The Cultural Context of Aging
This volume uses the concept of culture to explore the parameters of aging and being old in a worldwide context, thus providing a true cross-cultural ... Show synopsis This volume uses the concept of culture to explore the parameters of aging and being old in a worldwide context, thus providing a true cross-cultural and qualitative approach to social gerontology. Containing both specific case studies and broader analytical articles, this revised and expanded second edition focuses on the multitude of cultural solutions societies have available for dealing with the challenges, problems, and opportunities of growing old. Composed almost exclusively of specially commissioned articles, the text is organized around six topical areas which cover the major concerns of cross-cultural social gerontology. Each section is preceded by an introduction providing a framework for the chapters and highlighting key related issues. Also included are state-of-the-art resource guides including Internet sites, special student resources, data sets, and annotated bibliographies of related readings. The authors come from the fields of anthropology, sociology, gerontology, social work, psychology, psychiatry, and nursing. Through explorations of the experiences of real people, the contributors illuminate how elders actually live in such places as U.S. urban ethnic enclaves, rural Kenya, a South Seas island, urban China, or a New York City women's shelter. Dealing directly with key practical issues relevant to those seeking to pursue a career in the aging field, this volume covers: policy implications of demographic aging; culture and successful aging; culture and caregiving; gender and aging; grandparenthood and the crisis in urban families; informal social support; homelessness and aging; nursing homes and pet therapy; assisted suicide and death hastening behavior; the aging woman and widowhood; rural aging; self-help groups; and the cultural response to Alzheimer's disease. This essential text allows students to understand fully how culture can dictate what may appear to be natural responses to elders and aging.