The authors examine roles, both social and economic, which older people in good health can successfully fulfill. They urge a broadening of the options available to us as we age that extend beyond leisure activities and family involvement.
Many older people, indeed the majority, have many years of relatively good health after the usual retirement age. Contrary to widely accepted stereotypes, evidence indicates that those who wish to use their skills and abilities for productive contributions may encounter significant barriers.
Bass, Caro, and Chen and the experts who contributed to the volume provide an original reassessment of the current options available to older people. The authors argue that polices, practices, and societal messages help determine what choices are realistically open to older individuals. The attitudes and policies of family, workplace, and government as well as those of educational and religious institutions all contribute to defining what opportunities really are available for older people. The authors show, too, that considerations of gender and ethnicity are powerful in their impact on what those in the later years of life may or may not do. Although leisure is attractive to many in their elder years, the authors stress that it is but one of the number of choices that should be available. Employment, volunteering, and other new productive roles should not be denied to those who want to continue them and who, in the process, enrich their own and society's well-being. The authors provide authoritative analysis and new perspectives on aging.