How can we understand older people as real human beings, value their wisdom, and appreciate that their norms and purposes both matter in themselves and are affected by those of others?
Using a life-course approach, "Valuing older people" argues that the complexity and potential creativity of later life demand a humanistic vision of older people and ageing. It acknowledges the diversity of experiences of older age and presents a range of contexts and methodologies through which they can be understood. Ageing is a process of creating meaning carried out by older people, and is significant for those around them. This book, therefore, considers the impact of social norms and political and economic structures on older people's capacities to age in creative ways. What real obstacles are there to older people's construction of meaningful lives? What is being achieved when they feel they are ageing well?
This collection, aimed at students, researchers, practitioners and policy-makers, offers a lively and constructive response to contemporary challenges involving ageing and how to understand it.
"Provides a historical typology of old age attitudes from the eighteenth century to the present." American Studies Quarterly
"This book not only reflects the growing maturity of humanistic gerontology, but invites all of us to reflect more deeply on the very meaning of 'maturity' itself. It is a remarkable collection, drawn from all over the globe, of the best thinking on what it means to grow older." Harry R. Moody, Director of Academic Affairs, AARP
"An eagerly awaited volume that directs attention to norms and values as essential for capacities to age creatively and give meaning to the process of ageing." Lars Andersson, National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later Life (NISAL), Linköping University, Sweden
Ricca Edmondson (died June 2021) was educated in Lancaster and Oxford. After research at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, she is now senior lecturer in the National University of Ireland, Galway. Her teaching and research focus on the sociology of wisdom and the life course, ethnographic methods, intercultural understanding, rhetorical argument and the history of political thought.
Hans-Joachim von Kondratowitz was educated in Berlin, Saarbrücken and Washington University, before working in Munich and Kassel. He is now a senior researcher at the German Centre of Gerontology in Berlin. His interests include international long-term care arrangements, older people and family migration, welfare state and welfare cultures, cultural definitions of ageing, and community projects on ageing.
Introduction ~ Ricca Edmondson and Hans-Joachim von Kondratowitz; Part one: Religious belonging and spiritual questioning: a Western European perspective on ageing and religion ~ Peter G. Coleman; Spirituality: a means for achieving integration in personal and community spheres in an ageing Singapore ~ Kalyani K. Mehta; Integrating the sacred in creative ageing ~ Michele Dillon; Atheist convictions, Christian beliefs or 'keeping things open'? Patterns of worldviews among three generations in East German families ~ Monika Wohlrab-Sahr; Beyond dialogue: entering the fourth space in old age ~ Haim Hazan; Part two: The long road to a moralisation of old age ~ Hans-Joachim von Kondratowitz; How to balance generations: solidarity dilemmas in a European perspective ~ Svein Olav Daatland; Pension systems and the challenge of population ageing: what does the public think? ~ Dina Frommert, Dirk Hofäcker, Thorsten Heien and Hans-Jürgen Andreß; The ethos of care and environment and its impact on continuity of life for older people in residential care ~ Adelina Cooney and Kathy Murphy; Engineering substantially prolonged human life-spans: biotechnological enhancement and ethics ~ Peter Derkx; Part three: Wisdom: a humanist approach to valuing older people ~ Ricca Edmondson; Social practices, moral frameworks and religious values in the lives of older people ~ Carmel Gallagher; 'Woo-hoo, what a ride!' Older people, life stories and active ageing ~ Lorna Warren and Amanda Clarke; Does eldership mean anything in the contemporary West? ~ James Nichol; Talk about old age, health and morality ~ Outi Jolanki; Afterword: Exploring positive images of ageing: the production of calenders ~ Eileen Fairhurst and Sue Baines; Afterword: Gateways to humanistic gerontology ~ Ron Manheimer.