You are here


Concepts and Controversies

Eighth Edition
Additional resources:

March 2014 | 600 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Presenting current research in an innovative format, Aging: Concepts and Controversies, Eighth Edition encourages students to become involved and take an informed stand on the major aging issues that we face as a society. Using their extensive expertise, the authors provide a thorough explanation of the issues in the Concepts sections and current research in the Controversy sections, demonstrating the close links between concepts and controversies in these broad areas of aging: health care, socioeconomic trends, and the life course.

About the Authors
Basic Concepts I. A Life Course Perspective on Aging
Age Identification  
The Stages of Life  
The Life Course and Aging  
Traditional Theories of Aging  
Influences on the Life Course  
Aging in the 21st Century  
The Biology of Aging  
Mechanisms of Physical Aging  
Aging and Psychological Functioning  
Controversy 1. Does Old Age Have Meaning?
The Meaning of Age  
Leisure Activities in Later Life  
Religion and Spirituality  
Gerontology and the Meaning of Age  
Activity or Reflection?  
Reading 1: The Coming of Age, Simone de Beauvoir  
Reading 2: Vital Involvement in Old Age, Erik H. Erikson, Joan M. Erikson, and Helen Q. Kivnick  
Reading 3: Successful Aging, John Rowe and Robert Kahn  
Reading 4: The Measure of My Days, Florida Scott-Maxwell  
Controversy 2. Why Do Our Bodies Grow Old?
The Process of Biological Aging  
Biological Theories of Aging  
Is Aging Inevitable?  
Ways to Prolong the Life Span  
Compression or Prolongation of Morbidity?  
Reading 5: Why Do We Live as Long as We Do? Leonard Hayflick  
Reading 6: Vitality and Aging, James F. Fries and Lawrence Crapo  
Reading 7: The Compression of Morbidity Hypothesis, Vincent Mor  
Reading 8: Health Trends in the Elderly Population, Marti G. Parker and Mats Thorslund  
Reading 9: We Will Be Able to Live to 1,000, Aubrey de Grey  
Reading 10: Don’t Fall for the Cult of Immortality, S. Jay Olshansky  
Controversy 3. Do Intelligence and Creativity Decline With Age?
Elements of Cognitive Function  
The Classic Aging Pattern  
Measures of Late-Life Intelligence  
Studies of Age and Cognitive Function  
Correlates of Cognitive Stability  
Creativity in an Aging Population  
Reading 11: Age and Achievement, Harvey Lehman  
Reading 12: Age and Achievement, Wayne Dennis  
Reading 13: Growing Old or Living Long, Laura L. Carstensen  
Reading 14: The Mature Mind, Gene Cohen  
Reading 15: Aging and Creativity, Becca Levy and Ellen Langer  
Basic Concepts II. Aging, Health Care, and Society
The Challenge of Longevity  
Epidemiology of Aging  
Economics of Health Care  
Long-Term Care  
Self-Determined Death  
Controversy 4. Should We Ration Health Care For Older People?
Precedents for Health Care Rationing  
The Justification for Age-Based Rationing  
Rationing as a Cost-Saving Plan  
The Impetus for Rationing  
Cost Versus Age  
Alternative Approaches to Rationing  
Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide  
The Debate Over Age-Based Rationing  
Reading 16: Why We Must Set Limits, Daniel Callahan  
Reading 17: Pricing Life, Peter Ubel  
Reading 18: The Pied Piper Returns for the Old Folks, Nat Hentoff  
Reading 19: From an Ethics of Rationing to an Ethics of Waste Avoidance, Howard Brody  
Reading 20: Aim Not Just for Longer Life, but Expanded “Health Span,”Daniel Perry and Robert Butler  
Controversy 5. Should Families Provide For Their Own?
Aging and the American Family  
Abandonment or Independence?  
Family Responsibility  
Medicaid and Long-Term Care  
Financing Long-Term Care  
Medicaid Planning  
Reading 21: Medicaid and Long-Term Care, Peter J. Strauss and Nancy M. Lederman  
Reading 22: Shame of the Rich, Jane Bryant Quinn  
Reading 23: The Fallacy of Impoverishment, Stephen Moses  
Reading 24: The Case Against Paying Family Caregivers, C. Jean Blaser  
Reading 25: For Love and Money, Suzanne R. Kunkel, Robert A. Applebaum, and Ian M. Nelson  
Controversy 6. Should Older People Be Protected From Bad Choices?
The Vulnerabilities of Older People  
Interfering When People Make Bad Choices  
Elder Abuse and Neglect  
Perceptions of Quality of Life  
Sexuality in Later Life  
Crime and Older Adults  
Intervention in the Lives of Vulnerable Older Adults  
Reading 26: The Right to Freedom From Restraints, Robert N. Brown  
Reading 27: Ethical Dilemmas in Elder Abuse, Terrie T. Wetle and Terry T. Fulmer  
Reading 28: A Legal Perspective on Elder Abuse, Candace J. Heisler and Mary Joy Quinn  
Reading 29: Elder Self-Neglect, Dorothy R. Fabian and Eloise Rathbone-McCuan  
Controversy 7. Should People Have the Choice to End Their Lives?
Depression and Suicide  
The “Right to Die”  
Outlook for the Future  
Reading 30: Why Do People Seek Physician-Assisted Death? Robert A. Pearlman and Helene Starks  
Reading 31: A Time to Die, Charles F. McKhann  
Reading 32: Last Rights, Sue Woodman  
Reading 33: Neither for Love nor Money, Leon Kass  
Basic Concepts III. Social and Economic Outlook for an Aging Society
The Varieties of Aging Experience  
The Economic Status of Older Americans  
Public Policy on Aging  
Controversy 8. Should Age or Need Be the Basis for Entitlement?
A Tale of Two Generations  
Justice Between Generations  
The Least-Advantaged Older Adults  
Help for Those Most in Need  
The Targeting Debate  
Reading 34: Growing Older, Lester Thurow  
Reading 35: Will America Grow Up Before It Grows Old? Peter G. Peterson  
Reading 36: “Generational Equity” and the New Victim Blaming, Meredith Minkler  
Reading 37: The Generational Equity Debate, John B. Williamson, Diane M. Watts-Ray, and Eric R. Kingson  
Controversy 9. What is the Future for Social Security?
Main Features of Social Security  
Success—and Doubt  
Pay as You Go  
Social Security Trust Fund  
Women and Social Security  
Debate Over Social Security  
Reading 38: How to Save Social Security, Peter Diamond and Peter Orszag  
Reading 39: The Necessity and Desirability of Social Security Reform, Ramesh Ponnuru  
Reading 40: Social Security Reform and Benefit Adequacy, Lawrence H. Thompson  
Reading 41: Social Security for Yesterday’s Family? C. Eugene Steuerle and Melissa Favreault  
Reading 42: The Future of Social Security, AARP  
Controversy 10. Is Retirement Obsolete?
History of Retirement  
Origins of Late-Life Leisure  
Changes in the American Economy  
A New View of Retirement  
Debate Over Retirement Policy  
Reading 43: Achieving a Productive Aging Society, Francis G. Caro, Scott A. Bass, and Yung-Ping Chen  
Reading 44: Prime Time, Marc Freedman  
Reading 45: The Busy Ethic, David J. Ekerdt  
Reading 46: Moving Toward a Creative Retirement, Ronald J. Manheimer  
Controversy 11. Aging Boomers: Boom or Bust?
Who Are the Boomers?  
What Is a Generation? Age-Period-Cohort Analysis  
Social Construction of the Boomer Phenomenon  
Boomers in the Years Ahead  
Reading 47: Boomsday, Christopher Buckley  
Reading 48: No Country for Young Men, Megan McArdle  
Reading 49: The Longevity Revolution, Theodore Roszak  
Reading 50: The Long Baby Boom, Jeff Goldsmith  
Controversy 12. The New Aging Marketplace
The New Customer Majority  
One Market Sector Likely to Grow  
What Do Older Consumers Want?  
Limits of the Marketplace Model  
Reading 51: Overview of the Boomer Market, Mary Furlong  
Reading 52: Age Branding, Harry R. Moody and Sanjay Sood  
Reading 53: Selling the Fountain of Youth, Arlene Weintraub  
Reading 54: Marketplace of Memory, Daniel R. George and Peter J. Whitehouse  
Epilogue: Finding Your Place in an Aging Society
Appendix: How to Research a Term Paper in Gerontology
Photo Credits


Instructor Teaching Site
Instructor Teaching Site includes:
  • A Microsoft® Word® test bank is available containing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • A Respondus electronic test bank is available and can be used on PCs. The test bank contains multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter and provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding. Respondus is also compatible with many popular learning management systems so you can easily get your test questions into your online course.
  • Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course. Highlight essential content, features, and artwork from the book.
  • Sample course syllabi for semester and quarter courses provide suggested models for use when creating the syllabi for your courses.
  • Suggested course projects are designed to promote students’ in-depth engagement with course material.
  • Highlights from the Teaching Gerontology eNewsletters
  • Exhibits from the book
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to certain full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected for each chapter. Each article supports and expands on the concepts presented in the chapter. This feature also provides questions to focus and guide student interpretation. Combine cutting-edge academic journal scholarship with the topics in your course for a robust classroom experience.
  • Each chapter includes audio links related to important topics and designed to supplement key points within the text. Carefully selected, web-based video links feature relevant interviews, lectures, personal stories, inquiries, and other content for use in independent or classroom-based explorations of key topics. When relevant, related questions for discussion are included.
Student Study Site

The open-access Student Study Site includes the following:

  • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards reinforce understanding of key terms and concepts that have been outlined in the chapters.
  • Mobile-friendly web quizzes allow for independent assessment of progress made in learning course material.
  • Each chapter includes audio links, covering important topics and designed to supplement key points within the text.
  • Carefully selected, video links feature relevant interviews, lectures, personal stories, inquiries, and other content for use in independent or classroom-based explorations of key topics.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to certain full-text SAGE journal articles have been carefully selected for each chapter. Each article supports and expands on the concepts presented in the chapter. This feature also provides questions to focus and guide your interpretation.

This text is designed to stimulate thought through focus on controversies in ageing. Whilst the central theme is care, the book has proved useful for introducing sports undergraduates to current themes and issues in this area at a time when different approaches to growing older are being considered by sport and exercise scientists as well as other disciplines. The questions at the end of each chapter were easily adapted to different contexts.

Dr Mark Hickman
School of Sport, Tourism and The Outdoors, University of Central Lancashire
November 1, 2016

An outstanding text in every respect, the text is a comprehensive resource for any course exploring aspects relating to ageing. It is ideal for all levels of courses exploring aspects of ageing. The text covers both the physiological and social aspects of ageing.
It is essential for any course examining the impacts of ageing and is ideal for students of all levels, ranging from BTEC, A Levels and undergraduate courses.

Mr Gavin Hatton
Sociology , Merthyr Tydfil College
October 13, 2016

Being strongly considered for Fall 2017

Professor Teresa Breiler
Social Work , Holy Cross College
September 16, 2016

Had used previous version. Like that it deals with contemporary issues of older adults and what's to come in the future for this aging population.

Dr Anne Y. Branscum
Human Environmental Stds Dept, Southeast Missouri State Univ
August 17, 2016

useful for life stages unit and theories of ageing.

Mrs Mel Aubrey
Health , Newcastle-under-Lyme College
February 10, 2016

Informative and easy to follow.

Mrs Janette Barker
Department of Health & Social Studies, Grimsby Institute of HE & FE
November 20, 2015

This book is essential to any course exploring ageing, the Sociology of Ageing or ageing and inequality.

The book is easy to read, with a simple to follow layout. It covers all the main areas including development through the life stages, theories of ageing and government policy and ageing. All of which are key elements in many courses exploring ageing.

The book is essential for level three and first year undergraduate students, studying ageing to any depth. It has equal focus on ageing in the UK as well as a global perspective, making it ideal for UK institutions, as often these types of books are US- focused.

I would advise any institution with course in Sociology, Access to HE or Health and Social Care to use this book as a key resource.

Mr Gavin Hatton
Sociology , St David's College
October 16, 2015

This is a book that sheds some light on issues of aging in contemporary society and complements my lectures on health and aging very well.

Dr Joana Almeida
Centre for Criminology and Sociology, Royal Holloway, University of London
August 30, 2015

On the core reading list for BSc Occupational Therapy programmes

Mrs Sandie Woods
Faculty of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University
July 15, 2015

This book provides a clear insight into the issues and concepts related to aging in am engaging way.

Dr Bridget Kirwan
Business Law , Tipperary Institute
June 19, 2015

Sample Materials & Chapters

Controversy 1

Controversy 2

Preview this book

Harry R. Moody

Harry R. Moody is a graduate of Yale University and received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University. He has taught philosophy at Columbia University, Hunter College, New York University, and the University of California at Santa Cruz.  He recently retired as Vice President and Director of Academic Affairs for AARP in Washington, DC.  He is currently Visiting Professor at Tohoku University in Japan, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Fielding Graduate University.  Dr. Moody previously served as Executive Director of the Brookdale Center on Aging at Hunter College and Chairman of the Board of Elderhostel (now... More About Author

Jennifer R. Sasser

Jennifer R. Sasser is Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Human Sciences at Marylhurst University in Portland, Oregon, where she coordinates the gerontology program. She joined the Marylhurst faculty in 1997 and since that time has been involved in the design and implementation of many on-campus and Web-based courses and programs for adult learners, including the graduate and undergraduate certificate programs in gerontology. While conducting her doctoral work at Oregon State University, she was a graduate teaching and research fellow, as well as the first recipient of the AARP/Andrus Foundation Graduate Fellowship in... More About Author

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9781452275888