Families and Aging

Families and Aging

by Patricia Drentea


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The experiences of both families and aging are changing in today’s society. Many of us are staying healthier and living longer. Because an unprecedented number of Americans will be over age 65 in the twenty-first century, the aging experience will be felt by many and permeate our family life and society.
Patricia Drentea’s Families and Aging examines how the changing lifestyles of Americans will play into aging well. It explores the life course transitions that occur as individuals and families age within the current U.S. context. The text is written from a sociological perspective, but it is interdisciplinary and can be used by many fields such as gerontology, social work, human development, and family studies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538104330
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 11/05/2018
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 7.09(w) x 10.45(h) x 0.56(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Patricia Drentea is Professor of Sociology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from The Ohio State University. She has numerous publications on aging and families, caregiving, and dying. Her work has been published in journals such as The Gerontologist, The Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Social Science & Medicine, Sociology of Health and Illness, CANCER, and the Journal of Aging and Health.

Table of Contents


1.Introduction to Aging Families
2.Data and Methods
3.Structure of the Chapters
4.Organization of the book

Chapter 1. Introduction to Aging Families

Provides an overview of major social changes in aging Vignette-Older woman who is more what the face of the future will be than what is today

Chapter Objectives
1.Increase of older adult population
The Baby Boomers

Life Expectancy in the United States

The past, present, and future

Box-How to become a centenarian
2.Changes in world population
Box about future world population
3.Box-What is a family?

4.Facts about families

Diverse Family Forms

More options

Trends in the Aging Family

Longer Life Span

More Needs for Caregiving
5.Changes In Diversity-Race And Ethnicity
Current Versus Future Population in the U.S.

The Changing Landscape of the Population
6.Changes in socioeconomic status
Increased Standard of Living for Most

Continued Inequality
7.Changes in health
Healthier than before

Chronic illness

Communicable Illness

Health Disparities
9.Critical Thinking Questions

Chapter 2. Diversity in American Society

The story is one of diversity in the 21st century. Begins with postmodern theory about diversity of society etc. Diversity is about changing landscape of more common and visible types of families.

Chapter Objectives
1.Theory of postmodern complex life
Increasing diversity of families
2.Modern versus traditional
3.Increasing diversity of realities
Major trends in intimate relationships: the impact on aging families


Remarriage and stepfamilies

Single parenting




Box-Childfree by Choice


LGBTQ Families

Families of Choice

Biracial and Multiracial/Multiethnic Families

4.Traditional Pulls
6.Critical Thinking Questions

Chapter 3- Changing Gender Roles: Effects on Aging Experience

Women now are coming of age during time of more options, different family patterns, more work, more likely to have different expectations of men. For many older women, they came of age in the 1970s, during the women’s revolution, after the civil rights movement, and during a time when the world was opening up to them.

Chapter Objectives
1.Feminist Theory
Six Propositions
2.Changes in Gendered Lives Over Time


3.Gender, Dating and Sexuality

Sexuality in Later Life

STIs and Aging
5.Social Roles, Sex Roles, and Mental Health
7.Critical Thinking Questions

Chapter 4. Parenthood Later In Life

Provides an overview of having children in later life, and issues relevant to all parents as they get older.

Chapter Objectives
1.The life course paradigm increasing heterogeneity

2.Increasing Age at First Birth
3.Reproductive Medicine and Technology
Advanced maternal age-women 35 and over

chart- Risks and Benefits of Women Having Children Over 35

Down Syndrome

Table 5.1 Incidence of Down syndrome by age of mother

Box-World’s Oldest Moms

Twins and multiples
4.Older Parents and Psychosocial Implications
Boomerang children
5.Intergenerational linkages
The Sandwich Generation
9.Critical Thinking Questions

Chapter 5. Work and Retirement

The story of how people interact with their cohort and the social structure. Each cohort is different because it is had different experiences. New cohorts will be different from before because women have worked, more educated population, rise of technology. How economic and family issues affect work careers, retirement etc.

Chapter Objectives
1.Theory-age stratification
2.Changes in the dependency ratio
3.Changes in estimated work life
Estimated Work Life

Work in later life

Work and Family in Later Life


Duration and Reasons for Increase in retirement

BOX—Financial Planning for Retirement

Phased retirement

Savings in later life

The great recession and the effects on working


5.Critical Thinking Questions

Chapter 6. Activities in Later Life

The story to tell is about activities in later life, work, and retirement with trends in both early retirement and working later in life. Activities may center around things people liked to do their whole life, but also when an extra 30 years is appended to a life. One activity is increasing grandparenting. Discussion of where seniors live.

Chapter Objectives
1.Theory-activity theory and continuity theory
2.Activities in later life
More leisure time and opportunities

Consumerism: America’s favorite hobby-shopping?

The other side
3.Travel and adult education programs
4.Grandparenting extended time grandparenting, quality and quantity

grandparenting as an identity

styles of grandparenting

Box-an example of custodial living

Divorce/reconstituted families and grandparents
5.Moving, activities and families in later life
Connectivity and social media
8.Critical Thinking Questions

Chapter 7. Health and Caregiving

Story is that we are living longer, and generally healthier. There’s been an expansion of morbidity, but also a compression. We can be healthier longer, but have new things to worry about such as wear and tear of joints, being kept alive artificially too long etc. Increasing need for caregiving.

Chapter Objectives
1.Theory-cumulative advantage and disadvantage
2.Improved health overall, vitality and aging well

Activities of daily living

D. Expansion versus compression of morbidity

E. Socioeconomic status and health

F. Caregiving

caregiving measures

men’s caregiving

increase in male caregiving
10.Need for social support
11.Alzheimer’s disease-a special case in caregiving and social support
Box-warning signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
12.Living arrangements
13.Assistive technology
14.Assisted Care, Advanced Care Planning, and End-of-Life Decisions
16.Critical Thinking Questions
Chapter 8. Conclusion

Chapter Objectives
2.Societal Changes
3.Dominant Social Changes: Future Directions for Society
1.Technology and Communication
2.Globalization and families
3.Intercultural marriage and increasing heterogeneity of families
4.Increased distance from families
5.Increased choices for living arrangements
6.More social roles for later life
4.Elder Mistreatment
6.Critical Thinking Questions




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