Aging in Today's Society

Aging in Today's Society

Aging in Today's Society

Aging in Today's Society

Excerpt

Never in human history has a society set such a rapid pace of change in the manner and means of living as our American society today. In turn, we have set in motion processes that are resulting in accelerated change in the rest of the world, from the USSR to the most primitive areas of Africa and Southeast Asia.

These changes are felt in everyone's life; though they are not always recognized or their implications understood. The automobile, for instance, made profound and permanent changes in our countryside, our cities, our personal horizons; yet none of this was foreseen, and few people today could give an accurate account of what those changes are.

A profound change is taking place today in the age-structure of the American population. Never before was being "old" so certain a prospect for so many. Never has the American people contained so large a proportion of persons over fifty. And throughout our society, from its politics to its patterns of manufacture, marketing, and entertainment, changes are being made in response to this fact. Suddenly, we American people have come to realize that we are not only living longer, but that we are spending a smaller part of our lives in rearing children, in housework, and in paid employment. More and more of our life is available to us in the form of "free" time to be employed as we choose. Gone are the conditions of earlier times in which the years of life were relatively few and in which most people were occupied in making a living as long as they survived. The new developments, coming gradually at first but now very rapidly, have raised many questions of individual financial security, economic costs to society, family relationships . . .

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