By Margaret Cruikshank University of Maine Women's Studies (retired)

Margaret Cruikshank’s studying to Be outdated examines what it capacity to become old in the United States this present day. The ebook questions social myths and fears approximately getting older, ailment, and the opposite social roles of the aged, the over-medicalization of many older humans, and ageism. during this ebook, Cruikshank proposes possible choices to the methods getting older is generally understood in either pop culture and mainstream gerontology. studying to Be outdated doesn't suggest the guidelines of “successful getting older” or “productive aging,” yet extra the belief of “learning” the way to age.

Featuring new examine and research, the 3rd variation of studying to be outdated demonstrates, extra completely than the former variants, that getting older is socially developed. between texts on getting older the booklet is exclusive in its transparent specialize in the diversities in getting older for ladies and males, in addition to for individuals in several socioeconomic teams. Cruikshank is ready to placed getting older in a extensive context that not just makes a speciality of how getting older impacts girls yet males, besides. Key updates within the 3rd variation comprise adjustments within the future health care procedure, alterations in how lengthy older american citizens are operating specially given the effect of the recession, and new fabric at the mind and mind-body interconnections. Cruikshank impressively demanding situations traditional principles approximately getting older during this 3rd version of studying to be previous. this may be a must-read for everybody attracted to new principles surrounding getting older in the US this present day.

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Extra info for Learning to Be Old: Gender, Culture, and Aging

Example text

In North America, minority communities are generally the only ones in which any comparably high status for the old is found. Old Indian women assume roles such as wisdom keeper, leader, and artist, for example (John, Blanchard, and Hennessy, 305). Everyone has a place in the talking circle of the Manitoba Cree, but it is the elder who begins the talk. Black women typically exert strong influence when they are old, often through their churches. One mark of the social construction of aging is overemphasis on bodily decline.

De Beauvoir describes Renoir in his sixties, unable to hold a paintbrush in his paralyzed hand, continuing to paint until he was seventy-eight by having a brush taped to his wrist (313). People over eighty-five in the study cited earlier were found to “reinvent a self-concept that [takes] their survivorship into account” (Johnson and Barer, 163). Accepting help is not traumatic for them, for example. Some who had been very engaged socially now “cherish peaceful solitude” and do not feel lonely (156).

Society” here is defined as the not-old. The war metaphor is telling. Its effect is not to inform but to create fear. The implied “we,” those facing the “greatest onslaught,” have no connection to the Others, who are not just different from “us” but menacing. Words like “onslaught” were also used to attack immigration to the United States in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Other examples of language used to create fear of increasing longevity are instructive. A Brookings Institution report on aging uses the phrase “senior tsunami,” for example (June 11, 2007), and “age wave” is a popular usage in the media (Frey, 1).

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