The subject matter of this Handbook deals with one of the most challenging issues for societies in the 21st Century, namely, the social, economic and cultural changes associated with individual ageing and the rapidly growing reality of the ageing of human populations. The SAGE Handbook of Social Gerontology provides a comprehensive overview of key trends and issues in the field of ageing, drawing upon the full range of social science disciplines. The volume reflects the emergence of ageing as a global concern, drawing upon international scholars from Asia, Australasia, Europe and North America. The book is organized into five parts, each exploring different aspects of research into social aspects of ageing: · Disciplinary overviews: summaries of findings from key disciplinary areas within social gerontology · Social relationships and social differences: topics include social inequality, gender, religion, inter-generational ties, social networks, and friendships in later life. · Individual characteristics and change in later life: examining different aspects of individual aging, including self and identity, cognitive processes, and biosocial interactions and their impact on physical and psychological aging · Comparative perspectives and cultural innovations: topics include ageing and development, ageing in a global context, migration, and cross-cultural perspectives on grandparenthood · Policy issues: topics include: developments in social policy, long-term care, technology and older people, end of life issues, work and retirement, crime and older people, and the politics of old age. It will be essential reading for all students, researchers and policy-makers concerned with the major issues influencing the lives of older people across the globe.
The aim of this chapter is to analyze key themes concerning the end of life in old age and to consider how these can contribute to gerontological knowledge. Drawing on international data, trends in mortality are identified, including age at death, causes of death, and place of death. These trends are analyzed for their significance for understanding the social conditions of ageing and dying. Secondly, themes from the study of death and dying are considered in relation to ageing, with a particular focus on what is understood by a ‘good death’ and how age influences this understanding. Thirdly, a discussion of issues in end-of-life care and support for older people considers the interrelationship between the social status of older people and the ...