Growing older in an ageing body

Bill Bytheway

in Unmasking age

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9781847426185
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304128 | DOI:
Growing older in an ageing body

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Both at the cultural and individual levels, growing older is something that is paradoxically both resisted and accepted as inevitable. Experience is a concept that should be fundamental in gerontology. This chapter seeks to make a clear distinction between experience of the ways of the world and the lived experience of growing older. There are several ways people interpret the ageing of their bodies and one of these is through ‘the mask of age’. The author discussed how the mirror and old photographs help to determine how people recognise and respond to signs of age and other personal characteristics. Birthdays are also central to the ways in which age is marked and celebrated. Another key element in theorising the experience of growing older is that of ‘life transformations’: ranging from bereavement to moving house to falling ill, this concept directly reflects the idea of life starting anew.

Keywords: experience; gerontology; mask of age; birthdays; life transformations

Chapter.  10659 words. 

Subjects: Gerontology and Ageing

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