who are nervously counting birthdays."—Sacramento Bee
People are living longer, creating an unexpected boom in the elderly population. Longevity is increasing not only in wealthy countries but in developing nations as well. In response, many policy makers and scholars are preparing for a global crisis of aging. But for too long, Western experts have conceived of aging as a universal predicament—one that supposedly provokes the same welfare concerns in every context. In the twenty-first century, Kavita Sivaramakrishnan writes, we must embrace a new approach to the problem, one that prioritizes local agendas and values.
As the World Ages is a history of how gerontologists, doctors, social scientists, and activists came to define the issue of global aging. Sivaramakrishnan shows that transnational organizations like the United Nations, private NGOs, and philanthropic foundations embraced programs that reflected prevailing Western ideas about development and modernization. The dominant paradigm often assumed that, because large-scale growth of an aging population happened first in the West, developing societies will experience the issues of aging in the same ways and on the same terms as their Western counterparts. But regional experts are beginning to question this one-size-fits-all model and have chosen instead to recast Western expertise in response to provincial conditions. Focusing on South Asia and Africa, Sivaramakrishnan shows how regional voices have argued for an approach that responds to local needs and concerns. The research presented in As the World Ages will help scholars, policy makers, and advocates appreciate the challenges of this recent shift in global demographics and find solutions sensitive to real life in diverse communities.
Doug Anderson's "Blues For Unemployed Secret Police" dramatically reflects his experience of growing up in the sixties, serving as a field medical corpsman in Viet Nam, and confronting the modern era where "a good torturer can always find a job." With passion, humor, and strikingly original images, these poems illuminate everything from bad politics to love gone wrong.
Africa is known both for having a primarily youthful population and for its elders being held in high esteem. However, this situation is changing: people in Africa are living longer, some for many years with chronic, disabling illnesses. In Ghana, many older people, rather than experiencing a sense of security that they will be respected and cared for by the younger generations, feel anxious that they will be abandoned and neglected by their kin. In response to their concerns about care, they and their kin are exploring new kinds of support for aging adults, from paid caregivers to social groups and senior day centers. These innovations in care are happening in fits and starts, in episodic and scattered ways, visible in certain circles more than others. By examining emergent discourses and practices of aging in Ghana, Changes in Care makes an innovative argument about the uneven and fragile processes by which some social change occurs.
There is a short film that accompanies the book, “Making Happiness: Older People Organize Themselves” (2020), an 11-minute film by Cati Coe. Available at: https://doi.org/doi:10.7282/t3-thke-hp15
Most women in the West use contraceptives in order to avoid having children. But in rural Gambia and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa, many women use contraceptives for the opposite reason—to have as many children as possible.
Using ethnographic and demographic data from a three-year study in rural Gambia, Contingent Lives explains this seemingly counterintuitive fact by juxtaposing two very different understandings of the life course: one is a linear, Western model that equates aging and the ability to reproduce with the passage of time, the other a Gambian model that views aging as contingent on the cumulative physical, social, and spiritual hardships of personal history, especially obstetric trauma. Viewing each of these two models from the perspective of the other, Caroline Bledsoe produces fresh understandings of the classical anthropological subjects of reproduction, time, and aging as culturally shaped within women's conjugal lives. Her insights will be welcomed by scholars of anthropology and demography as well as by those working in public health, development studies, gerontology, and the history of medicine.
Too often the elderly suffer “death by invisibility” long before their physical demise, but what can we learn from creative individuals when they grow old? This book examines the work of two major contemporary women poets to show how they confront aging in a deliberate and constructive way. Sylvia Henneberg reveals how May Sarton and Adrienne Rich have critically evaluated and embraced their roles as elder poets and “creative crones”—and in doing so offer a powerful resistance to age discrimination.
The Creative Crone highlights new dimensions in the works of both writers: one deeply engaged with aging but often overlooked by scholars, the other a prominent poet and feminist but not generally thought of in the context of aging. Henneberg shows how these writers offer radically different but richly complementary strategies for breaking the silence surrounding age. Rich provides an approach to aging so strongly intertwined with other political issues that its complexity may keep us from immediately identifying age as one of her chief concerns. On the other hand, Sarton’s direct treatment of aging sensitizes us to its importance and helps us see its significance in such writings as Rich’s. Meanwhile, Rich’s efforts to politicize age create stimulating contexts for Sarton’s work.
Henneberg explores elements of these writers’ individual poems that develop themes of aging, including imagery and symbol, the construction of a persona, and the uses of rhythms to reinforce the themes. She also includes analyses of their fiction and nonfiction works and draws ideas from age studies by scholars such as Margaret Morganroth Gullette, Kathleen Woodward, and Thomas Cole.
The lasting impression of these poets is that any evaluation of their writings—and any serious study of personal or political identity —will benefit from including a critique of aging. Together, Sarton and Rich establish a literary symbiosis that suggests strategies for reassessing and radicalizing our notions about aging, senescence, and literature. This new perspective on their work shows that creative and crone are far from mutually exclusive; considered in tandem, they renew the discourse on late-life creativity.
You’ve argued politics with your aunt since high school, but failing eyesight now prevents her from keeping current with the newspaper. Your mother fractured her hip last year and is confined to a wheelchair. Your father has Alzheimer’s and only occasionally recognizes you. Someday, as Muriel Gillick points out in this important yet unsettling book, you too will be old. And no matter what vitamin regimen you’re on now, you will likely one day find yourself sick or frail. How do you prepare? What will you need?
With passion and compassion, Gillick chronicles the stories of elders who have struggled with housing options, with medical care decisions, and with finding meaning in life. Skillfully incorporating insights from medicine, health policy, and economics, she lays out action plans for individuals and for communities. In addition to doing all we can to maintain our health, we must vote and organize—for housing choices that consider autonomy as well as safety, for employment that utilizes the skills and wisdom of the elderly, and for better management of disability and chronic disease.
Most provocatively, Gillick argues against desperate attempts to cure the incurable. Care should focus on quality of life, not whether it can be prolonged at any cost. “A good old age,” writes Gillick, “is within our grasp.” But we must reach in the right direction.
The number of Americans eligible to receive Social Security benefits will increase from forty-five million to nearly eighty million in the next twenty years. Retirement systems must therefore adapt to meet the demands of the largest aging population in our nation’s history. In Developments in the Economics of Aging, David A. Wise and a distinguished group of analysts examine the economic issues that will confront policy makers as they seek to design policies to protect the economic and physical health of these older Americans.
The volume looks at such topics as factors influencing work and retirement decisions at older ages, changes in life satisfaction associated with retirement, and the shift in responsibility for managing retirement assets from professional money managers of traditional pension plans to individual account holders of 401(k)s. Developments in the Economics of Aging also addresses the complicated relationship between health and economic status, including why health behaviors vary across populations and how socioeconomic measures correlate with health outcomes.
The oldest members of the Baby-Boomer generation are now crossing the threshold of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare with extensive and significant implications for these programs’ overall spending and fiscal sustainability. Yet the aging of the Baby Boomers is just one part of the rapidly changing landscape of aging in the United States and around the world.
The latest volume in the NBER’s Economics of Aging series, Discoveries in the Economics of Aging assembles incisive analyses of the most recent research in this expanding field of study. A substantive focus of the volume is the well-documented relationship between health and financial well-being, especially as people age. The contributors explore this issue from a variety of perspectives within the context of the changing demographic landscape. The first part of the volume explores recent trends in health measurement, including the use of alternative measurement indices. Later contributions explore, among other topics, alternate determinants of health, including retirement, marital status, and cohabitation with family, and the potential for innovations, interventions, and public policy to improve health and financial well-being.
Due to falling fertility rates, the aging of the baby-boom cohort, and increases in life expectancy, the percentage of the population that is elderly is expected to increase rapidly in the United States and Japan over the next two decades. These fourteen essays show that, despite differences in culture and social and government structure, population aging will have many similar macro and micro effects on the economic status and behavior of the elderly in both countries.
The most obvious effects will be on social programs such as public pension systems and the provision for medical needs of the elderly. But, the contributors demonstrate, aging will also affect markets for labor, capital, housing, and health care services. It will affect firms through their participation in the demand side of the labor market and through their provisions for pensions. And aging will influence saving rates, the rate of return on assets, the balance of payments, and, most likely, economic growth.
This volume will interest scholars and policy makers concerned with the economics of aging.
The Economics of Aging
Edited by David A. Wise University of Chicago Press, 1988 Library of Congress HQ1064.U5E26 1988 | Dewey Decimal 305.260973
The Economics of Aging presents results from an ongoing National Bureau of Economic Research project. Contributors consider the housing mobility and living arrangements of the elderly, their labor force participation and retirement, the economics of their health care, and their financial status. The goal of the research is to further our understanding both of the factors that determine the well-being of the elderly and of the consequences that follow from an increasingly older population with longer individual life spans. Each paper is accompanied by critical commentary.
Elegy for Desire
Luis Omar Salinas University of Arizona Press, 2005 Library of Congress PS3569.A45943E44 2005 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
The most difficult poems to write
Are those of love and those of death.
I’m half in love and half dead.
It stands to reason that I’ve come upon a difficult task.
Despite his disclaimer, it seems no difficult task at all. One of the pioneers of Chicano poetry and a highly esteemed artist in the Mexican American community, Luis Omar Salinas is a poet with Tex-Mex bordertown roots whose work is studied at the Sorbonne. Beginning with his legendary first book, Crazy Gypsy, he has been a major figure not only in Chicano literature but in all of American poetry—both a poet of the people and a voice for other poets.
In Elegy for Desire, Salinas has crafted visionary poems about growing older and looking back on a rich life of poetry. In this quiet yet hallucinatory volume, Salinas offers us a prismatic collection of odes, elegies, and cantos of desire—complex poems about our place in the world. Poems to be savored in solitude, or better still with an intimate companion. Few poets, Latino or otherwise, are as daring with love poetry that is so honestly fierce. Salinas gives us a meditation on gently aging while continuing to celebrate personal experience that draws upon the world. One need only sample these rich, elegant stanzas to recognize the wealth of wisdom found in their words.
Elegy for Desire is a testament to a singular talent that has survived for decades . . . and will continue to inspire long beyond his lifetime.
The dead can’t complain, and lovers always do.
Well, I’m here, and that is important.
And if life can be as exciting as this,
I must be doing something right.
Embracing Age: How Catholic Nuns Became Models of Aging Well examines a community of individuals whose aging trajectories contrast mainstream American experiences. In mainstream American society, aging is presented as a “problem,” a state to be avoided as long as possible, a state that threatens one’s ability to maintain independence, autonomy, control over one’s surroundings. Aging “well” (or avoiding aging) has become a twenty-first century American preoccupation. Embracing Age provides a window into the everyday lives of American Catholic nuns who experience longevity and remarkable health and well-being at the end of life. Catholic nuns aren’t only healthier in older age, they are healthier because they practice a culture of acceptance and grace around aging. Embracing Age demonstrates how aging in the convent becomes understood by the nuns to be a natural part of the life course, not one to be feared or avoided. Anna I. Corwin shows readers how Catholic nuns create a cultural community that provides a model for how to grow old, decline, and die that is both embedded in American culture and quite distinct from other American models.
Open access edition funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The text of this book is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
The End Game
Corey M. Abramson Harvard University Press, 2015 Library of Congress HQ1064.U5A223 2015 | Dewey Decimal 305.260973
Senior citizens face a gauntlet of physical, psychological, and social hurdles. But do disadvantages accumulated over a lifetime make the final years especially difficult for some people? Or does the quality of life among poor and affluent seniors converge? Corey Abramson investigates whether lifelong inequality structures the lives of the elderly.
Winner of the MLA Prize for Independent Scholars and the APA's Florence L. Denmark Award for Contributions to Women and Aging
When the term “ageism” was coined in 1969, many problems of exclusion seemed resolved by government programs like Social Security and Medicare. As people live longer lives, today’s great demotions of older people cut deeper into their self-worth and human relations, beyond the reach of law or public policy. In Ending Ageism, or How Not to Shoot Old People, award-winning writer and cultural critic Margaret Morganroth Gullette confronts the offenders: the ways people aging past midlife are portrayed in the media, by adult offspring; the esthetics and politics of representation in photography, film, and theater; and the incitement to commit suicide for those with early signs of “dementia.”
In this original and important book, Gullette presents evidence of pervasive age-related assaults in contemporary societies and their chronic affects. The sudden onset of age-related shaming can occur anywhere—the shove in the street, the cold shoulder at the party, the deaf ear at the meeting, the shut-out by the personnel office or the obtuseness of a government. Turning intimate suffering into public grievances, Ending Ageism, Or How Not to Shoot Old People effectively and beautifully argues that overcoming ageism is the next imperative social movement of our time.
About the cover image:
This elegant, dignified figure--Leda Machado, a Cuban old enough to have seen the Revolution--once the center of a vast photo mural, is now a fragment on a ruined wall. Ageism tears down the structures that all humans need to age well; to end it, a symbol of resilience offers us all brisk blue-sky energy.
“Leda Antonia Machado” from “Wrinkles of the City, 2012.”
Piotr Trybalski / Trybalski.com. Courtesy of the artist.
For more than a decade, The Graying of America has helped thousands of middle-aged and senior citizens find their way through the thickets and thorns of growing old. Now greatly revised and expanded to include information gleaned from studies of the past five years, this third edition has been retitled to stress its ongoing purpose: conveying a wealth of commonsense information for general readers in nontechnical language.
The book is a storehouse of concise, useful information on the effects of aging on health, the mind, and behavior. Its 588 entries (including 172 new and 150 substantially revised) cover a broad spectrum of topics—from adjusting to retirement to grandparenting, sleep disorders to Alzheimer’s disease. All are directed to the average reader; all stress successful aging and how to accomplish it.
New entries cover such topics as the incidence and causes of frailty, the cognitive benefits of diversified activity, and findings of the Women’s Health Initiative. There is new information on matters like the effects of untreated hearing impairment on spouses and the impact of insufficient exposure to sunlight on sleep, plus new insight into what to look for in searching for a quality nursing home for a loved one.
Also included are results of recent studies on interventions that help to reduce age-related declines in mental and physical health, among them revelations that reports on age-related declines in memory have been skewed by testing errors. And with memory a concern for seniors fearful of declining mental agility, the book tells how to bypass memory problems—such as how to remember where you parked your car—and how physical exercise and challenging mental games can help reduce the risk of dementia. Other “how to avoid” entries offer ways to protect against eye fatigue in computer use, hip fractures when falling, and back injuries while lifting heavy objects.
No other book is so specifically geared to the challenges of how to reduce or even eliminate many of the problems associated with growing old. Aging in the Twenty-First Century can help seniors come to grips with their own aging process—and help younger adults understand what is happening to older family members.
Winner of the 1998 Paul A. Samuelson Award given by TIAA-CREF, The Evolution of Retirement is the first comprehensive economic history of retirement in America. With life expectancies steadily increasing, the retirement rate of men over age 64 has risen drastically. Dora L. Costa looks at factors underlying this increase and shows the dramatic implications of her findings for both the general public and the U.S. government. Using statistical, and demographic concepts, Costa sheds light on such important topics as rising incomes and retirement, work and disease, the job prospects of older workers, living arrangements of the elderly, the development of a retirement lifestyle, and pensions and politics.
"[Costa's] major contribution is to show that, even without Social Security and Medicare, retirement would have expanded dramatically."—Robert J. Samuelson, New Republic
"An important book on a topic which has become popular with historians and is of major significance to politicians and economists."—Margaret Walsh, Business History
The next two decades will mark a new phase in the demographic transition of the United States as baby boomers become eligible for Social Security and Medicare. Drawing on evidence from the United States and other nations, Explorations in the Economics of Aging yields important new findings on how economic decisions by households and policy choices by governments will influence the effects of this demographic shift. It explores topics such as the implications of differential mortality rates by income on Social Security, the link between cognition and economic outcomes, and scale variations in self-reported work disability. This volume will be an important reference for economists and policymakers alike.
Dr. Harold Koenig was recently interviewed by Newsweek (November 10, 2003) about his book Spirituality in Patient Care (Templeton Foundation Press) and his research in the area of religion and health. He has become the international voice on the subjects of spirituality, health, and aging. In this book he is joined by two other experts on aging and human development. They present a compelling look at one of the most serious issues in today’s society: health care in America.
How will we provide quality healthcare to older adults who will need it during the next thirty to fifty years? Who will provide this care? How will it be funded? How can we establish systems of care now to be in place as demographic and health-related economic pressures mount?
Alongside the sobering reality of the challenges our country faces, there are reasons for optimism. Innovative programs created and maintained by volunteers and religious congregations are emerging as pivotal factors in meeting health care needs. Summarizing decades of scientific research and providing numerous inspirational examples and role models, the authors present practical steps that individuals and institutions may emulate for putting faith into action.
Aging and creativity can seem a particularly fraught relationship for artists, who often face age-related difficulties as their audience’s expectations are at a peak. In Four Last Songs, Linda and Michael Hutcheon explore this issue via the late works of some of the world’s greatest composers.
Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901), Richard Strauss (1864–1949), Olivier Messiaen (1908–92), and Benjamin Britten (1913–76) all wrote operas late in life, pieces that reveal unique responses to the challenges of growing older. Verdi’s Falstaff, his only comedic success, combated Richard Wagner’s influence by introducing young Italian composers to a new model of national music. Strauss, on the other hand, struggling with personal and political problems in Nazi Germany, composed the self-reflexive Capriccio, a “life review” of opera and his own legacy. Though it exhausted him physically and emotionally, Messiaen at the age of seventy-five finished his only opera, Saint François d’Assise, which marked the pinnacle of his career. Britten, meanwhile, suffering from heart problems, refused surgery until he had completed his masterpiece, Death in Venice. For all four composers, age, far from sapping their creative power, provided impetus for some of their best accomplishments.
With its deft treatment of these composers’ final years and works, Four Last Songs provides a valuable look at the challenges—and opportunities—that present themselves as artists grow older.
As America's population ages, economic research related to the elderly becomes increasingly important to public policy.
Frontiers in the Economics in Aging directs attention to four topics: the role of retirement accounts, such as IRAs and 401(k)s in personal saving; the economics of health care; new advances in research methodology; and aging in relation to inequality. Some of the issues analyzed within these topics are the implications of rising personal retirement saving in recent years, how health and health insurance affect labor supply, and the effects of pensions on the distribution of wealth.
David Wise's lucid introduction provides an overview of each paper. In addition to this book's appeal for specialists and microeconomists, it offers immediately practical ideas and methods for shaping public policy. In fact, one of the papers in this volume, "The Taxation of Pensions: A Shelter Can Become a Trap," helped to spur new legislation that reformed laws on pension distribution.
Thanks to advances in technology, medicine, Social Security, and Medicare, old age for many Americans is characterized by comfortable retirement, good health, and fulfilling relationships. But there are also millions of people over 65 who struggle with poverty, chronic illness, unsafe housing, social isolation, and mistreatment by their caretakers. What accounts for these disparities among older adults? Sociologist Deborah Carr’s Golden Years? draws insights from multiple disciplines to illuminate the complex ways that socioeconomic status, race, and gender shape the nearly every aspect of older adults’ lives. By focusing on an often-invisible group of vulnerable elders, Golden Years? reveals that disadvantages accumulate across the life course and can diminish the well-being of many.
Carr connects research in sociology, psychology, epidemiology, gerontology, and other fields to explore the well-being of older adults. On many indicators of physical health, such as propensity for heart disease or cancer, black seniors fare worse than whites due to lifetimes of exposure to stressors such as economic hardships and racial discrimination and diminished access to health care. In terms of mental health, Carr finds that older women are at higher risk of depression and anxiety than men, yet older men are especially vulnerable to suicide, a result of complex factors including the rigid masculinity expectations placed on this generation of men. Carr finds that older adults’ physical and mental health are also closely associated with their social networks and the neighborhoods in which they live. Even though strong relationships with spouses, families, and friends can moderate some of the health declines associated with aging, women—and especially women of color—are more likely than men to live alone and often cannot afford home health care services, a combination that can be isolating and even fatal. Finally, social inequalities affect the process of dying itself, with white and affluent seniors in a better position to convey their end-of-life preferences and use hospice or palliative care than their disadvantaged peers.
Carr cautions that rising economic inequality, the lingering impact of the Great Recession, and escalating rates of obesity and opioid addiction, among other factors, may contribute to even greater disparities between the haves and the have-nots in future cohorts of older adults. She concludes that policies, such as income supplements for the poorest older adults, expanded paid family leave, and universal health care could ameliorate or even reverse some disparities.
A comprehensive analysis of the causes and consequences of later-life inequalities, Golden Years? demonstrates the importance of increased awareness, strong public initiatives, and creative community-based programs in ensuring that all Americans have an opportunity to age well.
Winner of the 2021 Excellence in Research and Scholarly Activity Award from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Aging is one of the most compelling issues today, with record numbers of seniors over sixty-five worldwide. Gray Matters: Finding Meaning in the Stories of Later Life examines a diverse array of cultural works including films, literature, and even art that represent this time of life, often made by people who are seniors themselves. These works, focusing on important topics such as housing, memory loss, and intimacy, are analyzed in dialogue with recent research to explore how “stories” illuminate the dynamics of growing old by blending fact with imagination. Gray Matters also incorporates the life experiences of seniors gathered from over two hundred in-depth surveys with a range of questions on growing old, not often included in other age studies works. Combining cultural texts, gerontology research, and observations from older adults will give all readers a fuller picture of the struggles and pleasures of aging and avoids over-simplified representations of the process as all negative or positive.
This second edition of The Graying of America greatly expands and updates the most comprehensive reference book on aging that is readily accessible to the lay reader.
Featuring nontechnical language, user-friendly indexes, and more than 150 new entries, the second edition covers new topics such as acupuncture, wheelchairs, adjusting to bifocals, preparing for traveling, improving communication with physicians, and avoiding eye strain in computer use. Among other updates are more detailed coverage of health problems including arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, and various kinds of cancer, as well as advice on reducing the stress of caring for a family member with Alzheimer's disease. In addition to discussing hundreds of common ailments and conditions, Kausler and Kausler provide constructive guidance on regular physical activity, mental stimulation, and other behaviors that promote "successful aging."
Healing to All Their Flesh asks us to step back and carefully rethink the relationship between religion and health. It does so by examining overlooked issues of theology and meaning that lie at the foundation of religion’s supposed beneficial function. Is a religion-health relationship consistent with understandings of faith within respective traditions? What does this actually imply? What does it not imply? How have these ideas been distorted? Why does this matter—for medicine and healthcare and also for the practice of faith? Is the ultimate relation between spirit and flesh, as mediated by the context of human belief and experience, a topic that can even be approached through empirical observation, scientific reasoning, and the logic of intellectual discourse?8 pag e photo insert
The editors of this collection, Drs. Jeff Levin and Keith G. Meador, have gathered together the writings of leading Jewish and Christian theological, pastoral, ethical, and religious scholars to answer these important questions. Contributors include Richard Address, William Cutter, Elliot N. Dorff, Dayle A. Friedman, Stanley Hauerwas, Warren Kinghorn, M. Therese Lysaught, Stephen G. Post, John Swinton, and Simkha Y. Weintraub, with a foreword by Samuel E. Karff.
For over a decade, the National Bureau of Economic Research has sponsored the Economics of Aging Program, under the direction of David A. Wise. The program addresses issues that affect the well-being of individuals as they age and a society that is composed increasingly of older people.
Within the next twenty years, an unprecedented proportion of Americans will be over sixty-five. New research in the economics of aging is an essential element of understanding what the future holds for this aging population. Inquiries in the Economics of Aging presents both empirical papers that consider questions that are fundamental to public policy and more theoretical contributions that lay new groundwork for future research in the economics of aging.
Inquiries in the Economics of Aging provides a timely overview of some of the most important questions facing researchers on aging and outlines new techniques and models that may help to answer these questions. This important volume will be of great interest to specialists and policy makers as it paves the way for future analysis.
The fraction of the population over age sixty-five in many developed countries is projected to rise, in some cases sharply, in coming decades. This has drawn growing interest to research on the health and economic circumstances of individuals as they age. Many individuals are retiring from paid work, yet they are living longer than ever. Their well-being is shaped by their past decisions such as their saving behavior, as well as by current and future economic conditions, health status, medical innovations, and a rapidly evolving landscape of policy incentives and supports.
The contributions to Insights in the Economics of Aging uncover how financial, physical, and emotional well-being are integrally related. The authors consider the interactions between financial circumstances in later life, such as household savings and home ownership, physical circumstances such as health and disability, and emotional well-being, including happiness and mental health.
One of the most well-established relationships in the economics of aging is that between health and wealth. Yet this relationship is also changing in conjunction with a rapidly aging population as well as a broad evolution in how people live later in life.
Building on findings from earlier editions in this National Bureau of Economic Research series, Investigations in the Economics of Aging focuses on the changing financial circumstances of the elderly and the relationship of these circumstances to health and health care. Among the topics addressed are the significance of out-of-pocket health care costs, the effects of inflation on social security, and the impact of the recent financial crisis on Americans’ well-being. Encompassing new data and advances in research methodology, the developments presented in this volume will have important implications for economies worldwide.
This companion volume to The Economics of Aging (1989) examines the economic consequences of an increasingly older population, focusing on the housing and living arrangements of the elderly, as well as their labor force participation and retirement.
How old are you? The more thought you bring to bear on the question, the harder it is to answer. For we age simultaneously in different ways: biologically, psychologically, socially. And we age within the larger framework of a culture, in the midst of a history that predates us and will outlast us. Looked at through that lens, many aspects of late modernity would suggest that we are older than ever, but Robert Pogue Harrison argues that we are also getting startlingly younger—in looks, mentality, and behavior. We live, he says, in an age of juvenescence.
Like all of Robert Pogue Harrison's books, Juvenescence ranges brilliantly across cultures and history, tracing the ways that the spirits of youth and age have inflected each other from antiquity to the present. Drawing on the scientific concept of neotony, or the retention of juvenile characteristics through adulthood, and extending it into the cultural realm, Harrison argues that youth is essential for culture’s innovative drive and flashes of genius. At the same time, however, youth—which Harrison sees as more protracted than ever—is a luxury that requires the stability and wisdom of our elders and the institutions. “While genius liberates the novelties of the future,” Harrison writes, “wisdom inherits the legacies of the past, renewing them in the process of handing them down.”
A heady, deeply learned excursion, rich with ideas and insights, Juvenescence could only have been written by Robert Pogue Harrison. No reader who has wondered at our culture's obsession with youth should miss it.
Everything that lives will die. That’s the fundamental fact of life. But not everyone dies at the same age: people vary wildly in their patterns of aging and their life spans—and that variation is nothing compared to what’s found in other animal and plant species. A giant fungus found in Michigan has been alive since the Ice Age, while a dragonfly lives but four months, a mayfly half an hour. What accounts for these variations—and what can we learn from them that might help us understand, or better manage, our own aging?
With The Long and the Short of It, biologist and writer Jonathan Silvertown offers readers a witty and fascinating tour through the scientific study of longevity and aging. Dividing his daunting subject by theme—death, life span, aging, heredity, evolution, and more—Silvertown draws on the latest scientific developments to paint a picture of what we know about how life span, senescence, and death vary within and across species. At every turn, he addresses fascinating questions that have far-reaching implications: What causes aging, and what determines the length of an individual life? What changes have caused the average human life span to increase so dramatically—fifteen minutes per hour—in the past two centuries? If evolution favors those who leave the most descendants, why haven’t we evolved to be immortal? The answers to these puzzles and more emerge from close examination of the whole natural history of life span and aging, from fruit flies, nematodes, redwoods, and much more.
The Long and the Short of It pairs a perpetually fascinating topic with a wholly engaging writer, and the result is a supremely accessible book that will reward curious readers of all ages.
Featuring extensive references, updated for this paperback edition, Longevity, Senescence, and the Genome constitutes a landmark contribution to biomedicine and the evolutionary biology of aging.
To enhance gerontology's focus on human age-related dysfunctions, Caleb E. Finch provides a comparative review of all the phyla of organisms, broadening gerontology to intersect with behavioral, developmental, evolutionary, and molecular biology. By comparing species that have different developmental and life spans, Finch proposes an original typology of senescence from rapid to gradual to negligible, and he provides the first multiphyletic calculations of mortality rate constants.
Maturing Masculinities is a nuanced exploration of how older men in urban Mexico incorporate aging, chronic illness, changing social relationships, and decreasing erectile function into their conceptions of themselves as men. It is based on interviews that Emily A. Wentzell conducted with more than 250 male patients in the urology clinic of a government-run hospital in Cuernavaca. Drawing on science studies, medical anthropology, and gender theory, Wentzell suggests the idea of "composite masculinities" as a paradigm for understanding how men incorporate physical and social change into gendered selfhoods.
Erectile dysfunction treatments like Viagra are popular in Mexico, where stereotypes of men as sex-obsessed "machos" persist. However, most of the men Wentzell interviewed saw erectile difficulty as a chance to demonstrate difference from this stereotype. Rather than using drugs to continue youthful sex lives, many collaborated with wives and physicians to frame erectile difficulty as a prompt to embody age-appropriate, mature masculinities.
Whether widowed, divorced, married, or single, more and more women of retirement age are taking control of their lives. Maturing with Moxie takes a close look at personal and professional circumstances affecting women over sixty by surveying the best and latest thinking on issues from housing to health care, finances to family, and combines them all in one practical, go-to volume. The veteran consultant Jan Cannon takes a comprehensive approach to a range of decisions facing women as they age, and offers sensible, helpful advice on everyday questions about employment, Medicare, changing family dynamics, and dating. Drawing on her extensive client case files, Cannon poses provocative questions, designs useful exercises, and offers clear, upbeat examples of women moving forward with purpose. Maturing with Moxie gives women a wealth of resources for finding the answers they need.
One of the most distinguished psychologists of the century, Bernice L. Neugarten is best known for her groundbreaking contributions to the study of adult development and aging. Covering more than forty years of scholarship, this volume brings together Neugarten's most important contributions in four areas: Age as a Dimension of Social Organization; The Life Course; Personality and Adaptation; and Social Policy Issues. Each section is introduced by an eminent authority in the area, including George L. Maddox, Gunhild O. Hagestad, David L. Gutmann, Robert H. Binstock, and Dail A. Neugarten, who explains and highlights Neugarten's contributions in light of the most recent research.
Carefully edited by Dail Neugarten, each chapter presents the reader with Bernice Neugarten's original formulations on topics such as age norms and age constraints, the changing meanings of age, and age neutral social policy. Including four previously unpublished papers, The Meanings of Age will be of interest to scholars, students, and practitioners of psychology, education, law, medicine, social policy, and gerontology.
Middle Age and Aging
Edited by Bernice L. Neugarten University of Chicago Press, 1968 Library of Congress HQ1061.N65 | Dewey Decimal 301.43408
The process of aging is receiving an increasing amount of attention from behavioral scientists. Middle Age and Aging is an attempt to organize and select from the proliferation of material available in this field. The selections in this volume emphasize some of the major topics that lie closest to the problem of what social and psychological adaptations are required as individuals move through the second half of their lives. Major attention is paid to the importance of age-status and age-sex roles; psychological changes in the life-cycle; social-psychological theories of aging; attitudes toward health; changing family roles; work, retirement, and leisure; certain other dimensions of the immediate social environment such as friendships, neighboring patterns, and living arrangements; differences in cultural settings; and perspectives of time and death.
The meaning of life is a common concern, but what is the meaning of midlife? With the help of illustrious writers such as Dante, Montaigne, Beauvoir, Goethe, and Beckett, The Midlife Mind sets out to answer this question. Erudite but engaging, it takes a personal approach to that most impersonal of processes, aging. From the ancients to the moderns, from poets to playwrights, writers have long meditated on how we can remain creative as we move through our middle years. There are no better guides, then, to how we have regarded middle age in the past, how we understand it in the present, and how we might make it as rewarding as possible in the future.
Less than a century ago, physicians, scientists, and cultural commentators became fascinated by the endocrine glands and the effects of their secretions on our bodies and minds. Of all the characteristics supposed to be governed by them, the attributes of sex evoked the wildest interest. The gonads, it was revealed, secreted chemicals that not only influenced the biological expressions of sex, but seemed to generate the vitality and energy that made life worth living.
Through a series of case studies drawn from Central Europe, the United States, and Britain, The Most Secret Quintessence of Life explores how the notion of sex hormones enabled scientists to remap the human body, encouraging hopes that glandular interventions could cure ills, malfunctions, and even social deviance in ways inconceivable to previous generations. Many of these dreams failed, but their history, Chandak Sengoopta shows, takes us into the very heart of scientific medicine, revealing how even its most arcane concerns are shaped by cultural preoccupations and anxieties.
The image of the aging rock-and-roller is not just Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger on stage in their sixties. In his timely book Music, Style, and Aging, cultural sociologist Andy Bennett explains how people move on from youth and effectively grow older with popular music.
For many aging followers of rock, punk, and other contemporary popular genres, music is ingrained in their identities. Its meaning is highly personal and intertwined with the individual's biographical development. Bennett studies these fans and how they have changed over time--through fashions, hairstyles, body modification, career paths, political orientations, and perceptions of and by the next generation.
The significance of popular music for these fans is no longer tied exclusively to their youth. Bennett illustrates how the music? that "mattered" to most people in their youth continues to play an important role in their adult lives--a role that goes well beyond nostalgia.
Since they began in 1955, the Duke Longitudinal Studies have aging have been regarded as landmark investigations, amassing invaluable data on the typical physical changes that accompany aging, typical patterns of mental health and mental illness, psychological aging, and the normal social roles, self-concepts, satisfactions, and adjustments to retirement of the aged. Comprising information on more than 750 aged and middle-aged persons, these studies have contributed enormously to our ability to distinguish normal and inevitable processes of aging from those that may accompany aging because of accident, stress, maladjustment, or disuse.
Between 1870 and 1940, life expectancy in the United States skyrocketed while the percentage of senior citizens age sixty-five and older more than doubled—a phenomenon owed largely to innovations in medicine and public health. At the same time, the Great Depression was a major tipping point for age discrimination and poverty in the West: seniors were living longer and retiring earlier, but without adequate means to support themselves and their families. The economic disaster of the 1930s alerted scientists, who were actively researching the processes of aging, to the profound social implications of their work—and by the end of the 1950s, the field of gerontology emerged. Old Age, New Science explores how a group of American and British life scientists contributed to gerontology’s development as a multidisciplinary field. It examines the foundational “biosocial visions” they shared, a byproduct of both their research and the social problems they encountered. Hyung Wook Park shows how these visions shaped popular discourses on aging, directly influenced the institutionalization of gerontology, and also reflected the class, gender, and race biases of their founders.
Most of us want and expect medicine’s miracles to extend our lives. In today’s aging society, however, the line between life-giving therapies and too much treatment is hard to see—it’s being obscured by a perfect storm created by the pharmaceutical and biomedical industries, along with insurance companies. In Ordinary Medicine Sharon R. Kaufman investigates what drives that storm’s “more is better” approach to medicine: a nearly invisible chain of social, economic, and bureaucratic forces that has made once-extraordinary treatments seem ordinary, necessary, and desirable. Since 2002 Kaufman has listened to hundreds of older patients, their physicians and family members express their hopes, fears, and reasoning as they faced the line between enough and too much intervention. Their stories anchor Ordinary Medicine. Today’s medicine, Kaufman contends, shapes nearly every American’s experience of growing older, and ultimately medicine is undermining its own ability to function as a social good. Kaufman’s careful mapping of the sources of our health care dilemmas should make it far easier to rethink and renew medicine’s goals.
Our Aging Bodies
Merrill, Gary F Rutgers University Press, 2015 Library of Congress QP86.M537 2015 | Dewey Decimal 612.67
People in developed countries are living longer and, just as the aged population around the world is steadily growing, the number of adults eighty-five and older in the United States is projected to quadruple to twenty-one million people by 2050. The aging of our population has huge implications for baby boomers and their children, and has generated a greater interest in the causes and effects of aging.
Our Aging Bodies provides a clear, scientifically based explanation of what happens to all the major organ systems and bodily processes—such as the cardiovascular and digestive systems—as people age. The first section is an overview of secondary aging—changes that occur with age that are related to disease and the environment—and include the effect of such things as diet, humor, and exercise. Readers will also learn about primary aging—intrinsic changes that occur with the aging of specific organs and body systems (including the prostate, the heart, the digestive system, and the brain). Throughout the book, Gary F. Merrill weaves in personal anecdotes and stories that help clarify and reinforce the facts and principles of the underlying scientific processes and explanations. Our Aging Bodies is accessible to a general reader interested in the aging phenomenon, or baby boomers wanting to be more informed when seeing their doctor and discussing changes to their bodies as they age.
This book investigates several important issues in the economics of aging, including the accumulation of wealth and the relationship between health and financial prosperity.
Examining the changes in savings behavior and investment priorities in the United States over the past few decades, contributors to the volume point to a dramatic shift from employer-managed, defined benefit pensions to employee-controlled retirement savings plans. Further, the legislative reforms of the 1980s and the booming stock market of the 1990s did their share to influence individual wealth accumulation patterns of Americans.
These studies also explore the relationship between health status and economic status. Considering issues like pension income and health, mortality, and medical care, contributors present evidence from the United States, Britain, South Africa, and Russia. The volume culminates with wide-ranging discussions on a number of key topics in the field including the innovations that have contributed to a decline in mortality rates; the various medical advances that have benefited populations over time; and the determinants of expenditures on health. The findings with regard to cross-sectional differences in health outcomes and health care utilization also pose troubling questions for policymakers seeking to democratize health care across regions and races.
The Prince's Body
Valeria Finucci Harvard University Press, 2015 Library of Congress DG975.M32F46 2015 | Dewey Decimal 610.945
Using four notorious moments in the life of Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga of Mantua, Valeria Finucci explores changing early modern concepts of sexuality, reproduction, beauty, and aging. She deftly marries salacious tales with historical analysis to tell a broader story of Italian Renaissance cultural adjustments and obsessions.
The baby boom generation's entry into old age has led to an unprecedented increase in the elderly population. The social and economic effects of this shift are significant, and in Research Findings in the Economics of Aging, a group of leading researchers takes an eclectic view of the subject. Among the broad topics discussed are work and retirement behavior, disability, and their relationship to the structure of retirement and disability policies.
While choices about when to retire are made by individuals, these decisions are influenced by a set of incentives, including retirement benefits and health care, and this volume includes cross-national analyses of the effects of such programs on these decisions. Furthermore, the volume also offers in-depth analysis of the effects of retirement plans, employer contributions, and housing prices on retirement. It explores well-established relationships among economic circumstances, health, and mortality, as well as the effects of poverty and lower levels of economic development on health and life satisfaction. By combining micro and macro evidence, this volume continues a tradition of expanding the research agenda on the economics of aging.
To dive deep into your inner life. To navigate its complexity and explore your story in depth. To discover who you are exactly—the courage you have when life breaks apart, how conscious you become in that process, and how rich you feel learning the meaning of your life. On a search for wholeness, Bobbe Tyler delves deep to find and tell her story—the trauma of familial mental illness, marriage and divorce, spiritual despair, accountability, addiction and the joy of recovery, surviving loss, and finally that which matters most: love in all its ways. The rewards of her wisdom belong not to her alone but, by way of her unflinching examination of life’s many paths, to all who have a story of their own to tell—who have faced a life-choice gone wrong, or met the peace that had always seemed just out of reach. This searing self-appraisal provides a model for those who seek to know themselves better and are willing to sound their depths to find their story in full.
Winner of a da Vinci Eye Medal for Superior Cover Design
Shortlisted for the 2010 Eric Hoffer Award’s Montaigne Medal
To dive deep into your inner life. To explore what matters most: wisdom, happiness, the pain of loss, self–accountability, aging, and more. Searching for Soul: A Survivor’s Guide is a breathtakingly honest case study: a self-examination resulting in the discovery of a meaningful life.
Bobbe Tyler blends her story with in-depth commentary, framing each chapter as a response to one of a set of questions, appended to the book, entitled The Harvesting Wisdom Interview. In her search for fulfillment, Tyler asks and answers the most difficult questions about the trauma of mental illness, divorce, financial and emotional despair. The rewards of this hard–won wisdom belong not to her alone but by way of her unflinching examination of life’s many paths, dead ends, and circuitous routes — to anyone who has faced a life–choice gone wrong — or known the indescribable recovery from addiction or abuse, or longed for the peace that seems just out of reach. This searing self–appraisal provides hope and fellowship for those who seek to know themselves better.
Drawing on her own experiences with late-onset disability and its impact on her sex life, along with her expertise as a cultural critic, Jane Gallop explores how disability and aging work to undermine one's sense of self. She challenges common conceptions that equate the decline of bodily potential and ability with a permanent and irretrievable loss, arguing that such a loss can be both temporary and positively transformative. With Sexuality, Disability, and Aging, Gallop explores and celebrates how sexuality transforms and becomes more queer in the lives of the no longer young and the no longer able while at the same time demonstrating how disability can generate new forms of sexual fantasy and erotic possibility.
Erdman Palmore has written a comprehensive, systematic summary of all extant findings on social patterns in normal aging learned from the landmark Duke Longitudinal Studies in aging. Palmore discusses the implications of these findings for major issues in gerontology and answers such questions as: Do elderly people reduce their social activity? Do they come to resemble one another or become more different as they age? Do major events in later life produce stress resulting in physical and/or mental illnesses? Does sexual activity maintain or reduce life satisfaction and longevity? Palmore's conclusions challenge many current ideas and prejudices widely held about people over the age of 65.
Drawing from 167 examples of decorative needlework—primarily samplers and quilts from 114 collections across the United States—made by individual women aged forty years and over between 1820 and 1860, this exquisitely illustrated book explores how women experienced social and cultural change in antebellum America.
The book is filled with individual examples, stories, and over eighty fine color photographs that illuminate the role that samplers and needlework played in the culture of the time. For example, in October 1852, Amy Fiske (1785–1859) of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, stitched a sampler. But she was not a schoolgirl making a sampler to learn her letters. Instead, as she explained, “The above is what I have taken from my sampler that I wrought when I was nine years old. It was w[rough]t on fine cloth [and] it tattered to pieces. My age at this time is 66 years.”
Situated at the intersection of women’s history, material culture study, and the history of aging, this book brings together objects, diaries, letters, portraits, and prescriptive literature to consider how middle-class American women experienced the aging process. Chapters explore the physical and mental effects of “old age” on antebellum women and their needlework, technological developments related to needlework during the antebellum period and the tensions that arose from the increased mechanization of textile production, and how gift needlework functioned among friends and family members. Far from being solely decorative ornaments or functional household textiles, these samplers and quilts served their own ends. They offered aging women a means of coping, of sharing and of expressing themselves. These “threads of time” provide a valuable and revealing source for the lives of mature antebellum women.
Publication of this book was made possible in part through generous funding from the Coby Foundation, Ltd and from the Quilters Guild of Dallas, Helena Hibbs Endowment Fund.
RAND researchers supported a high-level Israeli government team tasked with improving long-term socioeconomic strategy for the state. This report highlights selected inputs made to the government team to summarize the essential mechanics and roles for bringing a strategic perspective to policy consideration. To show how one can use a strategic perspective in an analysis of policy choices, the report uses the example of an aging population.
Studies in the Economics of Aging is the fourth book in a series from the National Bureau of Economic Research that addresses economic issues in aging and retirement. Building on the research in The Economics of Aging (1989), Issues in the Economics of Aging (1990), and Topics in the Economics of Aging (1992), this volume examines elderly population growth and government spending, life expectancy and health, saving for retirement and housing values, aging in Germany and Taiwan, and the utilization of nursing home and other long-term care.
In recent decades, the North American public has pursued an inspirational vision of successful aging—striving through medical technique and individual effort to eradicate the declines, vulnerabilities, and dependencies previously commonly associated with old age. On the face of it, this bold new vision of successful, healthy, and active aging is highly appealing. But it also rests on a deep cultural discomfort with aging and being old.
The contributors to Successful Agingas a Contemporary Obsession explore how the successful aging movement is playing out across five continents. Their chapters investigate a variety of people, including Catholic nuns in the United States; Hindu ashram dwellers; older American women seeking plastic surgery; aging African-American lesbians and gay men in the District of Columbia; Chicago home health care workers and their aging clients; Mexican men foregoing Viagra; dementia and Alzheimer sufferers in the United States and Brazil; and aging policies in Denmark, Poland, India, China, Japan, and Uganda. This book offers a fresh look at a major cultural and public health movement of our time, questioning what has become for many a taken-for-granted goal—aging in a way that almost denies aging itself.
In the past few years, the economic ramifications of aging have garnered close attention from a group of NBER researchers led by David A. Wise. In this volume, Wise and his collaborators continue to analyze a nexus of age-related issues.
This volume begins by looking at the implications of private and public personal retirement plans, focusing in particular on the impact of 401(k) programs on retirement strategies in light of potential social security reform and factors such as annuitization and on asset accumulation. Next, the often-observed relationship between health and wealth is dissected from two different perspectives and correlated with striking increases in health-care spending over the past two decades, despite the improved health of older populations. The volume concludes with an investigation of the retirement effects of various social security provisions in both U.S. and German systems.
This carefully developed collection expands the current investigative focus and broadens the dialogue on a rapidly growing area of social and economic concern.
Things No Longer There is a lovingly crafted collection of personal stories about the author's struggle toward enlightenment while losing her eyesight. It is also, more broadly, about invisible landscapes—places of the heart that linger long after they have disappeared from the world outside. In these ten brief tales and one novella-length intimate drama, Susan Krieger takes us on a series of adventures in vision, a journey both inward and to various parts of the country. We travel with her as she goes birdwatching before sunrise in the New Mexico desert, learns to walk with a white cane, revisits an old love, returns to a summer camp of her youth, and reflects on the nature of blindness and sight.
Krieger's touching memoir explores the ways that outer landscapes may change and sight may be lost, but inner visions persist, giving meaning, jarring the senses with a very different picture than what appears before the eyes. This book will reward both the general reader and those interested in disability studies, feminist ethnography, and lesbian studies.
In Through Japanese Eyes, based on her thirty-year research at a senior center in upstate New York, anthropologist Yohko Tsuji describes old age in America from a cross-cultural perspective. Comparing aging in America and in her native Japan, she discovers that notable differences in the panhuman experience of aging are rooted in cultural differences between these two countries, and that Americans have strongly negative attitudes toward aging because it represents the antithesis of cherished American values, especially independence. Tsuji reveals that American culture, despite its seeming lack of guidance for those aging, plays a pivotal role in elders’ lives, simultaneously assisting and constraining them. Furthermore, the author’s lengthy period of research illustrates major changes in her interlocutors’ lives, incorporating their declines and death, and significant shifts in the culture of aging in American society as Tsuji herself gets to know American culture and grows into senescence herself.
Through Japanese Eyes offers an ethnography of aging in America from a cross-cultural perspective based on a lengthy period of research. It illustrates how older Americans cope with the gap between the ideal (e.g., independence) and the real (e.g., needing assistance) of growing older, and the changes the author observed over thirty years of research.
The original essays and commentary in this volume—the third in a series reporting the results of the NBER Economics of Aging Program—address issues that are of particular importance to the well-being of individuals as they age and to a society at large that is composed increasingly of older persons. The contributors examine social security reform, including an analysis of the Japanese system; present the startling finding that the vast majority of people choose the wrong accumulation strategies for their pension plans; explore the continuing consequences of the decline in support of parents by children in the postwar period; investigate the relation between nursing home stays and the source of payment for the care; and offer initial findings on the implications of differences between developed and developing countries for understanding aging issues and determining appropriate directions for research.
Triumphs of Experience
George E. Vaillant Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress HQ1090.3.V35 2012 | Dewey Decimal 305.310973
At a time when people are living into their tenth decade, the longest longitudinal study of human development ever undertaken offers welcome news for old age: our lives evolve in our later years and often become more fulfilling. Among the surprising findings: people who do well in old age did not necessarily do so well in midlife, and vice versa.
Far from celebrity media spotlight, ordinary individuals, many older and less advantaged, suffer the disabling pain of Parkinson's disease (PD), an illness whose progressive symptoms often mimic old age and cause mobility impairment, communication barriers, and social isolation.
At the heart of With Shaking Hands is the account of elder Americans in rural Iowa who have been diagnosed with PD. With a focus on the impact of chronic illness on an aging population, Samantha Solimeo combines clear and accessible prose with qualitative and quantitative research to demonstrate how PD accelerates, mediates, and obscures patterns of aging. She explores how ideas of what to expect in older age influence and direct interpretations of one's body.
This sensitive and groundbreaking work unites theories of disease with modern conceptions of the body in biological and social terms. PD, like other chronic disorders, presents a special case of embodiment which challenge our thinking about how such diseases should be researched and how they are experienced.
Drawing data from official sources in 60 countries, as well as from the United Nations and the World Bank, this compendium of statistical information on population, fertility, and mortality treats every one of the UN-recognized countries in at least summary form. With data from 1950 onward and projections through 2020, this volume extends the dataset of Nathan Keyfitz and Wilhelm Flieger's landmark work, World Population: An Analysis of Vital Data (1968), with virtually no overlap.
All the life tables, standardized rates, and projections have been generated by uniform methods to ensure easy comparison among countries. More than 800 charts provide a foundation for analyzing the radical demographic changes now taking place: the historic lows of fertility in Germany and other industrial countries, Africa's persistently high fertility, and the worldwide extension of life expectancy. The product of cautious and painstaking labor, this work promises to be an important resource for further demographic research as well as a valuable comparative resource for studies of the status of global social welfare and the environment.
Sam Venable is one of America’s seventy-six million Baby Boomers who are turning into their parents. He can’t quite see without his reading glasses, he thinks the music kids listen to these days is nothing but a loud racket, and his belt is mysteriously creeping up higher and higher on his chest.
The way Venable figures it, he’s roaring along the road (at about twenty-seven miles per hour, the average speed for someone his age) to Codgerville. You Gotta Laugh to Keep From Cryin’ highlights the observations and lifestyle changes (and a few other things he can’t quite seem to remember at the moment) that Venable has made along the way.
From the day his wife discovers his first ear hair, Venable begins to recognize the signs of old age. Though he had reconciled himself to daily fiber and a distinguished head of gray, he is one step further to an insatiable desire for cafeteria food and permanently leaving his car’s right turn signal flashing.
The news isn’t all bad, though. To his surprise, Venable discovers that his new appearance and habits have qualified him for the senior discount on breakfast at his favorite restaurant. After reading about a scientific study concluding that men’s brains shrink faster than women’s in the normal aging process, Venable has a new source of excuses to explain to his wife why he is missing important dates, times, places, and appointments.
As an official CIT (Codger In Training), Venable delights in other newfound freedoms. He can stand in a fast-food line and stare at the menu for a full two minutes without saying a word (besides, he can’t hear the people behind him grumbling). He can drive as slowly as he likes and has perfected the art of maintaining a death grip on the steering wheel of his car. And he really doesn’t have to listen to anyone anymore; he can merely turn their way from time to time and mumble, “Huh?”
From the swinging doors whose “Push/Pull” directions elude him to the high-tech mysteries of ATMs designed to baffle the elderly, Sam Venable’s rollicking view of life after fifty will leave readers laughing and happy to be a member of the AARP set.
The Author: Sam Venable, recognized for his humor writing in 2000, 2001, and 2002 by the Tennessee Press Association, is a columnist for the Knoxville News-Sentinel. He is the author of a number of books, including Rock-Elephant: A Story of Friendship and Fishing and Mountain Hands: A Portrait of Southern Appalachia. He lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.