Valuing Older People: A Humanist Approach to Ageing (BOK)
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How can we understand older people as real human beings, value their wisdom, and appreciate that their norms and principles both matter in themselves and are affected by those of others? Using a life-course approach, this book claims that the complexity and potential creativity of later life demands a humanistic vision of older people and ageing. This denies that older people are 'other' than ourselves, stressing 'ties of recognition and concern' which bind all human beings together.At the same time, it acknowledges the specificities of different experiences of older age and the diversity of meanings connected with them. It presents a range of contexts and methodologies through which such meanings can be understood. The book interprets ageing as a process of creating meaning, carried out by older people but significant for those around them, and influenced by the norms and values of their societies. It then considers the impact of social norms on older people's capacities to age in creative ways.What real obstacles are there to older people's construction of meaningful lives, what is going on when they feel they are ageing well? In former times, the idea of a meaningful later life was associated with the idea of wisdom; some of its contemporary dimensions are explored here. This collection offers a lively and creative response to contemporary challenges of ageing and how to understand it. It is aimed at students, researchers, practitioners and policy-makers interested in ageing.