In contrast to structured dependency theory (see Social dependency in older age), the concept of the ‘third age’ emerged from a quite different social perspective; one that sees the process of ageing in contemporary society as being less constrained by social structural and cultural boundaries than it once was. The widening of consumer society from the 1980s in most western societies was seen by commentators such as Laslett (1989) to have opened up ‘lifestyle choices’ for the post-retirement individual. This widening of consumerism is seen to have occurred at the same time as the epidemiological phenomenon of the increasing ‘disability-free life expectancy’ for older people (in which morbidity becomes ‘compressed’ into just a few years at the very end of life), ...
The Third Age
The third age