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Series Info

Episodes: 13

Length: 60 min.

Grade Levels:
9, 10, 11, 12, Adult Learning


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Growing Old in a New Age

Learn about the impact of aging on both society and individuals as 75 diverse elders relate their experiences. The four ways that age is measured — chronologically, biologically, psychologically and socially — are the basis for discussing the quality of life in later years. The series examines common misconceptions about aging and provides a springboard for analyzing new roles for elders, intergenerational alliances, resource allocation and artificial attempts to prolong life. These programs are particularly useful for students of psychology, gerontology, sociology, family studies, human development and health sciences.

Episode Guide

1. Myths and Realities of Aging — The common myths surrounding aging are compared with today’s realities. Experts and elders describe how we learn about aging and how knowledge can help us              debunk myths.

2. How the Body Ages — Experts describe the universal physical changes that accompany aging and explain how deterioration can be prevented. Researchers describe advances in cellular studies and the search for biomarkers of aging.

3. Maximizing Physical Potential of Older Adults — Considers ways to develop the greatest physical potential in an aging individual while compensating for the effects of aging. Elders describe how lifestyle choices have helped them maintain an active, healthy life.

4. Love, Intimacy and Sexuality — Examines the sources of love and affection in old age and describes how aging may affect sexual and reproductive functioning. Older adults discuss their continuing need for companionship, intimacy, love and sex.

5. Learning, Memory and Speed Behavior — Explores what happens to our mental capacities as we age. Techniques used to maintain and augment mental functioning are examined. Elders explain why lifelong learning is crucial.

6. Intellect, Personality and Mental Health —  Examines intellectual function and the nature of personality. Gerontologists describe longitudinal and cross-sectional research designs to study intellect and personality over the lifespan. Elders discuss mental health and stress-reduction techniques.

7. Social Roles and Relationships in Old Age — Looks at how family, friendship, work and leisure roles evolve as we age. Elders discuss coping with role losses resulting from retirement or death of a loved one. The pioneering of new roles is explored.

8. Family and Intergenerational Relationships — Profiles older people as spouses and grandparents and looks at how elders help sustain family traditions and culture. Older adults describe the satisfaction and stress of caring for spouses and frail parents.

9. Work, Retirement and Economic Status — Explores labor force trends, early retirement and new job opportunities for older workers. Retirees describe community service and leisure activities. Social Security, pensions and other income sources are discussed.

10. Illness and Disability — Examines chronic health problems and availability of supportive services. Older people discuss how they cope with physical and mental illness and face tough decisions regarding institutionalization and costs of long-term care.

11. Dying, Death and Bereavement — Discusses the services older people need to deal with dying and death. Elders describe their views on widowhood and management of grief. Experts examine the ethical dilemmas posed by terminal illness.

12. Societal and Political Aspects of Aging — Considers individual and governmental responsibilities for the health care and financial support of older citizens. Experts and elders examine the political clout of advocacy groups, older women and minority elders.

13. The Future of Aging — Explores generational conflicts, resource needs of a growing population of elders and the role of technology in improving quality of life for older adults. Experts describe how aging will be different in the twenty-first century.

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