Recent decades have seen a fundamental change in the age structure of many western societies. In these societies it is now common for a fifth to a quarter of the population to be retired, for fewer babies to be born than is required to sustain the size of the population and for life expectancy to exceed eighty years old. This book provides an overview of the key issues arising from this demographic change, asking questions such as: What if any, are the universal characteristics of the ageing experience? What different ways is it possible to grow old? What is unique about old age in the contemporary world? The author also examines issues ranging from the social construction, diversity and identity of old age to areas of social conflict over population, pensions and the medicalisation of old age. John Vincent is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Exeter.
John Vincent is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Exeter.