Handbook of Families and Aging, 2nd Edition

by Rosemary Blieszner and Victoria Hilkevitch Bedford, Editors


Nearly every family is affected by aging issues, whether of parents, grandparents, partners, siblings, in-laws, or other family members. The ravaged economy, issues with Medicare and Social Security, longer life spans, and complications related to failing health and dementia are creating more families living together with elders. Understanding and addressing the multifaceted challenges of aging and family dynamics is more important than ever before.

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Cover image for Handbook of Families and Aging

September 2012


Pages 616
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Psychology/Social
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This comprehensive reference in family gerontology reviews and critiques the recent theoretical, empirical, and methodological literature; identifies future research directions; and makes recommendations for gerontology professionals.

This book is both an updated version of and a complement to the original Handbook of Families and Aging. The many additions include the most recent demographic changes on aging families, new theoretical formulations, innovative research methods, recent legal issues, and death and bereavement, as well as new material on the relationships themselves—sibling, partnered, and intergenerational relationships, for example. Among the brand-new topics in this edition are step-family relationships, aging families and immigration, aging families and 21st-century technology, and peripheral family ties.

Unlike the more cursory summaries found in textbooks, the essays within Handbook of Families and Aging, Second Edition provide thoughtful, in-depth coverage of each topic. No other book provides such a comprehensive and timely overview of theory and research on family relationships, the contexts of family life, and major turning points in late-life families. Nevertheless, the contents are written to be engaging and accessible to a broad audience, including advanced undergraduate students, graduate students, researchers, and gerontology practitioners. Serious lay readers will also find this book highly informative about contemporary family issues.


  • Comprises 23 chapters of all-original work covering background information, relationships, contexts of family life, and turning points such as retirement and divorce
  • Contributions from 46 distinguished scholars recognized as leading experts in their fields
  • Citations for cutting-edge research on each topic, plus foundational references in new areas
  • A detailed topic index


  • Provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date analyses of key dimensions of family life in middle and old age
  • Examines both traditional family relationship topics such as sibling ties and marital and partner relationships, and important new issues like elder abuse, immigrant families, step-family issues
  • Presents an overview of major issues, critiques of the existing state of research on each topic, suggestions for future research, and implications for gerontology professionals in each chapter
Author Info

Rosemary Blieszner, PhD, is alumni distinguished professor of human development and associate director of the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA. She coedited Handbook of Aging and the Family and has published books and journal articles on numerous aspects of adult development and aging, including friend and family relationships, spirituality, and early memory loss. Blieszner is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, Gerontological Society of America, and National Council on Family Relations.

Victoria Hilkevitch Bedford, PhD, is professor emerita at the University of Indianapolis, School of Psychological Sciences, Indianapolis, IN, and an adjunct faculty member at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. She coedited Men in Relationships: A New Look from a Life Course Perspective and has written many articles appearing in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters, primarily on the topics of families and sibling relationships in later life. Bedford is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Gerontological Society of America.



"This collection of well-researched essays . . . summarizes a massive amount of data and analysis. . . . An effective reference source. Summing Up: Recommended."Choice

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