Love Stories of Later Life: A Narrative Approach to Understanding Romance / Edition 1

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Overview

Even with baby boomers retiring and greater media and research attention being lavished on older people, most gerontologists have studiously avoided examining romance among the elderly. Love Stories of Later Life is an appealing and eye-opening remedy to this neglect, as leading gerontologist Amanda Smith Barusch presents original research into what love and romance mean in seniors' lives. The result is a glimpse into a world many people didn't know existed - that of romantic love in later life.
Unlike superficial guidebooks that purport to help seniors find a new mate, Love Stories of Later Life integrates theory and the latest research on love and the aging process. Drawing on a wealth of personal narratives collected during a landmark five-year study, the book presents the lived experiences of older adults from all walks of life. It addresses the impact of common age-related changes, both emotional and physical, on romantic relationships, and argues that love continues to sculpt our personalities and our lives, even in life's later decades. Each chapter includes practical tools for the serious student of love, including exercises designed to increase self-awareness and relationship-building as well as annotated lists of suggested reading that are at once comprehensive and accessible.
Barusch's fresh perspective, engaging voice, and in-depth qualitative research make Love Stories of Later Life an important contribution to the study of individual lives and the aging process. This book will guide gerontologists, social workers, and counselors as they in turn help their older clients navigate love's challenges.

Visit the author's website: Amanda Barusch

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In Love in Later Life, Amanda Barusch takes the reader on a tour of late life's romantic possibilities - from infatuation to loss, with stops along the way at ecstasy, betrayal, and other complications. Part romance novel, part scholarly work, the book explores love through the ages. In late life, as when we are younger, love changes everything."—Andrew Scharlach, Associate Dean and Kleiner Professor of Aging, School of Social Welfare, University of California-Berkeley

"Until recently (when the Baby Boomers came on the scene), scientists have neglected the topic of passionate love and sexual desire in older folks. In this delightful, personal book — filled with up-to-date social psychological research — Dr. Barusch provides a much needed remedy for that omission."—Elaine Hatfield, Professor, Dept. of Psychology, University of Hawaii

"This book dispels any notion that only young people enjoy romance. In a fun and engaging read, Barusch weaves cases with the most cutting-edge academic information on love in a thrilling tale about how love changes with age. The book is potentially transformative, as Barusch uncovers how in many respects the best is yet to come. Although the content appeals to a broad audience and includes experiential exercises to enhance readers' awareness about their own experiences, scholars and practitioners from all health professions should read this book."—Virginia Richardson, Professor, The Ohio State University College of Social Work

"While acknowledging life-course issues of difficulties and losses, and always the problems of trial and error in love, Barusch relates that, in later years, the opportunities are there for strong emotions. Rather than the usual texts on isolated, impoverished, detached, struggling older people, this book brings out the positive aspects of growing older and acknowledges the possibility of being a whole person at every age."—nsight

"In Love in Later Life, Amanda Barusch takes the reader on a tour of late life's romantic possibilities - from infatuation to loss, with stops along the way at ecstasy, betrayal, and other complications. Part romance novel, part scholarly work, the book explores love through the ages. In late life, as when we are younger, love changes everything."—Andrew Scharlach, Associate Dean and Kleiner Professor of Aging, School of Social Welfare, University of California-Berkeley

"Until recently (when the Baby Boomers came on the scene), scientists have neglected the topic of passionate love and sexual desire in older folks. In this delightful, personal book — filled with up-to-date social psychological research — Dr. Barusch provides a much needed remedy for that omission."—Elaine Hatfield, Professor, Dept. of Psychology, University of Hawaii

"This book dispels any notion that only young people enjoy romance. In a fun and engaging read, Barusch weaves cases with the most cutting-edge academic information on love in a thrilling tale about how love changes with age. The book is potentially transformative, as Barusch uncovers how in many respects the best is yet to come. Although the content appeals to a broad audience and includes experiential exercises to enhance readers' awareness about their own experiences, scholars and practitioners from all health professions should read this book."—Virginia Richardson, Professor, The Ohio State University College of Social Work

"A scholarly approach to a 'fuzzy' concept, the book is enlivened with rich and often touching stories of love past age 50. Love is seen though the broad lens of historical, cultural, social, psychological and even spiritual eyes. A 'must read' for educators and practitioners as well as students of life, this book is a major contribution to breaking the stereotypes of what it means to grow old and how life continues to be meaningful in the later years."—Connie Corley, Professor, School of Social Work and Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, California State University-Los Angeles

"While acknowledging life-course issues of difficulties and losses, and always the problems of trial and error in love, Barusch relates that, in later years, the opportunities are there for strong emotions. Rather than the usual texts on isolated, impoverished, detached, struggling older people, this book brings out the positive aspects of growing older and acknowledges the possibility of being a whole person at every age."—Insight

"[Barusch] writers for academic gerontologists who have an interest in the study of late relationships...[and] for elders who desire to gain insight into romantic and sexual relationships in later life. Academically, [Barusch offers] new and profound insights...the book is delightful, hopeful and inspiring. It is rare for an author to successfully address two such diverse audiences. I encourage both academic and public libraries to adopt this fine work."—Stephen M. Marson for Age and Ageing

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195314045
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/13/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Amanda Smith Barusch, PhD, has been teaching and researching in the field of aging for over 25 years. Most of those were spent on the faculty of the College of Social Work at the University of Utah. She now serves as Professor and Head of Department of Social Work and Community Development at the University of Otago in New Zealand. She has received numerous academic awards, prizes and fellowships, and her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Administration on Aging, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Love in Later Life
Part 1: Love and Age
1. Understanding Love
2. The Aging Self
Part 2: Love's Illusions
3. Infatuation
4. Looking for Love
Part 3: Lived Love
5. Committed Relationships
6. Supporting Actors: Family, Friends, and Community
Part 4: Love's Disillusions
7. Betrayal and Rejection
8. Love Lost
Conclusion: The Romantic Imagination
Appendix A: Love in Professional Literature
Appendix B: The Research in Detail

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