Book Reviews -- Activity and Aging: Staying Involved in Later Life Edited by John Kelly

By Foret, Claire M. | Journal of Leisure Research, Fourth Quarter 1994 | Go to article overview

Book Reviews -- Activity and Aging: Staying Involved in Later Life Edited by John Kelly


Foret, Claire M., Journal of Leisure Research


Activity and Aging: Staying Involved in Later Life is not a "how to" book but a "why to" book. According to its editor, John Kelly, "activity is who we are as well what we do." To make his case, Kelly brings together a group of distinguished researchers involved in various aspects of aging to address the issue of activity and older adults. The book is divided into four parts: "Theory and Issues," "Social Contexts of Activity," "Varieties of Activity," and "Programs and Provisions."

In Section One, "Theory and Issues," Robert Atchley discusses the continuity theory of aging and its relationship to activity in later life. Sharon Kaufman analyzes how values remain intact throughout the life span, and how values influence the activity choices of older adults. M. Powell Lawton then discusses the meanings of activity for older adults as filtered through their values and capabilities. David Chiriboga and Robert Price follow by focusing on the changing context of activity, and the adaptive relationship of activity to such changes. Finally, Walter Tokarski looks at later life activity from European perspectives. Throughout this section, the influence of continuity in values and meaning to later life activity choices is emphasized.

Section Two, "Social Contexts of Activity," addresses activity not only as something to fill up time, but also as something that brings meaning to an individual's life. The more social the activity, the more important is the feeling of relationship to participating individuals. In this regard, Rebecca Adams addresses friendships, Carol Riddick examines older women's leisure activity and quality of life, and Helen Znaniecka Lopata explores the activity of widows and social integration. Douglas Kleiber and Robert O. Ray close this section by discussing the importance of "leaving one's mark" through activities such as mentoring and volunteering.

As individuals age, changes in activities are made to meet physical, cognitive and affective needs. Section Three, "Varieties of Activity," discusses why, and to what degree activity influences the quality of life in older adults. Roger Mannell illustrates that activities involving commitment provide greater satisfaction and produce "flow. …

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