Contemporary Issues in Gerontology: Promoting Positive Ageing

By V. Minichiello; I. Coulson | Go to book overview

Preface:

The context of promoting
positive ageing

Victor Minichiello

Irene Coulson


The challenge

The past century saw astronauts landing on the moon, medicine mastering human organ transplant, people communicating across the globe using email, mobile phones, faxes and instant Internet connections—but, alas, finding no antidote to stop the ageing process, the so-called 'fountain of youth'. In our view, however, we should not be disappointed that such a remedy has not been found, because there is nothing inherently bad or abnormal in growing old.

We age from the moment we are born. But somehow western societies want to put a stop to the ageing process at about the time a person reaches the age of 21 or so. Why? So that they can retain and preserve the physical appearance and attractiveness associated with those so heavily featured by fashion, advertising and youth- preserving technologies and lifestyle industries. Perhaps our problem is not so much with ageing, but with our lust for youthfulness.

The new millennium has, however, brought what might appear to be longer life expectancy and better health for older citizens. 'Successful ageing' is no longer an oxymoron but a reality. We will leave the subsequent chapters to argue the impressive statistics associated with life expectancy these days and the health status of ageing populations in western societies, although it is important to make two

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