Author, Fred C. Pompel, treats age as a component of social inequality which gives rise to the three major themes of the text: diversity in the experience of individuals, differences in public policy, and variations across nations. Comparison of the United States with other nations is a central component of the book, providing a greater understanding of the larger forces that shape old age.

Images of Old Age

Images of old age

WHEN HER HUSBAND DIED A FEW YEARS AGO, 66-year-old Martha knew she would not have to worry about finances in her old age. Thanks to the high income and wise investments of her physician husband, she owns a $450,000 house in an exclusive section of Los Angeles and can rely on income from a retirement trust supervised by her banker. Lively, healthy, and outgoing, she spends her time volunteering at the gift shop of a local hospital, socializing with friends, playing bridge, and visiting her daughters and grandchildren. She can afford to buy designer clothes, hire a cleaning woman, send out her laundry, and pay for a cellular phone in her car.

BASHA, NOW 89 YEARS OLD, lives in ...

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