By providing descriptions of the experiences of thirty rural Minnesota women, often in their own words, this timely and topical book examines the expectations, beliefs and values of the women as they grow old in rural America. A lifecourse perspective fosters a better understanding of the aging process in terms of an individual's life experiences within the context of a cultural environment. To show how various elements shaped the women's lives in later years, and to give the fullest possible descriptions, the study combines both qualitative and quantitative research of the rural elderly in Minnesota. Through their stories, the women stress the cultural, familial and personal issues that continue to be important to them as they age. They explore the elements of continuity, as well as those of change, as a part of the lifecourse. Also detailed are their insights and experiences concerning interactions with different formal and informal support networks, as well as the more general topics.
1. Formal and Informal Systems of Support: A Comparison of the United States and Denmark 2. Interpreting a Life 3. Looking to the Future 4. A Woman's Story 5. Patterns of Meaning: What Rural Lives Are Made Of 6. " Someone to Lend a Helping Hand" : Systems of Exchange and Support