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The newly retired are entering a time of life that is virtually uncharted, a time in which they are free from social expectations and, to a large extent, from obligations to others. Life's meanings are no longer provided by work and family. Instead, men and women have the freedom, and the need, to find new activities that they can imbue with meaning. The term, "Third Age" has been given to this time of life during which for most there is relatively good health, financial stability, and reduced family obligations. The problems and possibilities of this "Third Age" serve as the material for this book. How do older people decide how to deploy their continued vitality, now that they are free from the demands of work and children? How do they find meaning in daily life? In this book, scholars from several disciplines consider the way in which meaning can be found in this important stage of later life. They discuss sociological, psychological, and religious determinants of responses to the challenges of finding meaningful activity after retirement.
Introduction, Robert S. Weiss and Scott A. Bass
1. Holding onto Meaning through the Life Cycle, Peter Marris
2. Social Sources of Meaning in Later Life, Richard A. Settersten, Jr.
3. The Third Age, Robert L. Rubinstein
4. Social Sources of Meaning in Later Life, Richard A. Settersen, Jr.
5. Aging, Place, and Meaning in the Face of Changing Circumstances, Graham D. Rowles and Hege Ravdal
6. Bringers of Allah: The Druse Elders, David Gutmann
7. Aging, Intimate Relationships, and Life Story among Gay Men, Bertram J. Cohler and Andrew J. Hostetler
8. Looking for Meaning in a Life's Experience, Robert Morris
9. The Search for Meaning in Later Years: the Views of a Seventy-Four-Year Old Gerontological Social Worker, Rose Dobrof
Epilogue: Concluding Note on Meaning and the Possibility of Productive Aging, Robert S. Weiss and Scott A. Bass