Transitions, time and later life

Authored by: Amanda Grenier

Routledge Handbook of Cultural Gerontology

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415631143
eBook ISBN: 9780203097090
Adobe ISBN: 9781136221033


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Transitions between events and experiences take place throughout the life course and into late life. But the pathways by which these are said to occur are not always as predictable as was once believed. This chapter focuses on the interrelated questions of transition and time as they affect contemporary ageing. Older people are said to experience a variety of transitions and events that shape late life. Until recently, these frameworks were considered to be organized according to chronological age, and based on fixed stages of development situated across a linear life course. Yet the current models by which we make sense of the life course are shifting. What it means to age has changed in the contemporary context, with scholars and older people alike reconsidering the expectations of ‘growing old’. As a result, social and cultural understandings now tend to view transitions as more fluid and permeable events that unfold across time. Personal, social, and cultural expectations of ageing that appear in personal scripts and public policies alike become increasingly important where the larger questions of planning for ‘ageing societies’ are concerned.

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