Achieving a Productive Aging Society

Achieving a Productive Aging Society

Achieving a Productive Aging Society

Achieving a Productive Aging Society


Bass and his colleagues focus needed attention on the majority of older people who, in their senior years, possess relatively good health and demonstrated abilities. They offer significant potential to society, affording a resource that only in relatively recent times, has been largely unrecognized or ignored. Major issues and obstacles are identified and addressed. These include considerations relative to employment, workplace environment, volunteerism, gender, and ethnic culture. The authors examine roles, both social and economic, which older people can successfully fulfill. They urge a broadening of the options available to us as we age that extend beyond leisure activities and family involvement. They recognize the need for changes in perceptions and the necessary modification of society's institutions to enable choice and greater satisfaction in the later years of life.


Since 1980 the Gerontology Institute of the University of Massachusetts at Boston has examined social and economic roles for older people. The institute's activities have been both academic and practical in nature. At times, they have been designed to provide an impartial research and scholarly understanding to a particular question. At other times, they have been focused on direct advocacy and change-oriented positions.

Our knowledge base emerges from many papers, studies, symposia, lectures, and discussions with others around the United States and from other industrialized nations. We have invested substantial state resources in an undergraduate and two certificate career-training programs for older people who wish to engage in service, policy, or administrative positions in gerontology. These programs have been highlighted by The Commonwealth Fund as among the most promising older-worker training programs in the nation. They have been spotlighted in numerous television and newspaper stories, both nationally and locally, including the American Association for Retired Persons' former television program Modern Maturity, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe.

At the Gerontology Institute, older people are not merely the subjects of our inquiries; they are active participants as students, staff, and volunteers. For example, our employment discrimination project funded by the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs was established by one of our certificate program graduates. Our perspectives have been significantly influenced by the direct participation of older people in our teaching, service, and research.

This volume follows two other edited books that have been supported by the Gerontology Institute. They are Retirement Reconsidered byRobert Morris andScott A. Bass, which begins to question the institution of retirement; and Diversity in Aging byScott A. Bass,Elizabeth Kutza, and . . .

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