By Graham D. Rowles

ISBN-10: 012599950X

ISBN-13: 9780125999502

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Extra info for Aging and Milieu. Environmental Perspectives on Growing Old

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I suggest that the normal process of the life review described by Robert Butler (1968) represents a reappearance of narcissism. The autonomy of young adulthood and the responsibilities of middle age slowly become the dependency of old age—altogether unlike the dependency of infancy, because the dependency of old age represents a fall from power, a reluctant acceptance of unwelcome physical, social, and economic limitations imposed on a body once fit for anything and a mind still likely to be fit for anything.

My immediate point of departure will be the dialogue spoken in 1 9 7 4 and published in 1 9 7 5 which brings "Leland: A Love Story" to its conclusion. Step back with me in time, over about a mile in space—a mile that will soon prove longer than Leland and I had guessed. " "Love stories always end in tragic separation. That's a comparatively benign conclusion, since each of us survives to find new companions. " "I'll have to find a new end for my beginning," says Leland [Datan, 1975, p. 290]. In 1 9 7 4 Leland called our relationship a "facultative symbiosis''—a zoological term for a romance between two independent organisms who allowed themselves to enjoy a measure of interdependence.

As he thanked us, Leland declared that he did not intend to celebrate another birthday. " But when I went over to join Leland, that was not what I told him. '' Yes, he has, and, if I am ever to learn this for myself, it will be easier for me to learn from Leland, as Gidon has, than to struggle 36 Nancy Datan with death alone, imprisoned by the age-graded structure of contemporary Western society. I think I have earned by now the title of most pessimistic gerontologist, and I would like to give credit where it is due.

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Aging and Milieu. Environmental Perspectives on Growing Old by Graham D. Rowles


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