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Terry Tirrito, Aging in the New Millennium: a Global View.

Terry Tirrito, Aging in the New Millennium: A Global View. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2003. $ 18.95 papercover.

Global aging is all-encompassing and will affect every man, woman and child anywhere in the world. It will affect everything from individual life plans to international security. The steady increase in the number of older people will have a direct bearing on family relationships and solidarity, generational equity and lifestyles. It will generate important opportunities while at the same time it will create unprecedented challenges. Increases in old age in many countries can be attributed to advances in science, medicine, and technology that have lead to reductions in infant and maternal mortality, infectious disease, and occupational hazards, as well as improvements in nutrition and education. Decreases in fertility combined with increases in aging may shrink the numbers of workers and consumers, creating unprecedented challenges to national and global economies. At the same time, with the advances in health and medicine, current populations will live longer and remain healthier than previous generations. As a result, traditional concepts of retirement and the contributions of older adults will need to be reconsidered.

In her book Aging in the New Millennium: A Global View, Terry Tirrito weaves together the complicated tapestry of aging around the world, covering topics such as life expectancy, and the varying social and economic impacts of aging throughout the world. Chapter topics range from demographic trends, theories and perspectives on aging to the experiences of older adults, programs and services for older adults, and attitudes about aging. Founded on statistics and research, Tirrito provides detailed accounts of developed and developing countries, and includes differences based on gender, sexuality and ethnicity. She presents the theoretical perspectives on aging in three chapters that respectively consider biophychosocial theories, sociological theories and aging theories. She also discusses the physical, mental health, and psychosocial factors that impact the aging process. The book's final chapters provide an overview of public support programs and services for older adults as well as impacts of an aging population on political, social and economic systems. Tirrito concludes the book with a discussion of emerging and unresolved issues in aging.

Aging in the New Millennium does a superb job of providing a comprehensive overview of the varied trajectories and effects of population aging in culturally diverse societies that are on different stages of economic and social development. Tirrito's analysis brings into sharp focus conditions and situations that are both similar and unique between and across nations. She also emphasizes how cultural attitudes complicate our understanding of the aging process. Readers would, however, benefit from further discussion on how the improvements in technology, supportive devices and changes in lifestyle preferences interact with the options and costs of remaining independent. Nevertheless, Tirrito has written a wonderfully comprehensive handbook on the implications of population aging worldwide that will appeal to anyone interested in aging: professionals, scholars, and students alike.
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Publication:Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare
Date:Jun 1, 2004
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