Generations

Articles from Vol. 23, No. 4, Winter

Aging into the Spirit: From Traditional Wisdom to Innovative Programs and Communities
When a householder sees his skin wrinkled, and his hair white, and the sons of his sons, then he may resort to the forest .... Let him always be industrious in reciting the Veda .... In summer, let him expose himself to the heat of five fires, during...
A Philosophical Time of Life
Is the perspective achieved in old age somehow more true? My first encounter with the meaning of aging arose one morning as 1, a twenty-somethingyear-old, looked in the mirror and noticed my hairline was receding. After desperately plying brush and comb...
A Reason to Rise Each Morning: The Meaning of Volunteering in the Lives of Older Adults
How does volunteering change as we age? Volunteering by older adults is fascinating both for the value it brings to individual lives and for the benefits that accrue to society. While not every older adult chooses this noncompensatory activity, for those...
Caring for My Self to the End: A Sacred Enterprise
All true things must change and only that which changes remains true. -C.G. Jung I choose to write my self as -two-words- to signal that I am attached and detached at the same time to this self that I see now, at 76, that has taken me a lifetime to own...
Changing Images of Retirement
Influenced by ideals of fellowship and community. Two years after retirement, my wife, Marianna, and I are moving again, for the third time. On a recent visit, our 8year-old grandson asked; "Grandpa, why are you moving again?" My answer to my grandson...
Generativity and the Gift of Meaning
Life must be handed on. There is a fairy tale from India that captures much of what I have learned in the past two decades about the concept of -generativity- Generativity is a word coined by the eminent psychoanalyst Erik Erikson in 1950 to describe...
Is It Practical to Search for Meaning?
Redeeming the meaning of aging and later life is a mission in which we all have deeply vested interests. Why should meaning be any more at issue in old age than in earlier times of life? The answers abound. Because old age is a "roleless role" that leads...
Living Creatively in a Nursing Home
A volunteer gains an education in resilience, reflection, and courage. For four or five years, shortly after leaving the teaching profession, I volunteered weekly in a nursing home. My initial motivation was to aid my mother-in-law, an independent yet...
My Coming of Age in Gerontology
A seasoned expert on human development and the family describes the interplay of personal change and the major changes in the field of aging. I became a gerontologist in the early 1960s, a midpoint in both my own life and in the life of American gerontology....
Our Guest Editor
The premise of this issue of Generations-that the search for value and meaning in later life is a very practical as well as philosophical endeavor- is exemplified by the distinguished career of the issues guest editor. Ron Manheimer, who holds a Ph.D....
Social Influences on the Older Woman's Life Story
In ways more complex than previous research has suggested, stories are shaped by age, race, class, ethnicity, and gender The Thursday-afteroon writing group is meeting at the senior center, and everyone is looking forward to hearing the latest episode...
The Clash of Meanings: Medical Narrative and Biographical Story at Life's End
Current medical practice does not allow for a transition, a process, a passage between life and death. Though death is of JL course a universal biological fact, the dying process, like all life-course passages, is culturally patterned. Today in the United...
The Meaning of Aging and the Future of Social Security
What vision of a secure old age should be embedded in this cornerstone of the American welfare state? Later life in the West today is a season in search of its purposes. For the first time in human history, most people can expect to live into their seventies...
The Personals: Oscar-Winning Documentary Looks at Later Life
Seeing through a lens from both directions. A close-up lens, essential equipment for a cinematographer, can enhance the filmmaker's perception of people. That tool, used with finesse, can lead to an intimate and accurate took at a small group. Though...
The Rainbow Connection
Saying goodbye. Well here's the thing. I have this friend, LuVerne, who keeps giving me magazines. She must take every magazine that ever was, and she passes them on to me. rm really glad to get them, most of the time, and I look them over and then pass...
The Sustaining Power of Meaning
Using creativity for personal renewal. The essence of the tasks central to the processes called "creative a64' is to move our spirits from circumstances where we exist without meaning to freshly created positions of personal significance. Here is the...
Thoughts on the Meaning of Frality
How will I let my caregivers know who I am? We have come to fear frailty more than death. We imagine being "put" in a nursing home, like a jar on a lonely shelf. Will a parade of paid strangers take care of me someday? Such images have become the focal...
Transcendence in Later Life
A shift in how we reevaluate our world and our place in it. When the disengagement theory first was introduced in the early 1960s (Cumming and Newell, 1960; Cumming and Henry, 1961), theoretical discussions of it turned into something like a riot. The...
Why Geriatrics?
A physician finds her work provides a window to the strength of the human spirit and the power of love to yield meaning. Why are you a geriatrician?" I used to regard this as a peculiar question. I began my professional career without much consideration...
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