Social Sciences

Aging and Milieu. Environmental Perspectives on Growing Old by Graham D. Rowles

By Graham D. Rowles

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What evil calculating punster invented the foul pun Golden Age dubbing drab decades with an era's gjioried name tempted the multigenarian to gulp pernicious pill destined to end in a bad trip? —LELAND (by HART permission) TAYLOR 3. Developmental Phénoménologies of the Life Cycle 37 Why do Leland's many friends, who love his obscene limericks, refuse to listen to this poem, and sing "Happy Birthday" to him as though he will live forever? The easy answer is that if we allow ourselves to hear what we are being told so clearly, we must recognize that we are being asked to accept, even to share, the proximity of death.

Six years ago, Robert Kastenbaum wrote to me that the International Journal of Aging and Human Development had accepted my article "Leland: A Love Story" for publication and in so doing would become the first gerontology journal to lose its mailing privileges and gain an X-rating. That article was a portrait, not of a man, but of a relationship. The man still lives, but a portion of the relationship has died, and in this chapter I shall chronicle the small deaths, of individuals and processes, which have occurred over 29 AGING AND M I L I E U : ENVIRONMENTAL PERSPECTIVES ON G R O W I N G O L D Copyright © 1 9 8 3 by Academic Press, Inc.

A basic distinction was made by Ragheb and Beard (1980) between the satisfaction gained from performing an activity and the satisfaction gained from the consequences of having performed the activity; Neulinger (1974) terms this duality the "final versus instrumental" attribute of an activity. Empirically the two attributes are often impossible to distinguish. If people are asked simply to indicate how much they enjoy an activity, the evaluation may reflect the affect experienced in the doing, the immediate postactivity evaluation, and/or a more cognitively determined evaluation of that activity in terms of its instrumental value in attaining some more distal goal.

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