active euthanasia Also known as assisted suicide, occurs
when a physician, close friend, or relative helps an ill or disabled person
terminate his or her life.
active life expectancy Measure of the number of years a person
can expect to live without a disability.
activities of daily living (ADL) Measure of need for help
with basic functions such as eating, bathing, dressing, getting to and from
the bathroom, getting in and out of bed, and walking.
activity theory A theory of aging which states that the psychological
and social needs of the elderly are no different from those of the middle-aged
and that it is neither normal nor natural for older people to become isolated
and withdrawn; also called the implicit theory of aging.
adaptation A range of behaviors to meet demands; includes
developing habits to confront problems and manage frustration and anxiety.
adverse mortality selection process Those who are at high
risk of contracting life-threatening diseases die earlier, leaving a group of
relatively healthy survivors.
age cohort Refers to people who were born at the same time
and thus share similar life experiences.
age discrimination Negative behavior toward older people;
acting on the basis of stereotypes.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) Banned
discrimination against workers aged 40 to 65; made it illegal for employers
to fire, demote, or reduce the salary of older workers without showing good
age effect A difference due to chronological age or life
age grade Use of age as a social category to group people
by status-the expectations for when the transition from one role to another
age integration theory a theory that recognizes that societies
have both age-segregated and age-integrated institutions can either impede or
enhance the participation of the aged.
ageism A systematic stereotyping of and discrimination against
people because they are old.
age norm Informal rules, which specify age-appropriate roles
age stratification theory Underlying proposition is that
all societies group people into social categories and that these groupings provide
people with social identities; age is one principle of ranking, along with wealth,
gender, and race.
age structure The distribution of people across various age
age 30 transition One of Levinson's developmental periods
of adulthood; major tasks in this period are establishing a niche in society
and developing competence in a chosen craft and then working at succeeding.
age timetable Similar to age norms but looser and more flexible;
informal rules, which specify age-appropriate roles and behavior.
aging in place The natural aging of an area as the members
of the population grow old; often accompanied by the out-migration of young
adults; also refers to when elderly people live at home or in a community setting
rather than in a nursing home.
almshouse An institution for the poor.
Alzheimer's disease Severe organic deterioration of the brain
that affects memory, cognitive functions, and personality to a degree sufficient
to interfere with normal activities and social functioning; symptoms include
impairment of memory, intellect, judgment, and orientation and excessive or
shallow emotions; the most common type of dementia.
American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) The largest
senior organization and the largest voluntary organization in the United States;
lobbies actively on behalf of senior issues.
angina Chest pain that may precede a heart attack.
aphasia Involves damage to the speech and language centers
in the brain; one of the consequences of a stroke; occurs when the brain is
deprived of oxygen; patients may be unable to produce meaningful speech or to
understand spoken or written language.
arthritis A chronic disease that causes joint inflammation
and its consequences of pain, swelling, and deformity.
assisted living facility A type of housing that includes
assistance with daily activities and 24-hour oversight; caters to a more affluent
clientele than board and care homes; usually provides private rooms and baths
or small apartments, social and recreational facilities, and individualized
basal cell carcinoma Common type of skin cancer; easily
bean pole family structure The phenomenon of four or five
generations of a family surviving at one time.
bloc voting When individuals vote as a group on the basis
of some characteristic such as age.
board and care home A facility that provides meals and assistance
in basic activities of daily living; ranges from small, unlicensed rooms in
a residential setting to hotel-like arrangements housing 200 or more residents.
bridge jobs Jobs that span the period between full-time employment
in a career job and permanent retirement.
capitation A payment system in which a health maintenance
organization receives a flat monthly fee for each patient in the system regardless
of what services are performed.
caregiver burden Difficulty in managing the specific tasks
to be performed in caring for the frail elderly.
caregiver stress The subjective appraisal of the strain on
cataract A condition in which the lens of the eye becomes
cloudy, and light cannot penetrate.
central nervous system The brain and spinal cord.
cerebellum A brain structure involved in body movements and,
to some degree, balance; located at the back and base of the brain; essential
in the fine-tuning of voluntary and involuntary muscular movements.
child dependency ratio The number of persons younger than
18 relative to those of working age.
chronic disease Condition for which there is no cure.
chronological age Number of years a person has lived.
classic aging pattern Age-related declines in verbal and
performance intelligence among people 60 or older.
climacteric The syndrome of physical and psychological changes
that occur in midlife.
clinical depression A set of symptoms that includes depressed
mood, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance,
fatigue, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, difficulties in thinking and concentration,
psychomotor disturbances, and suicidal notions.
cognitive psychology The study of mental processes.
cohort The aggregate of individuals who experienced the same
event within the same time interval.
cohort aging The continuous advancement of a cohort from
one age category to another over its life span.
cohort effect A difference due to the experiences or characteristics
of the particular cohort to which an individual belongs.
companionate grandparenting Grandparents who focus on emotionally
satisfying, leisure-time activities and report an easygoing, friendly style
of interaction with their grandchildren.
compression of morbidity thesis The theory that improvements
in health care and prevention will compress the years that an individual will
be disabled into the last few years of the life span.
continuing care retirement community (CCRC) A planned retirement
community that provides a continuum of housing arrangements and services ranging
from independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing care.
continuity theory A more formal elaboration of activity theory;
uses a life course perspective to define normal aging and to distinguish it
from pathological aging.
convergence theory A theory of aging that views old age as
a great leveler, which reduces inequality that was evident at earlier stages
of the life course.
convoy model of social relations A theoretical model stating
that each person moves through life surrounded by a group of people to whom
he or she is related through the exchange of social support; dynamic and lifelong
coping A state of compatibility between the individual and
the environment so that the individual maintains a sense of well-being or satisfaction
with quality of life.
coronary bypass surgery A procedure to reduce block-age of
the blood vessels supplying the heart.
cost-of-living adjustment Automatic yearly increase in Social
Security that is linked to inflation.
countertransition A life course transition produced by the
role changes of others.
creativity A measure of divergent thinking; the production
of alternative solutions to a problem or situation; most elusive mental process
to define and measure.
crisis theory A theory that views the occupational role as
the major source of personal validation; perceives the loss of the work role
as a wrenching experience that deprives the individual of a job, status, and
a meaningful role in society.
cross-linkage theory of aging A theory of biological aging;
states that the accumulation of cross-linked collagen is responsible for many
changes associated with aging such as the loss of elasticity of the skin, hardening
of the arteries of the circulatory system, and stiffness of joints throughout
cross-sectional research Research comparing people of different
age cohorts at a single point in time.
crowded nest The trend of young adults returning to the parental
crystallized intelligence Intelligence based on the information,
skills, and strategies that people have learned through experience; reflects
accumulated past experience and socialization.
deeds of gift Contracts specifying obligations owed to parents
by children in return for inheritance of family property; found in colonial
deferred exchange strategies Exchanges between individuals
over the life course.
defined benefit A pension plan in which the benefit level
is based on years of service and prior earnings; a specified amount that is
guaranteed when a worker reaches a given age.
defined contribution A pension benefit based on the amount
that has accumulated in the account, including contributions plus any gains
or losses from investments, expenses, or forfeitures; a savings account with
certain tax advantages.
dementia A form of mental illness that mainly occurs in old
demographic transition The shift from high mortality and
fertility to low mortality and fertility that causes population aging; occurs
in three stages.
demography The study of the basic population processes of
fertility, mortality, and migration.
diagnostic measure A medical diagnosis of a disease.
diagnostic-related groups A cost-control measure in Medicare;
sets a rate for a patient who is admitted to the hospital with a particular
diagnosis; contains costs by setting reimbursement rates in advance rather than
letting doctors and hospitals set their own rates and fees.
Disability Insurance A monthly benefit provided to disabled
workers younger than age 65; to be eligible for DI, a worker must be insured
by Social Security by having worked 10 years and be unable to engage in any
substantial gainful activity because of a mental or physical impairment.
disengagement theory The first formal theory of aging; the
view that normal aging involves a natural and inevitable mutual withdrawal or
disengagement, resulting in decreasing interaction between an aging person and
dual entitlement A term that describes the benefits of an
individual who is eligible for a Social Security benefit as a worker and an
additional benefit as a spouse.
early adulthood One of Levinson's developmental periods
of adulthood; ages 17 to 45.
early adult transition One of Levinson's developmental stages;
the era when childhood draws to a close; the developmental tasks are to begin
forming an adult identity and to separate from one's family of origin.
early retirement age The age of eligibility for reduced Social
Security benefits, presently set at 62.
early retirement incentive program (ERIP) Special pension
provisions that allow workers to retire early even if they are ineligible for
benefits under regular eligibility rules.
earnings test A limit on earnings for workers 62 to 65 that
determines amount of Social Security benefits received.
echo boomers The generation of Americans born between 1977
economic part-time work Part-time workers who are unable
to find full-time jobs.
EET regime Refers to the tax treatment of contributions to
pension funds; pension funds are exempt (E) from taxation, the pension savings
are exempt (E) from taxation, and benefits are taxed (T) as they are withdrawn
elderly dependency ratio The number of persons aged 65 or
older per 100 persons of working age.
Elizabethan poor laws A system of local government and local
responsibility for the poor; established criteria for local welfare programs.
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) A law passed
by Congress in 1974 to regulate private pensions; required companies to establish
minimum vesting standards, to set stringent funding requirements, and to establish
methods for reporting plan benefits and finances to workers.
empty nest Period when a couple is alone together following
the departure of children from the home.
encoding A stage of memory when information that is learned
is stored for later use.
entitlement crisis The perception that entitlement spending
is causing the federal deficit, consuming a disproportionate share of the federal
budget, and crowding out funds for other social needs.
entitlements Benefits governed by formulas set in law and
not subject to annual appropriations by Congress; people who meet the eligibility
criteria automatically receive the benefits.
epidemiologic transition A shift in the proportion of deaths
among the young and the elderly; accompanies the demographic transition; signifies
a change in the leading causes of death from infectious diseases to chronic
erectile dysfunction The inability to maintain an erection
sufficient for penetration or sexual intercourse.
euthanasia The act of killing or permitting the death of
a hopelessly sick or injured individual in a painless way as an act of mercy.
exchange theory A theory that social interaction between
individuals is based on rational calculations and that people seek to maximize
their rewards from these exchanges and minimize their costs; exchange theorists
argue that interaction between the old and the young decreases, because older
people have fewer resources to bring to the exchange.
expansive women One of Apter's types of midlife women; these
women sought fundamental change in their lives in midlife.
extended family The network of familial relationships, including
grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews outside the nuclear
extended family household Household consisting of several
generations, usually parents, their adult children, and their grandchildren.
eye blink classical conditioning The reflex that makes an
individual blink when air is blown into the eye.
family life cycle The life course stages of the nuclear
fee-for-service A system of reimbursement for health care
costs in which physicians set the fees and payments are based on the treatment
received; patients have an unrestricted choice of physicians.
feminist theory The central purpose is to illuminate the
gendered nature of society; gender relations are the main subject matter;
notions of masculinity and femininity are seen as socially constructed; emphasis
is on the different ways aging is experienced by men and women.
fertility rate A measure of the incidence of births or the
inflow of new lives into a population.
filial piety The Japanese tradition of respect and reverence
for the elderly.
financial assets total wealth minus the value of a home and
other real estate assets.
fiscal welfare Indirect payments to individuals through the
flexible employment A type of employment where workers do
not become a part of a firm's permanent workforce but rather are hired to do
a specific job on a part-time or temporary basis.
fluid intelligence Refers to reasoning, memory, and information-processing
skills; involves the ability to devise novel solutions to unforseen problems;
required to identify relationships and to draw inferences on the basis of that
frail elderly Older people who depend on others for carrying
out their daily activities; they show some mental or physical deterioration
and need care from family members.
free radical theory of aging A theory of biological aging;
the view that free radicals contribute to the aging process by forming age pigment
and by producing cross-links.
functional age A definition of age based on how people look
and what they can do; in functional terms, a person becomes old when he or she
can no longer perform the major roles of adulthood.
functional status A measure of the extent to which a chronic
health problem, either physical or mental, produces a behavioral change in a
person's capacity to perform the necessary tasks for daily living so that the
help of another person is required.
gender neutrality An approach that emphasizes reformulating
laws in gender-neutral terms.
gender recognition An approach that presumes that gender
equality can only be achieved by taking into account the differences between
men and women and taking measures to compensate the disadvantaged sex.
gender splitting A term used by Levinson to characterize
women's life course transitions; takes one of four forms, including the splitting
of the domestic sphere and the public sphere as domains for men and women, the
presence of the traditional marriage enterprise and the split it creates between
the female homemaker and the male provider, the splitting of women's work and
men's work, and the splitting of masculine and feminine in the individual psyche.
generation A term applied to studies of family processes;
refers to kinship links.
generational equity The view that there is a political trade-off
between meeting the needs of the young and the old, that the flow of resources
to the elderly has been inequitable, and that this issue will create intergenerational
genetic control theory of aging A theory of biological aging;
the view that the life span is programmed into the genes.
gerontocracy A community ruled by the aged.
gerontology The scientific study of the biological, psychological,
and social aspects of aging.
glaucoma A serious condition that can lead to blindness;
occurs when fluid cannot leave the anterior cavity of the eye through the normal
channels; pressure builds up within the eye, gradually destroying vision.
grandparent career The life course pattern to grandparent-grandchild
gray lobby The organizations that represent the interests
of the aged.
health behavior Activity undertaken by an individual to
promote good health and prevent illness.
health lifestyle A pattern of behavior based on choices and
options that are available to people according to their life situations; includes
behaviors that directly affect health care, such as having checkups and complying
with prescribed treatment as well as decisions about smoking, food, exercise,
personal hygiene, alcohol use, and risky behaviors like unprotected sex.
health maintenance organization (HMO) A health insurance
plan run by a financial officer; a group of physicians belong to the HMO and
the services provided are monitored by administrators to achieve efficiency
and control costs; individuals who are insured through an HMO do not have an
unrestricted choice of physicians but rather must choose among doctors contracted
by the HMO.
home and community-based services (HCBS) A range of services
provided to the aged in the home; includes personal care such as bathing, dressing,
feeding, and grooming, housekeeping, grocery shopping, transportation, medical
services, bill paying, and case management.
Home and Community-Based Waiver Services Program (HCBS) An
alternative to nursing home care; a program that allows states to provide the
poor and the disabled with a variety of services, including homemaker services,
respite care, day care, meals-on-wheels, physical therapy, and help with chores.
hormone replacement therapy A treatment to eliminate the
physical symptoms of menopause and to provide protection against heart disease
hospice A place where the terminally ill are allowed to die
easily and at peace; an alternative to the medical, scientific model of dying;
central component of hospice philosophy is pain management.
hypertension High blood pressure.
hypertensive cardiovascular disease Hyper-tension leading
to a heart attack.
immediate exchange strategies Exchanges between individuals
in goods and services at one point in time.
immune function theory of aging A biological theory of aging
based on two discoveries: (1) protective immune reactions decline with age,
with the body becoming less capable of producing sufficient quantities and kinds
of antibodies, and (2) the aging immune system mistakenly produces antibodies
against normal body proteins, leading to a loss of self-recognition; as the
immune system becomes less efficient, normal aging occurs.
independent living living in one's own home; the main living
arrangement of older people in the United States.
Individual Retirement Account (IRA) Way of using the tax
code to encourage people to save for retirement; individuals are allowed to
put money into special retirement accounts without paying taxes on the income
or the earnings.
industrialization Process of transforming an agricultural
economy into an industrial one; predominant characteristics include production
by machine rather than by hand, involvement of an increasing proportion of the
workforce in manufacturing, the concentration of production in large factories,
rapid population increase, and urbanization.
innovative women One of Apter's types of midlife women; women
who were pioneers in a men's world.
instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) Measure of
need for help with such activities as keeping track of money, doing light housework,
taking medicine, and running errands.
intelligence A measure of intellectual ability.
interest groups Organizations that lobby politicians to take
certain actions; may support candidates running for office by informing their
members that a certain candidate favors or opposes an issue of importance to
them and urging members to vote accordingly.
intergenerational solidarity A measure of family closeness
that includes the frequency of interaction, the amount of interaction, the amount
of positive sentiment about family members, the level of agreement about values
and beliefs, the degree to which services are exchanged, and the amount of geographical
involved grandparenting style Grandparents who take an active
role in rearing their grandchildren; frequently they behave more like parents
than grandparents; see grandchildren daily, often because they are living with
joint and survivor annuities Type of pension arrangement
for married employees in which the worker takes a reduced pension for life and
the spouse receives a 50 percent survivor's pension; both husband and wife may
agree, in writing, to waive the survivor pension.
joint retirement A husband and wife retire at the same time.
Kansas City Study of Adult Life A series of studies designed
to identify how people adjusted to normal aging processes; the studies coupled
an emphasis on adjustment with measures of social role performance across the
Keys Amendment First attempt to regulate board and care homes;
required states to establish and enforce standards for homes serving residents
who receive SSI.
learning The process of acquiring knowledge and skills.
lentigo The discoloration or spotting that commonly appears
on the face, back of hands, and forearms of people 50 or older.
life course The interaction between historical events, personal
decisions, and individual opportunities; experiences early in life affect subsequent
life course framework An approach to the study of aging that
combines the study of the changing age structure with the aging experiences
life expectancy The average number of years people in a given
population can expect to live; the mean age at death; a measure of the combined
outcome of many births and deaths calculated by taking the sum of the ages of
death of all individuals in a given population and dividing it by the number
of people in that population.
life review The process of reminiscing about one's experiences.
life span The longest number of years any member of a species
has been known to survive.
living will Document in which an individual can specify his
or her wishes for treatment in advance in case he or she should become terminally
long-term care The range of services and supportive living
environments that help the elderly and disabled live independently; also refers
to institutional care for those who need more extensive help.
long-term memory The permanent storage site for past experiences;
involves the ability to recall distant people and events; helps people make
meaningful connections between the past and the present.
malignant melanoma Dangerous skin cancer, which can metastasize
and send cancerous cells to other parts of the body.
managed care A form of health care organization; decisions
are made by a financial officer.
mandatory retirement The practice of forcing workers to retire
at a given age.
means-test Eligibility requirement for social benefits that
is usually set quite low and accompanied by social stigma; only the very poor
are able to qualify for benefits.
median net worth The total value of all assets (e.g., a house,
other property, personal savings) minus any debts.
Medicaid Enacted in 1965; a program of health insurance for
the poor; pays a large share of nursing home costs.
Medicare Enacted in 1965; a national health insurance program
for all people 65 or older who are eligible for Social Security; granted as
an automatic right to all qualified workers and their spouses.
Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988 Would have provided
extensive benefits; represented the largest expansion of the Medicare program
since 1965; repealed three months after it was enacted.
Medicare Part A Hospital insurance paid for through payroll
Medicare Part B An optional program that pays for 80 percent
of the cost of physician office visits.
Medigap policies Insurance policies that pay for health care
expenses not covered by Medicare.
memory The retention or storage of knowledge.
menopause The permanent cessation of the menstrual cycle.
middle adulthood One of Levinson's developmental stages;
lasts from age 40 to 65 following midlife transition.
middle-old People aged 75 to 84.
midlife transition One of Levinson's developmental stages;
terminates the era of early adulthood.
migration The movement of people across borders.
migratory stream The migration of people from one region
to another, such as the movement of older people to the Sun Belt.
modernization theory The view that nations can be placed
on a continuum from least developed to most developed, according to such indicators
as the level of industrialization or the degree of urbanization, with those
exhibiting certain qualities of social structure termed modern; basic
premise is that the aged were revered in the past and that modernization has
caused the status of the aged to decline.
mortality rate The incidence of death in a population.
motor nerves They carry outgoing information from the central
nervous system to muscles and glands throughout the body.
Motor Voter Bill Requires all states to allow people to register
to vote when they apply for driver's licenses or at any number of other designated
National Association of Retired Federal Employees An organization
concerned primarily with issues of interest to retired federal employees.
National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare A
senior organization founded in 1982; has diverse membership of more than five
million members; played a key role in killing the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage
Act of 1988.
National Council of Senior Citizens (NCSC) An organization
of retired trade union members; has a liberal Democratic bias.
neurons Brain cells that carry information throughout the
body in the form of electrical signals.
new ageism A tendency to patronize and be overly solicitous
to the elderly.
normal retirement age The age of eligibility for full Social
Security benefits, presently 65; will rise to 67 in the twenty-first century.
nuclear family The family unit consisting of husband, wife,
nuclear family household Household composed solely of parents
and their children.
nursing home An institutional setting where long-term care
to the frail and disabled elderly is provided.
Old Age Assistance Part of the Social Security Act of 1935;
jointly funded and administered by the states and the federal government; converted
to SSI in 1972; provided income for the aged poor who had not earned the right
to Social Security benefits.
Older Americans Act Passed in 1965; provides a number of
services intended to enhance independent living, including congregate meals,
personal care and nursing services, day care, chore services, and meals-on-wheels.
oldest-old People 85 or older.
ombudsmen program Watchdogs that monitor the quality of care
in nursing homes by investigating complaints by families and residents against
facilities, reporting complaints to other regulatory agencies, gathering information,
and meeting with those involved in disputes.
osteoporosis Disease that causes the outside walls of the
bone to become thinner and the inner part of the bone to become spongy; in the
later stages, symptoms include a loss of height, back pain, and a curving of
the upper back or spine, sometimes called a dowager's hump where spinal bones
weaken and slowly collapse under the weight of the upper bones.
out-relief Direct grants of aid to the poor.
Parkinson's disease A chronic brain disorder that may occur
as early as age 30 but is more commonly diagnosed among people 60 or older;
signs include a slowing of movement, a stooped posture with the head forward,
elbows flexed, a shuffling gait, slurred speech, and a noticeable tremor.
passive euthanasia Involves withholding or withdrawing medical
treatment to the hopelessly ill.
payroll tax A tax levied on workers and employers to fund
social insurance programs; also defined as a contribution to a social insurance
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) The federal agency
that assumes responsibility for paying the promised pension benefits owed by
firms if a terminated pension plan has insufficient funds to meet its obligations
to the workers.
pension-splitting A practice in which a pension becomes part
of a divorce decree.
performance anxiety A psychological syndrome in which a man
becomes anxious about his ability to achieve an erection.
period effect The impact of an historical event on the people
who live through it.
peripheral nervous system All parts of the nervous system
except the brain and the spinal cord; includes the spinal nerves that arise
from the spinal cord.
plateau phase Second stage of sexual response cycle, in which
maximum level of sexual arousal is attained.
political economy theory A theory that old age is socially
constructed and created through power struggles; highlights the structural influences
on aging and emphasizes the relevance of power relationships for understanding
how the aged are defined and treated.
population aging Occurs when the proportion of older people
relative to younger generations increases; a term that refers to an increase
in the proportion of people 65 or older.
population pyramid A bar chart that reflects the distribution
of a population by age and sex
postfall syndrome The
fear of falling in the elderly who have had a prior fall.
presbycusis Normal loss of hearing with age.
presbyopia An inability of the eye to focus on near objects.
primary caregiver Person who takes basic responsibility for
caring for elderly; tends to be a daughter.
primogeniture The inheritance practice in which a father
passes his property on to one child, usually the eldest son.
privatization The reduction of government responsibility
and an increase in the responsibility of individuals for their own welfare;
the taking over of government functions by the private sector.
progressive taxes A method for calculating tax liabilities
based on the premise that the higher one's income, the higher the tax rate.
prospective payment system Instituted a schedule to determine
payments for hospital bills of Medicare recipients; estimates what the cost
of an average patient with a specific diagnosis would be and how long that patient
would need to remain hospitalized.
prospective voting Voting for a candidate on the basis of
promises made during a campaign.
protestors One of Apter's types of midlife women; had faced
early responsibilities that constrained their first years of adulthood; sought
ways to develop the spontaneity they had missed earlier.
psychologic fatigue Monotony in sexual activity that becomes
patterned and routine.
qualitative research Based on open-ended interviews and
observation of behavior.
quantitative research Relies on numerical summaries of the
responses of many people and reports the results in statistical form.
race crossover Among
the oldest-old, the mortality rate for African Americans falls below that of
rational choice theory The theory that individual behavior
and attitudes are rationally calculated to further an individual's self-interest.
reality orientation A form of therapy often used in nursing
homes with Alzheimer's patients; patients are continuously reminded of their
names, the date, and current events.
regressive taxes A method for calculating tax liabilities
where lower-income people are taxed at the same or a higher rate than affluent
remote grandparenting Grandparents who see their grandchildren
infrequently and have a relationship that is mainly ritualistic and symbolic.
replacement rate The portion of preretirement pay that is
replaced by the Social Security benefit.
restrictive covenants The practice of banning people from
neighborhoods on the basis of race, religion, or ethnic origin.
retirement contracts Detailed contracts between parents and
children regarding the parents' rights and the children's responsibilities;
found in agricultural societies.
Retirement Equity Act of 1984 (REA) Protected the pension
rights of a spouse in the event of the death of the worker or of divorce.
retrospective voting The withholding of votes from a candidate
on the basis of a judgment of past performance.
reverse mortgages Plans to pay for long-term care or other
needs in old age by selling the individual's home equity back to a bank in exchange
for a monthly stipend.
rheumatoid arthritis Inflammation of the synovial membranes,
which line the joint capsule and the cartilage that covers the bones.
role The expected behaviors associated with a given status;
also a status and the behaviors associated with it.
role allocation The processes by which roles are assigned
to individuals and the dynamics of role entry and exit.
role conflict An inability to meet competing demands of two
or more roles; occurs when two or more roles are partially or wholly incompatible.
role reversal Reversal of parent-child role, with the child
becoming the decision maker.
role transition Refers to the role changes individuals make
as they leave school, take a job, get married, have children, or retire.
self-concept The organized and integrated perception of
self; consists of such aspects as self-esteem, self-image, beliefs, and personality
study of the biological processes that cause mental and physical decline in
senile purpura Purple bruises; sites where fragile blood
vessels have ruptured.
senior centers Community-based facilities that provide meals
and offer social activities for older people.
sensory nerves Peripheral nerves that carry incoming messages
from the environment to the central nervous system.
sequential retirement A husband and wife retire in sequence,
with either the husband or the wife retiring first while the other continues
sex ratio The ratio of males to females; determined by the
number of males relative to females at birth and by different survival rates
over the life course.
sexual response cycle Four phases of sexual arousal.
shared housing Program to place elderly homeowners with younger
individuals who perform services in exchange for housing.
short-term memory Working memory; a limited capacity system
that keeps memory in consciousness; only lasts a few seconds.
Single room occupancy hotel (SRO) Apartment dwellings or
old hotels, often in dilapidated inner city neighborhoods
social assistance A type of social benefit; contains eligibility
criteria designed to encourage the able-bodied poor to work; derived from the
sixteenth-century British system of poor relief.
social clock The age norms that provide a prescriptive timetable,
which orders major life events.
social constructionism Sociological tradition that places
individual intentions, motivations, and actions at the center of social theory;
view that human beings are active creators of their own social reality.
social gerontology The study of the social aspects of aging.
social insurance Basic purpose of social insurance is to
provide economic security over the life course and to prevent people from falling
into destitution; distinguished from social assistance in that people contribute
to a common pool and share risks; contributors earn the right to benefits.
social movements Collectivities of people organized to promote
or resist change; typically they operate outside the political mainstream.
social role A set of expectations or guidelines for people
who occupy a given position or status, such as widow, grandfather, or retiree.
Social Security Old-age insurance; public pension system
for retired workers who have made payroll tax contributions; also includes benefits
for the disabled, widows, and spouses.
Social Security Act of 1935 The
first federal welfare legislation for workers; initiated the American welfare
state; included programs for retired workers, the unemployed, and dependent
Social Services Block Grant Grants provided by the federal
government to the states for a range of social services.
social support system The network of relatives, friends,
and organizations that provide both emotional support, such as making the individual
feel loved or comforted, and instrumental support, which refers to help in managing
activities of daily living.
somatic mutation theory of aging A biological theory of aging
that genetic damage causes aging of cells and tissues.
somewhat impaired elderly People who are beginning to experience
chronic ailments and need some assistance from family or community service agencies.
spouse benefit A Social Security benefit paid to the spouse
of a retired worker that is equal to 50 percent of the worker's benefit.
stages of dying Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's five stages include
denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
stem family An arrangement whereby parents live with one
of their married children, usually the oldest son, who then inherits the family
stereotypes A composite of ideas and beliefs attributed to
people as a group or social category.
stroke A rupture or obstruction of a blood vessel to the
brain that damages brain tissue; symptoms include memory deficits, emotional
liability, and depression.
structural lag A perspective that asserts that there is a
mismatch between societal needs and individual opportunities; occurs because
of age-differentiated structures dictating that education is for youth, work
for people in middle age, and leisure for the old.
subculture theory A theory that people who share similar
interests, problems, and concerns will form a subculture; the aged are believed
to have a positive affinity for each other.
subjective age identity How people subjectively define their
age; most important factors in determining subjective age identity are activity
level and health.
successful aging The attainment of peak physical and psychological
functioning and participation in rewarding social activities.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) A federal means-tested,
social assistance program for the aged, blind, and disabled poor.
support bank The exchanges made between members of the social
support network over the life course.
supportive housing A variety of group-housing options that
include assistance with activities of daily living; designed to help residents
stay in one place and avoid or delay the need for institutional care.
suttee A form of widow sacrifice.
survivor's benefit A Social Security benefit payable to the
widow or widower of a deceased worker; equal to 100 percent of the worker benefit.
symbolic politics theory Presumes that behavior and attitudes
are more strongly linked to personal beliefs than to material interests.
tax expenditure Special income tax provisions that are implemented
through the tax code; designed to accomplish some social or economic goal.
temperament A person's characteristic, biologically based,
emotional style of approaching and reacting to people and situations.
theory of cumulative disadvantage A theory that people who
begin life with greater resources continue to have opportunities to accumulate
more of them while those who begin with few resources fall further behind.
theory of intergenerational solidarity A theory that geographic
arrangements will be adjusted over time to reflect the changing needs and resources
of different generations.
total dependency ratio The combined ratio of children and
older people to workers.
total institution Central features are a breakdown of the
normal barriers that separate the main spheres of life-sleep, work, and play-and
the handling of many human needs by a bureaucratic organization.
Townsend movement The first major social movement consisting
primarily of older people; founded in 1933; named after its founder, Dr. Francis
Townsend; dedicated to enacting the Townsend plan, a proposal to give all people
aged 65 or older a pension of $150 a month.
traditional women One of Apter's types of midlife women;
stayed within the conventional feminine framework and defined themselves in
terms of their family roles.
trait theory A theory that everyone has most personality
traits to some degree, but that everyone also has a core group of traits that
define his or her personality; defining traits include five major factors: neuroticism,
extroversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.
transition Refers to the shifts in roles that occur over
the life course.
trajectory A series of transitions such as education, work
vascular dementia A common form of dementia; results from
the cumulative effect of a number of small strokes, which eventually impair
brain functioning; symptoms include blackouts, heart problems, kidney failure,
veneration An attitude toward the aged that emphasizes respect,
honor, obligation, and deference; also, a feeling of religious awe and reverence
that approaches a form of worship.
verticalization The increase in family linkages between preceding
and subsequent generations because of increased life expectancy coupled with
vested State of having enough years of service to qualify
for a pension benefit.
vesting rules These specify a minimum number of years a worker
is required to be employed by a firm to be eligible for a pension.
voluntary part-time work Part-timer workers who do not wish
to work full-time.
voter turnout The number of registered voters who actually
vote in a given election.
wealth All financial assets including a home and other real
wear and tear theory of aging A theory of biological aging;
views the body as similar to a machine, like an old car or truck, that simply
welfare state The combination of social programs that protect
people from the risks of loss of income due to unemployment, disability, divorce,
poor health, or retirement.
well elderly People who are healthy and active, involved
in social and leisure activities, often employed or busy with volunteer work,
still carrying out family responsibilities, and fully engaged in the life of
White House Conference on Aging Conferences held every 10
years to present grievances and proposals on issues of interest to older people;
way to present issues to the president at an officially recognized forum.
wisdom The acquisition of practical expertise in everyday
young-old People 65 to 74.