This comprehensive text combines sound pedagogy with cutting-edge research issues. Coverage includes the major social, psychological, and biological perspectives on aging and old age. Rather than taking a purely problem-oriented focus, esteemed social gerontologist Elizabeth W. Markson presents both the positive and negative aspects of the aging process. Social Gerontology Today features: * A richly illustrated two-color text format. * A fresh, informal writing style that will engage and sustain student interest, blending facts with lived experiences of the phenomena. * Gender, race, ethnicity, social class, and birth cohort issues integrated throughout the text. * Current data and research to dispel myths about aging and later life. * Bridges the gap between the historical foundations of aging and the current political climate. * Policies and practices in other societies, providing students with a global perspective. * Afterword written by Stephen J. Cutler. The text is divided into four parts, each developing a major gerontological theme. Part I provides a definition and overview of the study of social gerontology--how it is studied, demographic and social characteristics of the elderly, and social theories about aging. Part II focuses on biological theories of aging, personality and cognition, mental health, and illness. Part III examines family and social relationships, sexuality and intimacy, work, retirement, leisure, economic security, public policy, politics, elders in the health care system, death/dying, and bereavement. In Part IV, Stephen J. Cutler's Afterword spotlights aging trends for the future. At the end of each chapter, students will find the following resources: listings of readily available motion pictures on the particular topic discussed, a listing of relevant and reliable websites, research articles that explore topics in greater depth, and recommended supplemental readings.