Ageing is an activity we are familiar with from an early age. In our younger years upcoming birthdays are anticipated with an excitement that somewhat diminishes as the years progress. As we grow older we are bombarded with advice on ways to overcome, thwart, resist, and, on the rare occasion, embrace, one's ageing. Have all human beings from the various historical epochs and cultures viewed aging with this same ambivalence?
In this Very Short Introduction Nancy A. Pachana discusses the lifelong dynamic changes in biological, psychological, and social functioning involved in ageing. Increased lifespans in the developed and the developing world have created an urgent need to find ways to enhance our functioning and well-being in the later decades of life, and this need is reflected in policies and action plans addressing our ageing populations from the World Health Organization and the United Nations.
Looking to the future, Pachana considers advancements in the provision for our ageing populations, including revolutionary models of nursing home care such as Green House nursing homes in the USA and Small Group Living homes in the Netherlands. She shows that understanding the process of ageing is not only
important for individuals, but also for societies and nations, if the full potential of those entering later life is to be realised.
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Nancy A Pachana is a professor of Geropsychology at the University of Queensland, Australia. She is the co-founder and co-director of the UQ Ageing Mind Initiative, which promotes ageing research and translation into policy and practice at the University and beyond. She has an international reputation in the area of geriatric mental health, particularly with her research on late-life anxiety disorders, and her books include The Casebook of Clinical Geropsychology (OUP, 2010), The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Geropsychology (OUP, 2014) and Psychological Assessment and Therapy with Older Adults (OUP, 2015). She is co-developer of the Geriatric Anxiety Inventory, a published short self-report inventory in wide clinical and research use globally. Nancy was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia in 2014. Her main research interests include anxiety in later life, nursing home interventions and driving safety and dementia.