Imagining old age

Jones, Rebecca L. (2011). Imagining old age. In: Katz, Jeanne; Peace, Sheila and Spurr, Sue eds. Adult lives: A life course perspective. Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 18–26.



People often seem to be reluctant to imagine that they will ever grow old themselves. Of course, at one level, we all know that, unless we die ‘young’, we will all grow ‘old’ eventually. A life course runs from birth to death and, for most people, this will include a stage of being ‘old’. But, somehow, it seems to be hard for many people to believe that they will ever really be old themselves. This chapter first examines some of the explanations that gerontologists and other scholars have given for why people often find it hard to imagine themselves being old. It then asks why it matters that people should be able to imagine their own old age. Finally, it considers some techniques which could be used by researchers and other people if they want to encourage people to think about their own old age.

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