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Aging, the Individual, and Society, 10th Edition
Updated throughout with relevant new examples, research, and photos, AGING, THE INDIVIDUAL, AND SOCIETY, Tenth Edition, brings a social problems approach to the interdisciplinary study of gerontology. This accessible text combines academic research with an empathetic view of the lives of older people to involve students emotionally and intellectually in the material. Activities offer many opportunities for experiential learning.
The face of aging has substantially changed in the past half century, and that change has been almost exponential in the past five to ten years.
The “face of aging” refers not only to individual physical and mental changes over time but also to social, political, and cultural influences on a population.
War and global upheaval such as World Wars II and the worldwide depression of the 1930s were major influencing events for our oldest-old. These people were children or young adults looking ahead to educational and professional careers, striking out on their own and beginning their own families, when the economic crash occurred. World War II shifted life plans for that age cohort as careers
and educational plans were disrupted for service to the country. The Korean and Vietnam wars loom as cultural shapers for boomers, and the bombing of the Twin Towers on 9/11 has shaped political perspective and attitudes for most everyone alive today. Even among those not yet born in 2001, the world they inherit has been impacted by events beyond the control of their families or themselves. This includes the worldwide economic crash in 2008, which in turn has influenced life course development as much as does one’s genetic makeup.
In the past half decade, the leading edge of the baby boomer generation has become eligible for Medicare and Social Security. The parents and grandparents of boomers are dying, most having lived much longer lives than did their parents and grandparents. Medical and social needs experienced by their aging children, the boomers, has pushed innovation in medicine, health care delivery, social programming, education, and family structure.
Gerontology is the integration of these approaches and questions with a focus on outcome to adults of all ages. Gerontology is interdisciplinary, addressing the complete person and his/her family history; social history; genetic history; and the political moment. It also includes spiritual issues such as making meaning from life accomplishments and experiences, one’s relationship to things larger than
oneself, and gaining understandings of grief, dying, and death. No field of study more completely integrates the mature person over the life course than does gerontology.
This edition integrates social and cultural perspectives with the story of the individual aging process. It acknowledges global cultural influence: National boundaries are far more permeable now than in the past. Those technological advances and economic changes that have extended our healthy, vigorous lives also connect us globally. We share a global interest in health care and formal and informal policies impacting economic, educational, and political perspectives.
Learning can never come from a textbook: Words do not generate knowledge; they generate information. This text seeks to help students understand issues and concepts, and to encourage multiple ways of learning and understanding the material. Each chapter ends with questions for discussion, experiential learning, and exercises for using the Internet as a learning tool. Each set of activities is integrated topically, theoretically, and pedagogically, requiring a personal interaction of students with the material. Included in each chapter is a list of learning outcomes to be used as a chapter guide.
● Key Concepts: These help students and faculty maintain focus on the main points of each chapter. They can be used as a framework for teaching and learning key topical ideas.
● Chapter Summary: Use as an organizational tool for students to review. Each summary is linked to the chapter’s key concepts, thereby reinforcing the learning framework.
● Fieldwork Suggestions: These are experiential learning suggestions to guide teaching and learning.
● Discussion Questions: Use the questions either as group discussions or as assignments for written work. The questions combine needs to think critically about theory as well as practice.
● Internet Activities: These suggestions for exploration on the Internet challenge students’ understanding of the power of the Internet as a tool for learning. They emphasize analysis of the complexity and
reliability of Internet material.
● Learning Objectives: The objectives itemize the intent of the chapter for teaching and learning purposes and can become a selflearning guide for students.
New to This Edition
● Chapter-by-chapter key concepts and learning objectives Each chapter is written with specific learning objectives in mind, and those objectives are named. For example, Chapter 1 lists 15 objectives, or learning outcomes.
Chapter content is shaped by named key concepts that are related to the learning objectives. In so doing, learners can understand more specifically the purpose of chapter content. With Chapter 1 as our example, at its completion, students should be able to define gerontology; predict demographic changes as generations grow older; have a greater understanding of different aging patterns in developed and underdeveloped countries, among other objectives.
Much like building blocks, these concepts build chapter by chapter throughout the text. By completion of the book, students have been systematically exposed to the major multidisciplinary factors of aging
in the United States.
● Greater integration of global issues The well-being of American citizens is inextricably linked to the well-being of people around the world. This integration includes health, monetary and political policies and processes, and issues like natural disasters such as flooding and unnatural disasters such as the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan.
It is beyond the scope of this text to elaborate extensively on global issues; however, cross-national topics are integrated in the text and specifically addressed in assignments and discussion questions. For
example, Chapter 1 anticipates that students will be able to explain aging patterns in countries with cultural and economic patterns different than ours; Chapter 10 compares cross-cultural/cross-national patterns in housing preferences and living arrangements for older adults; and Chapter 14 explores the universal emotion of grief and honors multicultural grieving and burial processes.
● Reorganization of subject matter for a more effective sequence of learning material
● Stronger links to policy, public will, and policy implementation Throughout, the text addresses the role of public policy and implementation in the aging process. Chapter 4, for example, explores physical and mental health from the perspective of community support as well as biological and personality factors. The role of government support for later-life research (Chapter 2); issues related to aging prison populations, elder abuse, and medical fraud (Chapter 12); and sections in Chapters 9 (“Finances and Lifestyles”) and 11 (“The Oldest-Old and Caregiving”) are examples of a stronger integration of public policy,
policy implementation, and the public will.
The discussions of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in Chapter 9 provide support for classroom discussion of health care reform and the Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Obama in 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012. Chapter 15 (“Politics, Policies, and Programs”) guides students to a jumping-off point for exploring cutting-edge policies relevant in whatever state or nation they choose.
● Integrated, extensive bibliography incorporating professional literature as well as popular literature and Internet sources