Challenges of the Third Age Meaning and Purpose in Later Life

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2001-11-08
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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The newly retired are entering a time of life that is virtually uncharted, a time in which they are free from social expectations and, to a large extent, from obligations to others. Life's meanings are no longer provided by work and family. Instead, men and women have the freedom, and theneed, to find new activities that they can imbue with meaning. The term, "Third Age" has been given to this time of life during which for most there is relatively good health, financial stability, and reduced family obligations. The problems and possibilities of this "Third Age" serve as thematerial for this book. How do older people decide how to deploy their continued vitality, now that they are free from the demands of work and children? How do they find meaning in daily life? In this book, scholars from several disciplines consider the way in which meaning can be found in thisimportant stage of later life. They discuss sociological, psychological, and religious determinants of responses to the challenges of finding meaningful activity after retirement.

Author Biography

Robert S. Weiss is Senior Fellow and Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the Gerontology Institute, University of Massachusetts, Boston. Scott A. Bass is Dean of the Graduate School, Vice Provost for Research, and Distinguished Professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Table of Contents

Contributors vii
Introduction 3(10)
Robert S. Weiss
Scott A. Bass
Holding onto Meaning through the Life Cycle
Peter Marris
The Third Age
Robert L. Rubinstein
The Changing Meaning of Aging
Harry R. Moody
Social Sources of Meaning in Later Life
Richard A. Settersten, Jr.
Aging, Place, and Meaning in the Face of Changing Circumstances
Graham D. Rowles
Hege Ravdal
Bringers of Allah: The Druse Elders
David Gutmann
Aging, Intimate Relationships, and Life Story among Gay Men
Bertram J. Cohler
Andrew J. Hostetler
Looking for Meaning in a Life's Experience
Robert Morris
The Search for Meaning in the Later Years: The Views of a Seventy-Four-Year-Old Gerontological Social Worker
Rose Dobrof
Epilogue: Concluding Note on Meaning and the Possibility of Productive Aging 189(10)
Robert S. Weiss
Scott A. Bass
Index 199

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