The Other within Us: Feminist Explorations of Women and Aging

By Marilyn Pearsall | Go to book overview

10
ADULT DAUGHTERS
AND CARE FOR
THE ELDERLY

Emily K. Abel

Women seem able to five for years without companions . . . but an old man is more fragile. If he has a wife of his own age, he is very lucky; having a daughter is the next best thing, but any woman in the house is better than none if she can cook and make beds.

-- Malcolm Cowley, "Being Old Old"

The topic of parent care recently has captured the attention of the mass media. Within one month in the spring of 1985, for example, Newsweek devoted a cover story to the emotional and financial toll of caring for aging parents, 1 PBS sponsored a special program on Frontline entitled, "What About Mom and Dad?" 2 and Ellen Goodman wrote a syndicated column about replacing the burdens of childcare with those of parental care. 3

A dramatic demographic shift amply justifies the concern bestowed on this issue. The elderly represented just 4 percent of the population in 1900 but grew to 11 percent in 1980. By the year 2030, it is projected, those over the age of sixtyfive will constitute almost one-quarter of the total population. 4 The rate of increase of the very old, who are most at risk of sickness and dependency, is particularly striking. Although the population aged sixty-five and over is expected to rise by 28 percent during the next twenty years, those over the age of seventyfive are expected to increase by 53 percent and those over eighty-five by a star

-135-

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The Other within Us: Feminist Explorations of Women and Aging
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 16
  • Part One - Situating 17
  • 1 - The Double Standard of Aging 19
  • 2 - Portnoy's Mother's Complaints 25
  • 3 - The Plight of Older Black Women 37
  • References 41
  • 4 - The Feminization of Poverty Among the Elderly 43
  • Notes 54
  • 5 - Older Women in the City 57
  • Notes 68
  • Part Two - Problematizing 71
  • 6 Friends or Foes - Gerontological and Feminist Theory 73
  • Notes 91
  • References 91
  • 7 Heresy in the Female Body - The Rhetorics of Menopause 95
  • Notes 110
  • References 110
  • 8 Gender, Race, and Class - Beyond the Feminization of Poverty in Later Life 113
  • Notes 119
  • References 119
  • 9 - The View from Over the Hill 121
  • Notes 134
  • 10 - Adult Daughters and Care for the Elderly 135
  • Notes 146
  • 11 What Setting Limits May Mean - A Feminist Critique of Danielcallahan's Setting Limits 151
  • Notes 158
  • References 159
  • Part Three - Representing 161
  • 12 Sunset Boulevard - Fading Stars 163
  • Notes 175
  • 13 - Remembering Our Foremothers Older Black Women, Politics of Age, Politics of Survival as Embodied in the Novels of Toni Morrison 177
  • Notes 193
  • 14 Visible Difference - Women Artists and Aging 197
  • Notes 214
  • 15 - Time Will Tell 221
  • Part Four - Privileging 227
  • 16 - Toward Another Dimension . . . 229
  • 17 - Indian Summer 233
  • 18 - In the Heat of Shadow 239
  • 19 - Mirror of Strength Portrait of Two Chilean Arpilleristas 243
  • 20 - The Space Crone 249
  • 21 - Serenity and Power 253
  • Notes 273
  • Credits 275
  • About the Book and Editor 277
  • About the Contributors 279
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