|About the Book|
Growing old-what is it like? What are the main problems of the aging? Lack of fulfillment in their work and life? Loneliness? Anxiety about sickness and disability? Fear of death? This well-documented, theoretically systematic, and vivid account ofMoreGrowing old-what is it like? What are the main problems of the aging? Lack of fulfillment in their work and life? Loneliness? Anxiety about sickness and disability? Fear of death? This well-documented, theoretically systematic, and vivid account of the process of aging provides highly enlightening answers and dispels once and for all many of the myths surrounding the close to 20 million Americans who are over sixty-five. Building upon the results of extensive interviews conducted over a period of 5 1/2 years, the authors have developed the concept of Life Styles, a new method of describing and analyzing the general pattern and course of an individuals life. They have established the existence of six styles and have concluded that a successful transition to old age can be achieved through any of them. They have also developed a definition of success, which has practical implications, since it deals with the extent to which an individual contributes or is a burden to the lives of those around him. The combined analysis of style and success results in a better understanding of individual differences in aging. The cases are described and analyzed so interestingly and yet methodically that the reader comes to know and understand the subjects as if he had worked with them in person. In addition, the wealth of detail the case histories contain permits scholars and students to judge for themselves the validity of the authors findings. Derived from this unusually rich body of material, the authors conclusions and recommendations are invaluable to all concerned with the study, the treatment, and the counseling of the aged. Lives Through the Years is a pioneering volume of social inquiry and interpretation, which marks a major scientific advance in its field, opens up new horizons for fruitful research, and offers a stimulating and authoritative portrayal of one of the most important problems of our society. Richard H. Williams is Special Assistant to the Director, National Institute of Mental Health. Formerly chief of the Professional Services Branch of the Institute, Dr. Williams is a specialist in psychiatric rehabilitation and mental health aspects of the aging process. Claudine G. Wirths is a Consultant at the National Institute of Mental Health. She has served state and city governments and the Department of Defense in various capacities, chiefly as a consulting psychologist. Talcott Parsons (1902-1979) was professor of sociology, Harvard University where he set up the Department of Social Relations. He published more than 150 books and articles.