chapter  1
32 Pages

Theories of Aging and Later Life Development

The ›rst time I, as a clinician-in-training, sat down with an older adult client-an 80-year-old who was recovering from a stroke-I thought to myself, “What do I really know about growing old?” I was lucky enough to have spent cherished time with my grandparents and to have taken wonderful courses in aging and psychology, but I did not have an experiential understanding of aging. The longer I thought about this, the more I realized that what I did have was a personal theory of aging. I did not label it as a theory per se; rather, I thought of it as a set of beliefs. As I re¨ected on my theory, I came to understand that my personality;

the culture in which I live; my age; my education; my experiences in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood; and a number of other factors in¨uenced my theory.