UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Gerontological knowledge and its role in the social production of agedness Auger, Jeanette A. 1983

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GERONTOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE AND ITS ROLE IN THE SOCIAL PRODUCTION OF AGEDNESS by JEANETTE A. AUGER B.A., University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1975 M.A., Unive r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1977 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Sociology We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA November, 1983 (g) Jeanette A. Auger, 1983 In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by h i s or her representatives. I t i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. Department of S o c i o l o g y  The University of B r i t i s h Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date A p r i l 2 5 , 1 9 8 4 i i A B S T R A C T A c c e p t i n g t h e p o i n t o f v i e w p u t f o r w a r d b y t h o s e s o c i o l o g i s t s w o r k i n g w i t h i n t h e f r a m e w o r k k n o w n a s t h e s o c i a l c o n s t r u c t i o n o f r e a l i t y , t h e t h e s i s a t t e m p t s t o d e s c r i b e a n d a n a l y z e t h e s o c i a l p r o d u c t i o n o f t h e p h e n o m e n o n o f o l d a g e . S p e c i f i c a l l y , i t a t t e m p t s t o e x a m i n e t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f g e r o n t o l o g i s t s — t h o s e w h o s t u d y a n d r e s e a r c h a g i n g a s a n o c c u p a t i o n . I t p o s i t s s u c h c o n s t r u c t i o n s a g a i n s t v i e w s e x p r e s s e d b y t h o s e c o n s i d e r e d " o l d . " E t h n o g r a p h i c t e c h n i q u e s o f d a t a c o l l e c t i o n , r e s p o n s e s t o q u e s t i o n n a i r e s , a u d i o t a p e s a n d a t e x t u a l a n a l y s i s o f w r i t t e n d o c u m e n t s , g a t h e r e d o v e r a s i x y e a r p e r i o d i n a v a r i e t y o f s o c i a l s e t t i n g s , p r o v i d e d m a t e r i a l s w h i c h d i s p l a y t h a t n o t i o n s o f a g i n g a r e d i f f e r e n t i a l l y c o n s t r u c t e d b y g e r o n t o l o g i s t s a n d t h e o l d . A n i n t e r a c t i v e a p p r o a c h t o a g i n g i s s u g g e s t e d i n w h i c h t h e l i v e s a n d e x p e r i e n c e s o f t h e o l d b e c o m e d a t a f o r i n q u i r y . T h e i d e o l o g i c a l b a s e o f g e r o n t o l o g y i s e x p l o r e d a n d t h e n o t i o n o f " h e l p i n g " t h e o l d i s s e e n a s a n u n d e r l y i n g o r g a n i z -a t i o n a l f a c e t . H o w i t i s i n v o k e d a s a r e s o u r c e t o l e g i t i m i z e c e r t a i n g e r o n t o l o g i c a l a c t i v i t i e s i s d e s c r i b e d , a n a l y z e d , a n d c o m p a r e d w i t h o l d e r p e r s o n s ' p e r c e p t i o n s o f t h e m s e l v e s a s b e i n g h e l p e d . T h e t h e s i s a r g u e s t h a t i f g e r o n t o l o g i s t s w i s h t o h e l p t h e a g e d t h r o u g h t h e i r r e s e a r c h , c o n s u l t a t i v e , t e a c h i n g , a n d o t h e r a c t i v i t i e s , t h e y a r e n o t s u c c e e d i n g i n t h e m o s t a p p r o p r i a t e m a n n e r a c c o r d i n g t o s o m e o l d e r i n f o r m a n t s . The t h e o r i e s of g e r o n t o l o g y a re examined as examples o f some of the i d e o l o g i c a l f o c i put fo r w a r d by i t s p r a c t i t i o n e r s . They are found t o be l a c k i n g i n b o t h t h e o r e t i c a l and p r a c t i c a l a s p e c t s . The t h e s i s c o n c l u d e s w i t h a c h a p t e r on s t r a t e g i e s f o r an a p p r o p r i a t e g e r o n t o l o g y u s i n g the c o n t r i b u t i o n s and c r i t i c i s m s of o l d e r persons and g e r o n t o l o g i s t s . Recommendations are made as t o how t o re n d e r t h i s f i e l d o f i n q u i r y more r e f l e x i v e and u s e f u l t o the o l d as s e r v i c e r e c e i v e r s as w e l l as t o members of the s o c i a l s c i e n c e s . i v TABLE OP CONTENTS PAGE NO. Abstract i i Table Of Contents iv Acknowledgements v i Preface v i i i Dedication x i CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION - THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OP AGEDNESS: 1 - The Aging Process As Everyday Knowledge 2 - Old Age As A " S c i e n t i f i c " Phenomenon 8 - Organization Of The Thesis 20 2 FRAMEWORK OP INQUIRY: 22 a) The Perspective Of The Sociology Of Knowledge Applied To Old Age - The Phenomenological Imperative 30 b) The Pieldwork Method: 37 - The Experience Of Part ic ipant Observation - The Analys is Of Written Texts And 43 Documents, Questionnaires And Interviews 3 IDEOLOGY AND THEORETICAL PRODUCTION IN GERONTOLOGY: 53 - The Soc ia l Theories Of Aging 63 - Disengagement Theory 67 - A c t i v i t y Theory 71 - Socio-Environmental Theory 75 - The Aged As A Sub-Culture 77 - The Aged As A Minor i ty Group 81 - Aging And Soc ia l Exchange 83 - Age S t r a t i f i c a t i o n Theory 85 4 THE NOTION OP HELP AS IDEOLOGY IN GERONTOLOGY: 92 - The Encouragement Of Se l f Determination 96 - The Organization Of Dependency 118 - The Old As A Soc ia l Problem 122 - Consult ing As Help 136 - Research As Root To Informed Help 139 V 5 THE BOUNDARIES OP GERONTOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE: - Science Versus Common Sense R e a l i t i e s Of Aging - Measurement Sc a l e s As I n d i c a t o r s Of S u c c e s s f u l Aging - I n t e g r a t i o n Or Segregation: The Place Of The Old - Advocacy Versus The Search For Knowledge - Knowledge For Whom? - The "Them Versus Us" Syndrome 6 EMERGENT STRATEGIES FOR AN APPROPRIATE GERONTOLOGY: - The Paradox Of T h e o r e t i c a l And P r a c t i c a l Concerns - The P o s s i b l e C o n t r i b u t i o n Of The Aged - The P o s s i b l e C o n t r i b u t i o n Of G e r o n t o l o g i s t s BIBLIOGRAPHY APPENDICES: A. Number And Percentage Of Those Over 65 In The T o t a l P o p u l a t i o n Of Canada 1901-1976 B. Cou n t r i e s With At Least Ten Percent Of T o t a l P o p u l a t i o n Aged 65 And Over C. Percentage Increase Of P o p u l a t i o n By Age Group And Area 1975-2000 D. H i s t o r i c a l Growth Of Gerontolgy: Pioneer E f f o r t s Pre 1940 E. H i s t o r i c a l Growth Of Gerontology: E a r l y Development 1940-1954 P. H i s t o r i c a l Growth Of Gerontology: Research And O r g a n i z a t i o n 1955-1964 G. H i s t o r i c a l Growth Of Gerontology: Education 1965-1974 H. H i s t o r i c a l Growth Of Gerontolgy: An Emerging D i s c i p l i n e 1975 To Present v i A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S S e v e r a l p e r s o n s h a v e a c c o m p a n i e d m e a l o n g t h e j o u r n e y l e a d i n g t o t h e c o m p l e t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s . I w o u l d l i k e t o e x p r e s s m y t h a n k s t o t h e m h e r e . E l v i W h i t t a k e r , m y t h e s i s a d v i s o r , h a s b e e n e s p e c i a l l y h e l p f u l p o i n t i n g o u t n e w d i r e c t i o n s o f e x p l o r a t i o n w h e n p a t h -w a y s s e e m e d c l o s e d . S h e a l s o s t e a l t h i l y g u i d e d m e t h r o u g h i n t e l l e c t u a l p o t h o l e s a n d o t h e r o b s t a c l e s a l o n g t h e w a y . R o y T u r n e r a n d K e n S t o d d a r t , m y o t h e r c o m m i t t e e m e m b e r s , a l s o c o n t r i b u t e d a d v i c e a n d s u p p o r t a s w e l l a s s u g g e s t i n g a l t e r n a t e p e r s p e c t i v e s f o r p l a n n i n g m y r o u t e . S i n c e r e t h a n k s t o t h e m a l l a n d t o m y a d d i t i o n a l r e a d e r s J o h n O ' C o n n o r , M a r j o r i e H a l p i n , J a m e s T h o r n t o n , a n d J u d y P o s n e r . M y f r i e n d s a n d c o l l e a g u e s , B i l l A l e x a n d e r , C h u c k B a y l e y , R o l l o B o a s , P a t F u l t o n , N o g a G a y l e , K u l d i p G i l l , F r e d G r a y s t o n , M a r y H i l l , M a r g a r e t M c M a s t e r , G a i l R i d d e l l , L i n d a T h o m p s o n , a n d B a r b a r a W i l l i a m s o n c o n t r i b u t e d t o t h e t h e s i s i n a v a r i e t y o f w a y s , p r o v i d i n g e n c o u r a g e m e n t a n d e m o t i o n a l s u s t e n a n c e a s I f o u n d m y s e l f l o s t m a n y t i m e s a l o n g t h e w a y . I a m v e r y g r a t e f u l t o t h e m a l l . T w o p e o p l e I h a v e n e v e r m e t p e r s o n a l l y b u t w h o s e w o r k h a s g r e a t l y i n f l u e n c e d m y t h i n k i n g a r e M i c h e l P h i l i b e r t o f t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f G r e n o b l e a n d C a r r o l l E s t e s o f t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f C a l i f o r n i a i n S a n F r a n c i s c o . T h e w r i t t e n w o r k o f b o t h t h e s e s c h o l a r s e n c o u r a g e d m e t o p r o c e e e d i n a r e f l e c t i v e m a n n e r t o w a r d t h e g o a l o f r e c o n c e p t u a l i z i n g t h e g e r o n t o l o g i c a l v i i enterprise as i t i s performed by others in general and myself in p a r t i c u l a r . The only thing worse than actually writing a thesis i s l i v i n g with someone else who i s . Fran Isaacs saw me go off in several d i r e c t i o n s , from excitement when I thought I had found the right path, and to depression when I found the way blocked. Throughout th i s experience her continual encourage-ment and support has helped me remain on the road. Fran not only discussed the routes of the thesis with me, she also helped e d i t , type, and photo-copy i t . She i s the one person on this l i s t of contributors of whom i t i s true to say that I could not have finished the thesis without her. v i i i P R E F A C E I f i r s t b e c a m e i n t e r e s t e d i n s t u d y i n g t h e t o p i c o f o l d a g e i n 1 9 7 5 . A s a n u n d e r g r a d u a t e s t u d y i n g s o c i a l c h a n g e , I w a s i n v o l v e d i n r e s e a r c h o n d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g p r o c e d u r e s , d o c u m e n t i n g t h e p a r t w h i c h d i f f e r e n t g r o u p s a n d i n d i v i d u a l s p l a y e d w i t h i n t h i s p r o c e s s . I w a s e s p e c i a l l y i n t e r e s t e d i n k n o w i n g w h a t i n p u t o l d e r p e r s o n s h a d i n c h o o s i n g a c t i v i t i e s o f f e r e d t h r o u g h l o c a l c o m m u n i t y c e n t r e s . I a s s u m e d t h a t d e c i s i o n s w e r e m a d e a b o u t t h e t y p e a n d f r e q u e n c y o f a c t i v i t i e s p r o v i d e d t o s e n i o r c i t i z e n s a n d t h a t t h e y , a s c o n s u m e r s o f t h e s e p r o g r a m s , w o u l d h a v e s o m e i n p u t i n t o t h i s p r o c e s s . I n g e n e r a l , I f o u n d t h a t t h i s w a s n o t t h e c a s e . P r o g r a m s w e r e c h o s e n b y a c t i v i t y c o - o r d i n a t o r s b a s e d o n w h a t t h e y t h o u g h t o l d e r p e r s o n s w o u l d l i k e t o d o , a n d t h e r e w a s l i t t l e o r n o a t t e m p t t o i n c l u d e t h e i r r e q u e s t s w i t h i n t h i s p r o c e s s . A s a r e s u l t o f m y e x p e r i e n c e s i n d o i n g t h i s p a r t i c u l a r r e s e a r c h ( A u g e r 1 9 7 6 ) I b e c a m e v e r y i n t e r e s t e d i n l e a r n i n g m o r e a b o u t t h e s o c i a l c o n d i t i o n s i n w h i c h o l d e r p e r s o n s l i v e d . I a l s o w a n t e d t h e o p p o r t u n i t y f o r f u r t h e r c o n t a c t w i t h t h e m b e c a u s e , I r e a l i z e d t h a t , u n t i l t h a t t i m e , I h a d h a d v e r y l i t t l e t o d o w i t h o l d e r p e r s o n s o t h e r t h a n m y d i r e c t f a m i l y . I a l s o r e a l i z e d t h a t I e n j o y e d t h e i r c o m p a n y , t h e s t o r i e s o f t h e i r l i v e s , a n d o u r d i s c u s s i o n s a b o u t g r o w i n g o l d e r f r o m t h e i r o w n e x p e r i e n c e a n d f r o m m i n e . I n o t h e r w o r d s , I r e c o g n i z e d w i t h t h e k i n d o f i n s i g h t t h a t o c c a s i o n a l l y s t r i k e s u s , t h a t t h e r e a r e u n e x p e c t e d s i m i l a r i t i e s i n g r o w i n g o l d e r i x r e g a r d l e s s o f a g e . A f t e r t h i s i n t i t i a l c o n t a c t , I s o u g h t more i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t t h e s o - c a l l e d " a g i n g p r o c e s s . " E v e n t u a l l y , i n t u r n I was c o n t a c t e d by l o c a l g e r o n t o l o g i s t s and a s k e d t o g i v e p a p e r s and l e a d d i s c u s s i o n s on t h e s o c i o l o g y o f a g i n g . I t was d u r i n g t h i s t i m e , f r o m 1975 t o t h e p r e s e n t , t h a t I became a c t i v e l y i n v o l v e d w i t h i n t h e f i e l d o f g e r o n t o l o g y . I t a u g h t c r e d i t and n o n - c r e d i t c o u r s e s on a v a r i e t y o f t o p i c s i n t h e s o c i o l o g y o f a g i n g ; c o n d u c t e d v a r i o u s r e s e a r c h p r o j e c t s d e a l i n g w i t h t h e o l d e r p o p u l a t i o n ( A u g e r , 1976, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1 9 8 2 ) ; p r e s e n t e d p a p e r s and r o u n d - t a b l e s e s s i o n s a t c o n f e r e n c e s and m e e t i n g s ; i n v o l v e d m y s e l f i n t h e community t h r o u g h v a r i o u s g e r o n t o l o g i c a l a s s o c i a t i o n s and s e n i o r s ' g r o u p s ; and c h a i r e d t h e c o mmittee on a g i n g o f a p r o v i n c i a l l y b a s e d s o c i a l p o l i c y a g e n c y . D u r i n g t h e s e a c t i v i t i e s , I c o n s i s t e n t l y d i d f i e l d work. These e x p e r i e n c e s , and o t h e r s , p r o v i d e t h e d a t a f o r t h i s t h e s i s , i n p a r t r e f l e c t i n g my a t t e m p t s t o make s e n s e o f t h e g e r o n t o l o g i c a l e n t e r p r i s e and t o d e a l c o g e n t l y w i t h what I had s e e n , h e a r d , and r e a d . The t h e s i s a l s o s e e k s t o i d e n t i f y p a r t o f t h e i d e o l o g i c a l b a s e o f g e r o n t o l o g y as a body o f k n o w l edge. I have used t h e s o c i o l o g y o f knowledge as a framework f o r e x a m i n i n g g e r o n t o l o g y as b o t h a body o f knowledge and as a c u l t u r e , w i t h i t s own r u l e s , s y m b o l s , and b e l i e f s . As an a c t i o n s o c i o l o g i s t I have a t t e m p t e d t o b r i n g s o c i o l o g i c a l a n a y l t i c s k i l l s t o t h e c o m m u n i t i e s where I d i d X f i e l d work. In thi s way, I participated in an inter-active process with informants to help them deal with problems. On other occasions, I was assisted by informants in formulating more appropriate questions and in c o l l e c t i n g more meaningful information. Leaving behind the notion of sociology as value free, objective and unbiased, I chose to take an action or advocacy stance — a commitment i f you w i l l — to help the old make the i r concerns more v i s i b l e , and to a s s i s t them achieve f u l l e r recognition within the communities in which they l i v e . I chose the topic of this thesis from two angles. As a soc i o l o g i s t I saw the s o c i a l construction of agedness and knowledge about i t as an important issue of inquiry which could be addressed by the sociology of knowledge. As an action s o c i o l o g i s t with aged family and friends, I saw some potential through my f i e l d work for bringing about ideas and discussions, i f not actions of change, for both gerontologists and the o l d . x i T h i s t h e s i s i s d e d i c a t e d t o t h e m e m o r y o f m y p a r e n t s B r o n i s l a v i a S l e z n i k a s A u g e r , I r e n e R a d z v i k a s A u g e r , a n d N i c h o l a s A u g e r 1 CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION - THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OP AGEDNESS A l l members of soc iety p a r t i c i p a t e in the s o c i a l produc-t i o n of agedness to one degree or another. Although old age, as a stage of l i f e can be defined pr imar i l y in terms of physiology and chronology, i t i s also interpreted in a v a r i e t y of s o c i a l ways which have to do with ro les and expectat ions, a t t i tudes and b e l i e f s , and s o c i a l i z a t i o n p r a c t i c e s . What comes to be recognized as profess iona l knowledge about old age i s also s o c i a l l y constructed. That i s , what we "know" about old age has to do with how authentic we f i n d our s o c i a l descr ipt ions of i t . Gerontologists are in the business of producing, monitoring, and disseminating a p a r t i c u l a r type of knowledge. It i s d i f f e r e n t from that constructed by lay members. One aim of t h i s thes is i s the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of what const i tutes geronto log ica l knowledge. This i s done by descr ib ing and analyzing what gerontologists say and do and how t h e i r work contr ibutes to the s o c i a l construct ion of agedness. The thes is deals with two kinds of knowledge: "expert" or pro fess iona l knowledge, that i s , gerontology on the one hand; and common sense knowledge on the other. In add i t ion , the thes is explores how common sense knowledge i s inf luenced by p r o f e s s i o n a l s . Prom a s o c i o l o g i c a l perspect ive , geronto log ica l and common sense r e a l i t i e s of aging are viewed as appropriate topics of inqu i ry . By observing rout ine ly occurr ing a c t i v i t i e s in set t ings where the topic of old age was discussed, I have 2 documented di f f e r e n t persons' perceptions of t h i s phenomenon. The framework of the s o c i a l construction of r e a l i t y has been used by s o c i o l o g i s t s to show the s o c i a l processes by which everyday events are organized so as to become meaning-f u l to pa r t i c i p a n t s . Thus ethnographers, ethnomethodologists, phenomenologists, and symbolic i n t e r a c t i o n i s t s have described various aspects of the everyday accomplishments of i n d i v i d u a l s . The Aging Process As Everyday Knowledge Aging i s a s o c i a l process by which an i n d i v i d u a l assumes various roles and behaviours throughout the l i f e cycle. Each age grade holds duties and obligations, assorted rights and p r i v i l e g e s . As Aries has pointed out, from the Middle Ages the notion of "the ages of l i f e " (1962:15-33) have been evident i n western culture. Therefore, s o c i a l concerns about behavior i n a given "stage" of l i f e p r e v a i l to organize people to act 'according to th e i r age.' Prom b i r t h to retirement, expectations are attached to schooling, work, marriage, r a i s i n g a family and so on. A l l s o c i e t i e s have rules and expectations about behaviour constituting old agedness.-L In our culture, using common sense knowledge of regularly occurring a c t i v i t i e s , we primarily use a chronological marker based upon the year of b i r t h . Seldom i s consideration given to what we c a l l the individual's " s o c i a l , " "psychological," " b i o l o g i c a l , " or 3 "emotional" states in the a t t r i b u t i o n of oldness. We a r b i t r a r i l y choose s i x t y - f i v e as the beginning of old age undoubtedly expedit ing the prov is ion of serv ices such as health care and f i n a n c i a l aid where we assume they "ought" to be needed. Throughout recent h i s t o r y , a great deal of thought has produced the dec is ion to make s i x t y - f i v e the necessary age. F i n a n c i a l subsidies for the aged, e s p e c i a l l y pensions, began in 1844 in Belgium and Holland and were r e s t r i c t e d to s o l d i e r s and c i v i l servants. Later , France too provided pensions to publ ic employees. In 1890 in Germany, Bismark proposed a program of s o c i a l insurance to protect older c i t i z e n s from poverty. At that time, "o ld" persons were those aged seventy and over. This system became e f f e c t i v e between 1890-1910 and subsequently was used in the United Kingdom in 1908. S imi lar l e g i s l a t i o n was passed in 1927 in Canada af ter years of d iscuss ion and parliamentary debate..?. S i g n i f i c a n t l y however, not a l l i nd iv idua l s aged s i x t y -f i v e and over require f i n a n c i a l subs id ies . For them, the age of s i x t y - f i v e , denoting oldness, merely embodies the negative stereotyping t h i s time of l i f e can s i g n i f y , and often seems inaccurate and p r e j u d i c i a l . Thus, mere chronology i s an inappropriate d e f i n i t i o n for the complex factors involved in any stage of l i f e . It could be argued that s o c i a l and f i n a n c i a l programs and p o l i c i e s i n i t i a l l y designed to a s s i s t , help create and 4 r e i n f o r c e i m a g e s a n d a t t i t u d e s a b o u t t h o s e r e c e i v i n g s u c h s e r v i c e s . I n a r e c e n t C a n a d i a n g o v e r n m e n t a l r e p o r t ( D e p a r t m e n t o f H e a l t h a n d W e l f a r e 1 9 8 2 ) , t h e a u t h o r s s t a t e : s i n c e 65 i s c o n s i d e r e d t h e u s u a l a g e o f r e t i r e m e n t , w h e n t e r m s s u c h a s " t h e a g i n g , " " t h e a g e d , " " s e n i o r c i t i z e n s " a n d " o l d e r p e r s o n s " a r e u s e d t h e y r e f e r t o t h o s e . . . w h o h a v e b e e n d e s i g n a t e d t h e a g i n g ( 1 9 8 2 : 4 ) . T h i s p a r t i c u l a r d o c u m e n t i s s i m i l a r t o m a n y r e p o r t s w h i c h u s e a r b i t r a r y c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s o f o l d a g e d n e s s . T h e a g e o f 6 5 , t h e " a g e o f r e t i r e m e n t " — t h e o f t e n i n v o l u n t a r y t e r m i n a t i o n o f p a i d e m p l o y m e n t — a p p e a r s t o d e s i g n a t e o l d n e s s . T h e s a m e r e p o r t a l s o p r o v i d e s a t a b l e s h o w i n g t h a t p e r s o n s a g e d s i x t y -f i v e a n d o v e r c o m p r i s e 28% o f t h e C a n a d i a n l a b o u r f o r c e . T h e r e f o r e , t h e s e p e o p l e a r e n o t " r e t i r e d " a n d s u p p o s e d l y n o t " o l d " e v e n t h o u g h t h e y h a v e l i v e d s i x t y - f i v e y e a r s . A l l o u r e v e r y d a y a c t i o n s a r e s o c i a l l y c o n s t r u c t e d . We a r e n o t m e r e r e s p o n d e n t s t o a c t i v i t i e s , t h o u g h t s , a n d f e e l i n g s ' o u t t h e r e ' i n t h e w o r l d , w e a r e a l s o p r o d u c e r s o f t h a t w o r l d a n d p a r t i c i p a n t s i n i t s e v e r y d a y c o n s t r u c t i o n . A s S c h u t z h a s n o t e d : T h e e v e r y d a y w o r l d i s i n t e r s u b j e c t i v e a n d e x p e r i e n c e d b y u s w i t h i n t h e n a t u r a l a t t i t u d e . We n o t o n l y a c t w i t h i n b u t a l s o u p o n t h e w o r l d ( 1966 :49) . I n m o s t o f o u r e n d e a v o u r s , b a s e d u p o n o u r c o m m o n s e n s e o b s e r -v a t i o n s o f l i f e a r o u n d u s , w e p r o d u c e r u l e s w h i c h g o v e r n o u r b e h a v i o u r a n d t h a t o f o t h e r s . We l a b e l a n d c a t e g o r i z e e a c h 5 other to f a c i l i t a t e interactions. It would be inappropriate to argue that there i s no such thing as old age, although some authors such as Guillemette claim t h i s : There i s no such thing as old age; there are only old people. Old age i s an idea, a concept; old persons, each old person i s a r e a l i t y ( 1966 :55) . In b i o l o g i c a l and physiological terms, the human organism does indeed become older and, as the science of senescence informs us, the body becomes increasingly vulnerable to disease as i t progresses through i t s l i f e - s p a n . However, our common sense knowledge informs us that human organisms do not become old at a p a r t i c u l a r age. Individual circumstances are also at issue. Nor does old age necessarily contain stereotypical attributes such as grey hair, wrinkles, stooped bodies, chronic i l l n e s s , "crotchetiness," and so on, although i t i s admittedly d i f f i c u l t to separate what i s old and what i s i n d i v i d u a l . When we encounter what looks l i k e an old person behaving inappropriately, the f i r s t reaction often i s that he or she i s di f f e r e n t from what old people are " r e a l l y l i k e . " That i s , we define the behaviour as inappropriate, not our expectations and assumptions. For example, groups of students were asked to complete sets of quotations taken from various sources of l i t e r a t u r e in which the age and sex of the main characters had been omitted. They were asked to provide a rationale for the i r choices. Many of the eighty-six students experienced 6 d i f f i c u l t y in completing quotations where the characters were involved in what they considered non-stereotypical s i t u a t i o n s . For example, one of the quotations used was taken from The Book of Eve by Frances Beresford Howe: I knew tomorrow's regrets were only waiting to pounce on me and punish a shameless old woman, lying on the fl o o r half dressed after intercourse with a stranger (1973:117). The words, "old woman" were omitted from the version given to the students. In most cases they completed the quotation with the words "young woman." One rationale for the answer provided was that "young women can be expected to do thi s sort of thing, old women cannot." Another was that "men don't f e e l shame so i t can't be a man of any age." In thi s exercise, the students were asked to examine the i r negative stereotypes of older people and of males and females, and how thei r a t t i -tudes contribute to the s o c i a l production of agedness. The gerontologist Alex Comfort talks about the s o c i a l construction of agedness in A Good Age. He uses the term "sociogenic aging" to refer to the process by which older individuals are forced to a l t e r t h e i r behaviour because of: The role which society imposes on people when they reach a certain chronologic age... 1Oldness' i s a p o l i t i c a l i n s t i t u t i o n and a s o c i a l convention based on a system which expels people...It i s a p o l i t i c a l transfor-mation which i s l a i d upon you after a set number of years, and the ways of dealing with i t are p o l i t i c a l and a t t i t u d i n a l (1976:14). 7 T h e " r o l e " w h i c h C o m f o r t a n d o t h e r s t a l k a b o u t i s e x p e r i e n c e d b y o n e o f m y i n f o r m a n t s i n t h e f o l l o w i n g w a y : I f i n d i t m u c h e a s i e r i f I j u s t a c t m y a g e , w e l l , w h a t t h e y t h i n k I ' m s u p p o s e d t o a c t l i k e , t h a t i s . Y o u k n o w , l i k e d o w d y a n d s o r t o f s t u p i d . O h y e s , a n d I ' m n o t s u p p o s e d t o h e a r p r o p e r l y o r s e e w e l l o r w a l k u p r i g h t . I ' m s u p -p o s e d t o s t o o p . Y a k n o w , e v e n t h o u g h m e l e g s h a v e b e e n b a d s i n c e 1 9 5 4 I ' v e n e v e r s t o o p e d . W h e n I w a l k i n a n d a r g u e w i t h t h e m ( h o s p i t a l s t a f f ) y o u s h o u l d s e e t h e s h o c k s o n t h e i r f a c e s . " Y o u c a n ' t r e a l l y b e s e v e n t y - e i g h t M r s . S . , t h e y s a y t o m e . Y o u d o n ' t a c t t h a t w a y a t a l l . " I s h o w ' e m . T h e r e ' s n o t h i n g g e t s p a s t m e a t a n y a g e . o M r s . S . e x p e r i e n c e s b e i n g j u d g e d o n t h e b a s i s o f h o w o l d s h e l o o k s : h e r h a i r i s g r e y , s h e w a l k s w i t h t h e a i d o f a c a n e , h e r f a c e i s l i n e d , a n d o f t e n s h e s q u i n t s a s t h o u g h s h e d o e s n o t s e e w e l l . H o w e v e r , i r o n i c a l l y , w h e n s h e b o a r d s a b u s , M r s . S . m u s t s h o w h e r b i r t h c e r t i f i c a t e w h i c h i s y e l l o w a n d t o r n , a n d s e w n i n t o t h e i n s i d e o f h e r h a n d b a g , t o " p r o v e " s h e i s r e a l l y s e v e n t y - e i g h t y e a r s o l d a n d e l i g i b l e f o r f r e e t r a n s p o r t a t i o n . H e r e x p e r i e n c e s a r e n o t e x c l u s i v e t o t h e h o s p i t a l s e t t i n g b u t o c c u r i n m a n y o f h e r d a i l y a c t i v i t i e s . T h e l a b e l l i n g p r o c e s s t o w h i c h M r s . S . r e f e r s c a n b e l i k e n e d t o w h a t S a c k s t e r m s " m e m b e r s h i p c a t e g o r i z a t i o n ( 1 9 7 2 ) . " A m e m b e r s h i p c a t e g o r i z a t i o n d e v i c e ( M C D ) i n d i c a t e s h o w p e r s o n s c h o o s e t o r e l a t e i n t e r a c t i o n a l l y . I n t h i s w a y , t h e M C D " o l d p e r s o n " w o u l d r e p r e s e n t a s e t o f c a t e g o r i e s s u c h a s " m a l e , " " f e m a l e , " " g r a n d p a r e n t , " " r e t i r e d , " a n d w o u l d s u g g e s t a p p r o p r i a t e i n t e r a c t i o n w i t h t h e m . 8 Mrs. S. i s not alone when she complains about negative stereotyping and discrimination on the basis of age. Others also express th e i r d i s l i k e of "ageist" attitudes and thereby raise questions about what age i s and can be. At a recent (June 1982) meeting of older women involved in a widows' support group, the guest speaker commented that one participant "couldn't possibly be eighty-two because you don't look nor act your age." The woman re p l i e d , " t h i s i s how _I am at eighty-two." Old Age As A " S c i e n t i f i c " phenomenon The phenomenon of old age has received increased atten-tion from the s o c i a l sciences over the past decade, e s p e c i a l l y in the United States, Europe, Great B r i t a i n , the U.S.S.R. and more recently Canada as well.A The main reasons most f r e -quently given for the concern i s that the absolute number of older persons in the t o t a l populations of these countries has increased considerably (Appendix A). The aforementioned figures are projected to increase from 9.5% in the year 1981 to 11.0% by the year 1991 and to 11.8% by the year 2001. In 1973, the United States demographic p r o f i l e showed at least 10% of i t s population to be aged s i x t y - f i v e or older. In Great B r i t a i n , the t o t a l population aged s i x t y - f i v e and over was 12.6%. This trend was shared or surpassed by other countries, mainly European (Appendix B). 9 A recent United Nations survey (1981) predicted that by the year 2000, those aged s i x t y - f i v e and over w i l l be the fastest growing age group anywhere in the world, with the largest increases in A f r i c a , South Asia, Latin America, and East Asia. While these countries may experience an increase in the s i x t y - f i v e plus population, North American and European countries w i l l have the oldest populations. Approximately 20 per cent w i l l be s i x t y - f i v e and over. For a more detailed explanation of these world demographic changes, see Appendix C. As more people not only grow older but also l i v e longer, so the phenomenon of old age i s creating a great deal of in t e r e s t , e s p e c i a l l y among s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s . Demographic trends in turn influence policy and program decisions about those aged s i x t y - f i v e and over. However, for some gerontologists, i t i s not an increase in t o t a l population which causes concern but rather an awareness of a prevailing lack of s e n s i t i v i t y to those who are represented by the demographics. Michel P h i l i b e r t observed: The basic problem of our culture, our society, and our s o c i a l structures i s not so much the increase in the number of old people, but rather the fact that t h i s increase i s taking place in a society which accepts the down-grading of the e l d e r l y as a law of nature instead of seeing i t as a feature of i t s own culture ( 1963 :945) . Although absolute numbers may be important for the demo-10 g r a p h e r , f o r o t h e r s i t i s t h e p e r s o n s framed w i t h i n t h e num-b e r s who must be v i e w e d w i t h a g r e a t e r a w areness and r e c o g -n i t i o n . Demographic f e a t u r e s a r e i n some s e n s e a g l o s s o v e r what a r e r e a l p e o p l e who have r e a l n e e d s . The b i o l o g i c a l and m e d i c a l s c i e n c e s have been i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e t o p i c o f o l d age s i n c e a n c i e n t E g y p t i a n and l a t e r Greek p r a c t i t i o n e r s s o u g h t t o e x p l a i n how and why t h e human o r g a n i s m grows o l d and s u b s e q u e n t l y d i e s . A L a t e r , t h e b i o l o g i c a l s c i e n c e s examined t h e t o p i c more s p e c i f i c a l l y t h r o u g h t h e s t u d y o f s e n e s c e n c e , t h a t i s , t h e p r o c e s s by w h i c h an o r g a n i s m becomes i n c r e a s i n g l y v u l n e r a b l e as i t p r o g r e s s e s t h r o u g h i t s l i f e - s p a n . The m e d i c a l s c i e n c e s a l s o e s t a b l i s h e d a s p e c i f i c d i s c i p l i n e f o r l o o k i n g a t t h e p a t h o l o g i c a l r e a s o n s f o r t h e a g i n g p r o c e s s . T h i s i s known as g e r i a t r i c s , t h e s t u d y o f o l d age r e l a t e d d i s e a s e s w h i c h a r e b o t h c h r o n o l o g i c a l l y and p h y s i o l o g i c a l l y d e t e r m i n e d . The s o c i a l s c i e n c e s * s t u d y o f o l d age i s s a i d by many a u t h o r s ( A t c h l e y 1980; B r o m l e y 1966; De c k e r 1980; and T i b b i t t s 1960, among o t h e r s ) t o be l e s s c o n c e r n e d w i t h i t s p a t h o l o g i c a l e f f e c t s upon t h e a g i n g i n d i v i d u a l and more c o n c e r n e d w i t h t h e s o c i a l , p s y c h o l o g i c a l , and c u l t u r a l a s p e c t s o f t h i s c o n t i n u a l d e v e l o p m e n t t h r o u g h t h e l i f e - c y c l e , as i t a c t s n o t o n l y upon t h e i n d i v i d u a l b u t a l s o upon whole s o c i e t i e s . I t s h o u l d be n o t e d h e r e t h a t t h i s taxonomy — s o c i a l , p s y c h o l o g i c a l , and c u l t u r a l — i m p l i e s n o t o n l y t h a t t h e s e c o n c e r n s a r e a d e q u a t e ones f o r p e r s o n s s t u d y i n g o l d age, 11 i t also points to the d i s c i p l i n e s predominant within the f i e l d of gerontology, namely, sociology, psychology, s o c i a l work, and to a lesser extent, anthropology. The s c i e n t i f i c study of the s o c i a l aspects of the aging process has come to be referred to, by s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s and other academics, as s o c i a l gerontology. Gerontology i s usually defined as "the systematic exploration of the aging process" (Hendricks and Hendricks 1977:19) and "what we know about the causes and consequences of aging" (Atchley 1980:5). It is viewed as the o v e r a l l heading under which a l l " s c i e n t i f i c " studies of the aging process appropriately f i t . In other words, using the loose d e f i n i t i o n just provided, scholars and pr a c t i t i o n e r s of biology, law, medicine, • architecture, anthropology, s o c i a l work, sociology, education, and psychology may a l l be referred to as gerontologists. Social gerontologists are those scholars, health prac-t i t i o n e r s , and s o c i a l service plannners and providers whose main interests l i e in analyzing the s o c i a l systems, behaviours, and organizations in which people grow older and conversely the impacts that the aging individual has upon these systems and cultures themselves. They are also service providers to the old and their f a m i l i e s , working in hospitals, adult day care centres, human resource areas and governmental health and welfare m i n i s t r i e s , among others. There is d i s t i n c t i o n that could be recognized between the academic gerontologist whose work i s mainly research 12 o r i e n t e d , a n d t h e p r o f e s s i o n a l w h o s e w o r k i s o f a m o r e p r a c t i c a l o r i e n t a t i o n a d d r e s s e d t o d i r e c t s e r v i c e . I n t h i s t h e s i s t h e t e r m g e r o n t o l o g i s t a p p l i e s t o b o t h g r o u p s o f i n d i v i d u a l s u n l e s s o t h e r w i s e s p e c i f i c a l l y s t a t e d . T h e n o t i o n o f s o c i a l p r o b l e m s o l v i n g i s f r e q u e n t l y i n v o k e d b y g e r o n t o l o g i s t s . T h e r a t i o n a l e n o r m a l l y p r o v i d e d s u g g e s t s t h a t a s t h e p o p u l a t i o n o f p e r s o n s a g e d s i x t y - f i v e a n d o v e r i n c r e a s e s , s o t o o d o e s t h e n e e d f o r m o r e s o c i a l , e c o n o m i c , a n d h e a l t h r e l a t e d s e r v i c e s . H o w e v e r , a s t h e f o l l o w i n g f i e l d n o t e w i l l i l l u s t r a t e , t h e ' p r o b l e m ' i s o f t e n f o r t h e p r o v i d e r s o f s u c h s e r v i c e s a n d n o t n e c e s s a r i l y f o r t h e r e c i p i e n t . T h e f i e l d n o t e w a s r e c o r d e d a t t h e p r o g r a m m e e t i n g o f a p r o v i n c i a l g e r o n t o l o g y g r o u p . F i v e c o m m i t t e e m e m b e r s w e r e p r e s e n t , o n e o f w h o m w a s t h e r e s e a r c h e r . K. We r e a l l y n e e d t o d o s o m e t h i n g a b o u t a l c o h o l i s m a n d t h e e l d e r l y . I t i s a r e a l p r o b -l e m w h i c h w e n e v e r a d d r e s s e d . R e s e a r c h e r . W h a t ' s t h e p r o b l e m ? K. W e l l , i t ' s a r e a l p r o b l e m f o r u s i n x ( c a r e f a c i l i t y f o r o l d e r p e r s o n s i n V a n c o u v e r ) . We d o n ' t k n o w w h a t t o d o a b o u t l e t t i n g t h e m d r i n k o r n o t . M . S u r e , a n d t h e A m e r i c a n s t u d i e s a l w a y s p o i n t t o t h e v e r y r e a l p r o b l e m o f d r i n k a n d d r u g s . T h e A D C ( A l c o h o l a n d D r u g C o m m i s s i o n ) i s n ' t d o i n g a n y t h i n g a b o u t i t . I t h i n k t h e c o m m i t t e e s h o u l d d o s o m e t h i n g . T h e y o b v i o u s l y n e e d h e l p i n t h i s . R e s e a r c h e r . Y e s , b u t w h o d e f i n e s t h e p r o b -l e m ? A t w h a t p o i n t i s i t a p r o b l e m a n d f o r w h o m ? 13 K . W e l l , w e l l , I k n o w i t ' s a p r o b l e m f o r u s , e s p e c i a l l y w i t h C h r i s t m a s c o m i n g u p . S o m e o f o u r p e o p l e w i l l w a n t t o d r i n k a n d t h e y ' l l g e t c a r r i e d a w a y , y o u k n o w h o w t h e y a r e . W e l l , i t ' s t h e t o l e r a n c e t o d r i n k — t h e l e v e l g o e s d o w n a t t h e i r a g e . Y o u c a n ' t h e l p t h e m u n l e s s y o u c a n c o n v i n c e t h e m o f t h i s . M . Y o u ' r e r i g h t , K . , w e s h o u l d o f f e r a p r o -g r a m o n i t . I t s o u n d s a s t h o u g h w e a l l a g r e e t h a t i t i s a p r o b l e m . We n e e d t o h a v e s o m e t h i n g t h a t w i l l h e l p o t h e r p e o p l e w h o h a v e t h e s a m e p r o b l e m i n t h e i r f a c i l i t y . S . A n d t h e p e o p l e , w e l l , t h e o n e s l i v i n g i n t h e i r o w n h o m e s t o o . We s h o u l d g e t h e l p f o r t h e m t o o , e s p e c i a l l y a t h o l i d a y t i m e s . R e s e a r c h e r . I ' m s t i l l i n t e r e s t e d i n k n o w i n g w h e n i t b e c o m e s a p r o b l e m a n d w h o d e c i d e s i t i s . K . O h , J . , w e k n o w i t ' s m o r e o f a p r o b l e m f o r t h e e l d e r l y , d o n ' t w e ? T h e y a l s o t a k e d r u g s a n d a b u s e t h e m t o o . S . T h e y d o n ' t a b u s e d r u g s — i t ' s t h e d o c -t o r s w h o a r e a t f a u l t h e r e . B u t y o u ' r e r i g h t , t h e t w o d o n ' t m i x . W e ' v e g o t t o h e l p t h e m i n t h i s — n o o n e e l s e h a s a s f a r a s I k n o w . T h i s f i e l d n o t e p o i n t s o u t t h e m o r a l i m p e r a t i v e s e n v i s -i o n e d b y t h e c a r e - p r o v i d e r s a s a p p r o p r i a t e f o r t h e m a n d f o r t h o s e t o w h o m t h e y p r o v i d e s e r v i c e s . T h e " p r o b l e m " o f a l c o h o l i s m i s v i e w e d f r o m a t l e a s t t w o p e r s p e c t i v e s . O n t h e o n e h a n d , i t i s s e e n a s a m a t t e r o f s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n w i t h i n a c a r e f a c i l i t y " e s p e c i a l l y w i t h C h r i s t m a s c o m i n g u p " w h e r e s t a f f m u s t d e a l w i t h " l e t t i n g t h e m d r i n k o r n o t . " I n t h i s i n s t a n c e , s t a f f i s s e e n a s r e s p o n s i b l e f o r p a t i e n t c a r e , a n d d r i n k i n g a l c o h o l i s s e e n a s h a r m f u l b e c a u s e " t h e t o l e r a n c e l e v e l g o e s d o w n a t t h e i r a g e . " O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , p e r s o n s w h o 1 4 " l i v e i n t h e i r o w n h o m e s " a r e a l s o s e e n t o n e e d " h e l p " w i t h a l c o h o l i s m . T h o s e w h o l i v e i n d e p e n d e n t l y i n t h e c o m m u n i t y a r e s e e n a s s i m i l a r t o t h o s e w i t h i n i n s t i t u t i o n s b e c a u s e o f t h e m e d i c a l i m p l i c a t i o n s o f c o m b i n i n g d r i n k a n d d r u g s . C a r e - g i v e r s v i e w t h e m s e l v e s a s r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t h e i r o w n c l i e n t s a s w e l l a s a l l a l c o h o l i c s . T h i s c o n s t r u c t s t h e m a s l e g i t i m a t e c a r e -t a k e r s o f o t h e r p e o p l e ' s l i v e s . T h i s p a r t i c u l a r m e e t i n g l e d t o t h e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f a p r o g r a m o n A l c o h o l i s m a n d t h e E l d e r l y e a r l y i n 1 9 8 1 . I t w a s h e l d a t a s e n i o r c i t i z e n s ' c e n t r e i n d o w n t o w n V a n c o u v e r . O f t h e e i g h t e e n p e o p l e p r e s e n t t o h e a r a s p e a k e r f r o m t h e A l c o h o l a n d D r u g C o m m i s s i o n , f o u r t e e n w e r e m e m b e r s o f t h e a s s o c i a t i o n s p o n s o r i n g t h e e v e n t a n d f o u r w e r e m e m b e r s o f t h e c o m m u n i t y c e n t r e s t a f f . P r i o r t o t h i s m e e t i n g , I l e a r n e d t h a t a s e n i o r c i t i z e n s ' g r o u p h a d r e c e i v e d a g r a n t t o o f f e r o n e - t o - o n e s e l f -h e l p i n a l c o h o l r e h a b i l i t a t i o n t o t h o s e o v e r s i x t y - f i v e . I s u g g e s t e d t h a t t h e c o - o r d i n a t o r o f t h i s g r o u p b e a s k e d t o s p e a k a t t h e p r e s e n t a t i o n , b u t w a s t o l d t h a t t h e r e p r e s e n t a t i v e f r o m t h e A D C w o u l d n o t s p e a k o n t h e s a m e p a n e l a s t h e c o - o r d i n a t o r b e c a u s e h e w a s " n o t a p r o f e s s i o n a l i n t h i s a r e a . " T h e c o m m i t t e e d e c i d e d t h a t a s e n i o r c i t i z e n w o r k i n g w i t h e l d e r l y a l c o h o l i c s w a s n o t a s ' e x p e r t ' a s t h e p r o f e s s i o n a l f r o m t h e g o v e r n m e n t a g e n c y . T h e l a t t e r i r o n i c a l l y n o t e d t h a t h i s d e p a r t m e n t w a s n o t " d i r e c t l y i n v o l v e d w i t h o f f e r i n g s e r v i c e s t o s e n i o r s . " 15 Thus, s o c i a l problem solving i s looked upon d i f f e r e n t l y by those who invoke the problem, gerontologists, and those who are i d e n t i f i e d with i t , older persons. It also points out that "expert" i s d i f f e r e n t i a l l y defined by the two groups. At no time did the subject of how the aged themselves define 'problem drinking' arise other than when the researcher unsuccessfully attempted to raise i t . Authors writing on the history of gerontology as a d i s c i p l i n e (noteably Birren 1959, P h i l i b e r t 1965, Streib and Orbach 1967, Hendricks and Hendricks 1977, Oliver and Ecker-man 1979) have i d e n t i f i e d i t s development over fiv e growth periods. They are: 1) Pre-1940, Pioneer E f f o r t s ; 2) 1940-1954, Early Development; 3) 1955-1964, Research and Organization; 4) 1965-1974, Education; and 5) 1975 to the present, An Emerging D i s c i p l i n e (Oliver and Eckerman, 1979:2). Although gerontology has been a recognizable d i s c i p l i n e over the past forty years, during the past ten to twenty years i t has gained prominence in North America as a f i e l d of important inquiry within the s o c i a l sciences. During the past decade or so, the term "Social Gerontology" has been more and more widely used in the United States to designate a set of problems and studies concerning the s o c i a l processes of human aging ( P h i l i b e r t 1965:4). 16 P h i l i b e r t s e e s t h e emergence o f g e r o n t o l o g y as t h e d i r e c t r e s u l t o f two i n t e r - r e l a t e d f a c t o r s . The f i r s t i s a r i s e i n s c i e n t i f i c i n q u i r y on a v a r i e t y o f t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r y i s s u e s e p e c i a l l y a f t e r W o r l d War I I . The s e c o n d i s t h e i n c r e a s i n g l i f e e x p e c t a n c y o f i n d i v i d u a l s due t o improvements i n m e d i c a l t e c h n o l o g y . He s a y s : The s c i e n t i s t s ' i n t e r e s t i n t h e p r o b l e m s o f a g i n g . . . r e s u l t e d i n p a r t from t h e a c c e l e r a t i n g pace o f s c i e n c e i n g e n e r a l . . . A n o t h e r p o w e r f u l s t i m u l a t i o n f o r s c i e n t i f i c r e s e a r c h i n a g i n g has r e s u l t e d from r e c e n t s o c i a l c h a n g e s w h i c h i n a l l i n d u s t r i a l i z e d s o c i e t i e s have a f f e c t e d e i t h e r a g i n g i n d i v i d u a l s , c o m m u n i t i e s r e s p o n s i -b l e f o r t h e a g i n g i n t h e i r m i d s t o r b o t h ( 1965 :4) . An i n t e r e s t i n o l d age, w h i c h some g e r o n t o l o g i c a l a u t h o r s b e l i e v e began i n 1645 w i t h F r a n c i s Bacon's a t t e m p t t o e x p l o r e t h e p r o c e s s o f a g i n g i n H i s t o r y o f L i f e and D e a t h , has c o n t i n u e d t h r o u g h o u t h i s t o r y . F o r a d e t a i l e d breakdown o f m a j o r e v e n t s i n t h e h i s t o r i c a l g r o w t h o f g e r o n t o l o g y as a d i s c i p l i n e , see A p p e n d i c e s D t h r o u g h H. The s u b j e c t m a t t e r o f t h e ' d i s c i p l i n e ' has been r e f e r r e d t o by H a r r i s and C o l e a s : ...The s c i e n t i f i c s t u d y o f a g i n g , began t o emerge as a s c i e n t i f i c d i s c i p l i n e a b o u t 1940. The r a p i d l y i n c r e a s i n g number o f o l d e r p e o p l e i n t h e p o p u l a t i o n gave i m p e t u s t o t h i s new s c i e n c e ( 1980 :4) . and by J o h n s o n e_t a l : 17 In a recent (1980) survey of 87 gerontology educators and p r a c t i t i o n e r s in the U.S., a l l agreed that gerontology as a d i s c i p l i n e repre-sents a common body of knowledge which has a basic core (1980:6). I have constantly asked myself and others what i t i s about, what we are trying to do, and for whom. The answer consistently i s that what i s done i s to help the aged. The ideological structure i s the notion of helping, not only the aged, but others as well. This sentiment i s contained in the following quotation taken from the previously mentioned textbook on gerontology (Harris and Cole): Studying gerontology i s a means of helping our nation and i t s communities to provide a - more sat i s f a c t o r y l i f e for the e l d e r l y which should improve conditions not only for today's older people, but for those who w i l l be old tomorrow (1980:20). Although gerontologists may claim "helping," th e i r e f f o r t s are seen somewhat d i f f e r e n t l y by those presumably helped. Maggie Kuhn, president of the Gray Panthers has noted Gerontology has assumed the deterioration of the aged and has attempted to describe i t in terms which ignore the s o c i a l and economic factors which in large measure prec i p i t a t e that dete r i o r a t i o n . By r e i f y i n g the attribute 'old 1 gerontology reinforces s o c i e t a l attitudes which view older people as stuck in an inevitable chronological destiny of decay and deteriora-tion...When persons who are old, poor, and stigmatized by society become objects of geron-t o l o g i c a l research, they are seen as problems by society, rather than as persons experiencing problems created by society. 18 Ms. Kuhn i s suggesting not that gerontology helps the aged, but r a t h e r that i t hinders them i n t h e i r attempts to d e a l with the s o c i a l c o n d i t i o n s of t h e i r l i v e s . Although I r e s p e c t the view that the terms " o l d , " " s e n i o r s , " "the aged," "the e l d e r l y " and so on, may r e i n f o r c e negative s o c i a l a t t i t u d e s , I nonetheless a l s o use these l a b e l s of d e s c r i p t i o n i n the t h e s i s because they are accepted as a p p r o p r i a t e s o c i a l c a t e g o r i e s . Claims made by persons i n v o l v e d i n the f i e l d of gerontology i s that t h e i r work i s intended to improve the l i v e s of the aged. As the data w i l l show, these c l a i m s are made e x p l i c i t l y i n some cases, through w r i t t e n m a t e r i a l s such as books, j o u r n a l s , a r t i c l e s , grant p r o p o s a l s , s o c i a l p o l i c i e s and programs. In other cases they are t a c i t l y assumed, i n comments made at meetings, conferences, and c o n v e r s a t i o n s with peers. I plan to analyze the d i v e r s e i d e o l o g i e s of both the aged and g e r o n t o l o g i s t s . I t gets me s i c k , you know, l i k e when I came back from the CAG meetings i n Saskatoon. W e l l , there they a l l were, the academics, the know-i t - a l l g e r o n t o l o g i s t s , and there we were i n our cages. Yes, t h a t ' s j u s t what i t ' s l i k e , you know. They put a l l of us i n cages. They poke prod and examine us. I t makes me mad. Then they w r i t e those t h e o r i e s — have you ever seen so many t h e o r i e s ? — about us. I f e l t l i k e , w e l l , I wanted to scream at them: ask mel They don't help us, no, i t ' s themselves they help — they get the money, the j o b s . I'm damned s i c k of them p u t t i n g us i n cages. We've got to t e l l them what we want.-. W e l l , l a d i e s and gentlemen, I had a nightmare the other n i g h t . I dreamed I was a t t e n d i n g a conference about "what was good f o r Eskimos" and I looked around the room and I saw not a s i n g l e Eskimo p r e s e n t , but I saw a l a r g e number of i n t e l l e c t u a l s and well-meaning people gathered together to decide what was good f o r the group of people who were not r e p r e s e n t e d . n It should be our task to help the aged help themselves. We must use our knowledge and e x p e r t i s e as s c i e n t i s t s , no matter what our o r i g i n a l backgrounds. Be we p s y c h o l o g i s t s or s o c i a l workers, s o c i o l o g i s t s or home econo-m i s t s , we are here as g e r o n t o l o g i s t s i n t e r e s t e d i n p r o v i d i n g to and c a r i n g f o r the aged. We must use our s k i l l s to a l l e v i a t e t h e i r problems and by doing so help o u r s e l v e s too, because we w i l l a l l b e n e f i t from the work which gets done today when we o u r s e l v e s become old.q Such a t t i t u d e s represent many which are c u r r e n t l y c i r c u l a t i n g w i t h i n the g e r o n t o l o g i c a l community. This d i v e r s i t y of viewpoints c r e a t e s a s i t u a t i o n which h i n d e r s g e r o n t o l o g i s t s and the aged from working t o g e t h e r . F u r t h e r , i t c r e a t e s a s i t u a t i o n i n which g e r o n t o l o g i s t s are seen to be more 'expert' than the aged themselves. Of course g e r o n t o l o g i s t s have g r e a t e r access to d e c i s i o n making pr o c e s s e s , resource g a t h e r i n g , and s o c i a l , economic, and p o l i t i c a l s t r u c t u r e s . N a t u r a l l y , not a l l o l d e r people are concerned about the p r o d u c t i o n of g e r o n t o l o g y . Nor do they n e c e s s a r i l y belong to o r g a n i z a t i o n s concerned with the e l d e r l y . The v o i c e s of the o l d who speak i n the t h e s i s r e p r e s e n t some who were a c t i v e l y i n t e r e s t e d . The t h e s i s s h a l l e x p l o r e the ways gerontology c o n t r i b u t e s to the s o c i a l c o n s t r u c t i o n of agedness by 2 0 analyzing the models, themes of inquiry and attitudes being put forth by gerontologists. As well, the s o c i a l production of knowledge and the role which ideologies play s h a l l be examined. This d i s s e r t a t i o n i s unabashedly an attempt to do action sociology. Organization Of The Thesis The theme of Chapter One is the s o c i o l o g i c a l topic of inquiry, the s o c i a l construction of agedness and the roles which gerontological and common sense knowledge play in this production. In Chapter Two, the sociology of knowledge used to interpret and analyze the data w i l l be discussed. As well, I w i l l attempt a phenomenological framework of analysis to recognize the input of older persons into the gerontological enterprise. I w i l l describe the data of the thesis and the methods of data c o l l e c t i o n . Chapter Three w i l l discuss the notion of ideology and i t s role in the s o c i a l sciences and in gerontology. The notion that theories i d e n t i f y ideological concerns within gerontology w i l l also be discussed. In Chapter Four, the notion of help as a feature of the gerontological ideology w i l l be discussed. Chapter Five w i l l explore the gerontological enterprise by i d e n t i f y i n g gerontological knowledge. Chapter Six deals with a series of strategies for an appropriate gerontology to serve the needs of older persons and gerontologists. 21 Footnotes to Chapter One 1. For examples of how this process works in so c i e t i e s other than our own, see Simone de Beauvior's Old Age (1977) for a h i s t o r i c a l view. For s p e c i f i c descriptions of the s o c i a l con-struction of agedness within and outside Canada, see Clarke and Anderson (1967), Myerhoff and Simic (1978), Palmore (1975), Shanas et al (1968), and Stearns (1976). The newly published journal Anthropology and Aging (1981, (American An-thropology Association) provides descriptive accounts of aging in other cultures. As well, an excellent bibliography on gerontology from a cr o s s - c u l t u r a l perspective i s published by the International Federation on Ageing (1979). The ethnic e l d e r l y who reside in the Greater Vancouver area speak with their own voices regarding aging in their homeland and Canada in a r t i c l e s by Auger and Gray in the January through June editions of the Elder Statesman newspaper (1982-83). 2. For a more complete overview of some of the philosophi-cal bases of various f i n a n c i a l aid programs for the aged, see Hogarth et a l (1979), de Beauvoir (1977), and Bromley (1966). 3. An interview with a seventy-eight year old woman l i v i n g in Vancouver, conducted with respect to her perceived needs, July, 1981. 4. See Atchley (1980), de Beauvoir (1977), Decker (1980), Hendricks and Hendricks (1977), Oliver and Eckerman (1979), among others. 5. For an excellent description of the h i s t o r i c a l examina-tion of old age and related issues, see de Beauvoir (1977) and Freeman, Joseph T. (1979) . Cicero's On Old Age and Friendship (1967) gives an account of how the ancient Greeks f e l t about old age. For a description of how the subject of old age has been dealt with in the l i t e r a r y world from the ancient Greeks and Romans through to the modern world, see Auger (1980). 6. Gray Panthers pamphlet di s t r i b u t e d at the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society, San Francisco, November, 1977. 7. Taped interview with a seventy-two year old male volun-teer at a senior c i t i z e n s ' centre in Vancouver, November, 1980 . 8. Dr. Alex Comfort, paper presented at the General Foods Symposium on Aging, Ottawa, 1980, p . l . 9. Keynote address and introductory speaker at a conference on aging, held at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, July 1979 . 22 CHAPTER TWO; FRAMEWORK OF INQUIRY a) The Perspective of the Sociology of Knowledge  Applied to Old Age The framework of inquiry used to make sense of the data collected i s the sociology of knowledge, in p a r t i c u l a r , that part which i s concerned with the s o c i a l construction of r e a l i t y . This suggests that a l l ' r e a l i t y , ' what Berger and Luckman define as: ... a quality appertaining to phenomena that we recognize as having a being independent of our own v o l i t i o n (we cannot "wish them away") ( 1966 :1) . is constructed in a c t i v i t i e s and interactions with others. This way of understanding and examining the world, raises the issue of the process involved in the construction of any given r e a l i t y , and in the production of knowledge about that r e a l i t y . As Berger and Luckman further state: A sociology of knowledge w i l l have to deal not only with the empirical variety of knowledge in human s o c i e t i e s , but also with the processes by which any body of knowledge comes to be s o c i a l l y established as r e a l i t y (1966:3). S i m i l a r l y , I am less concerned with the "philosophical questions" posed by this framework of inquiry and more interested in the s o c i a l processes by which knowledge and other types of r e a l i t y are produced. Thus, to make sense of the data c o l l e c t e d , this documentary evidence of people's behaviour becomes indicative of t h e i r s o c i a l l y constructed 23 r e a l i t y a b o u t a g i n g . What model o f o l d n e s s d o e s t h e d a t a p r e s e n t , what f e a t u r e s o f human b e h a v i o u r and i n t e r a c t i o n , make t h i s p i c t u r e v i s i b l e ? In o t h e r words, 'what i s t h e r e a l i t y o f o l d n e s s p u t f o r w a r d ? How i s t h i s r e a l i t y p r o d u c e d and m a i n t a i n e d ? How d o e s i t work i n t h e w o r l d ? What makes t h i s p a r t i c u l a r r e a l i t y more " r e a l " t h a n o t h e r s ? 1 As I have c o l l e c t e d d a t a , i t has been used i n a r e f l e x i v e way, by u n p a c k i n g and making s e n s e o f my own and o t h e r s ' a c t i v i t i e s w i t h i n t h e f i e l d o f g e r o n t o l o g y and o l d a g e . A key i s s u e has been t o t r y t o u n d e r s t a n d t h e n a t u r e o f g e r o n t o l o g i c a l work, t o l o o k a t how i t s b o u n d a r i e s a r e s e t and by whom. When I use t h e t e r m ' r e f l e x i v e ' I b o r r o w from G o u l d n e r ' s d e f i n i t i o n o f i t as a t y p e o f s o c i o l o g y t h r o u g h w h i c h I c a n f i t n o t o n l y my d a t a , b u t a l s o my l i f e . In o t h e r words, t h i s p e r s p e c t i v e e n a b l e s me t o l o o k back on d a t a and see where my a t t i t u d e s and v a l u e s a b o u t o l d a g e , my ' r e a l i t y ' as i t were, f i t s i n t o t h e o v e r a l l shape o f t h e i n q u i r y . As G o u l d n e r s a y s : A r e f l e x i v e S o c i o l o g y would r e c o g n i z e t h a t knowledge o f t h e w o r l d c a n n o t be a d v a n c e d a p a r t from t h e s o c i o l o g i s t ' s knowledge o f h i m s e l f and h i s p o s i t i o n i n t h e s o c i a l w o r l d , o r a p a r t from h i s e f f o r t s t o change t h e s e . A R e f l e x i v e S o c i o l o g y s e e k s t o t r a n s f o r m as w e l l as t o know th e a l i e n w o r l d i n s i d e o f him. I t a c c e p t s t h e f a c t t h a t t h e r o o t s o f s o c i o l o g y p a s s t h r o u g h t h e s o c i o l o g i s t as a t o t a l man, and t h a t t h e q u e s t i o n he must c o n f r o n t t h e r e f o r e , i s n o t m e r e l y how t o work b u t how t o l i v e ( 1970: 489) . In a t t e m p t i n g t o d e f i n e t h e g e r o n t o l o g i c a l e n t e r p r i s e , I use 24 ray own knowledge and experience of i t as data. I therefore agree with Gouldner further when he says that there i s no knowledge of the world that does not arise out of -our own experience with i t and our r e l a t i o n to i t . In t h i s way, as Simic (1978:10) has pointed out, an awareness of s e l f in these settings is as much part of the ethnographic enterprise as the s c i e n t i f i c aspect. As a r e f l e x i v e s o c i o l o g i s t whose work i s action oriented, I am interested in using knowledge of gerontology as a resource in bringing about change. As Hymes has said: Knowledge about people i s a resource, l i k e control of o i l and of armies: Nations cannot accept permanent i n f e r i o r i t y in this regard... the proper role of the s c i e n t i s t , and the goal of his e f f o r t s , should not be "extractive," but mediative. It should be to help communities be ethnographers of th e i r own s i t u a t i o n s , to re-late t h e i r knowledge use f u l l y to general know-ledge, not merely to test and document. Such a role could be the safeguard of both the i n t e l -l e c t u a l and e t h i c a l purposes of the science i t s e l f ( 1974 :67) . This p a r t i c u l a r topic was chosen not merely from the perspective of what i t could add to an already existing body of knowledge, but also because i t has a d i r e c t relationship to my own area of i n t e r e s t . As i s known to a l l s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s and as Myerhoff and Simic point out, the selection of f i e l d settings i s in no sense random or fortuitous but: ...the d i r e c t r e s u l t of the personal i d e n t i t i e s and past professional experience of the investigators (1978:10). 2 5 T h e n o t i o n t h a t r e a l i t y i s s o c i a l l y c o n s t r u c t e d h a s b e e n d e a l t w i t h b y a u t h o r s i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e t h e o r e t i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e o f t h e s o c i o l o g y o f k n o w l e d g e . T h e w o r k o f A l f r e d S c h u t z , i n p a r t i c u l a r , h a s p l a y e d a n i m p o r t a n t p a r t i n a t t e m p t i n g t o d i s p l a y h o w p e r s o n s c o n s t r u c t t h e i r s o c i a l w o r l d ( s ) , t h e i r " e v e r y d a y r e a l i t y " a s h e c a l l s i t . S c h u t z d e f i n e s t h i s o n -g o i n g p r o c e s s o f r e a l i t y p r o d u c t i o n a s o n e i n w h i c h : We s t a r t f r o m a n e x a m i n a t i o n o f t h e s o c i a l w o r l d i n i t s v a r i o u s a r t i c u l a t i o n s a n d f o r m s o f o r g a n i z a t i o n w h i c h c o n s t i t u t e t h e s o c i a l r e a l i t y f o r m e n l i v i n g w i t h i n i t . M a n i s b o r n i n t o a w o r l d t h a t e x i s t e d b e f o r e h i s b i r t h , a n d t h i s w o r l d i s f r o m t h e o u t s e t n o t m e r e l y a p h y s i c a l b u t a l s o a s o c i o c u l t u r a l o n e . T h e l a t t e r i s a p r e c o n s t i t u t e d a n d p r e o r g a n i z e d w o r l d w h o s e p a r t i c u l a r s t r u c t u r e i s t h e r e s u l t o f a n h i s t o r i c a l p r o c e s s a n d i s t h e r e f o r e d i f -f e r e n t f o r e a c h c u l t u r e a n d s o c i e t y ( 1 9 7 3 : 2 2 ) . M u c h o f w h a t w e k n o w a b o u t o u r w o r l d i s n o t d i r e c t l y e x p e r i e n c e d b y u s ; r a t h e r , i t i s s h o w n a n d t o l d b y o t h e r s . I d o n o t p e r s o n a l l y k n o w h o w i t i s t o f e e l o l d , b u t t h r o u g h i n t e r a c t i o n w i t h o t h e r s w h o a r e , I c a n g e t s o m e u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h i s s t a g e o f l i f e . A s w e l l , I k n o w a b o u t o l d a g e f r o m w h a t I s e e h a p p e n i n g a r o u n d m e , a n d f r o m w h a t I r e a d a n d h e a r f r o m o t h e r s w h o a l s o k n o w a b o u t i t i n a s i m i l a r w a y . A s S c h u t z s a y s f u r t h e r : O n l y a v e r y s m a l l p a r t o f m y k n o w l e d g e o f t h e w o r l d o r i g i n a t e s w i t h i n m y p e r s o n a l e x p e r i e n c e . T h e g r e a t e r p a r t i s s o c i a l l y d e r i v e d , h a n d e d d o w n t o m e b y m y f r i e n d s , m y t e a c h e r s a n d t h e t e a c h e r s o f m y t e a c h e r s ( 1 9 7 3 : 1 3 ) . 26 Sociologists are interested in analyzing the s o c i a l organizational features of everyday a c t i v i t i e s . They have conducted this work in settings which include i n s t i t u t i o n s such as hospitals and care f a c i l i t i e s : see for example, the work of Ford (1974), Gubrium (1973), Posner (1974), Scott (1969) , Sudnow (1969) and Olesen and Whittaker (1968); also in law courts and other correctional services, see Buckner (1970) , Cicourel (1968), and Darrough (1975); in senior c i t i z e n ' s housing, see Hochschild (1973), Jacobs (1974), Matthews (1978) and Stephens (1976). Interactions in a variety of other s o c i a l settings have been observed, included among them are the works of Garfinkel (1967), Goffman (1959, 1961, 1963) Mead (1934), Parkinson (1975), and Wiseman (1970). The thesis data can be examined by u t i l i z i n g some of the concepts put forward by the theorists of the sociology of knowledge, esp e c i a l l y with respect to the concept of the s o c i a l production, organization, maintenance, and use of d i f f e r e n t ideologies and their function. With respect to the notion of how some p a r t i c u l a r types of knowledge are accounted for as 'expert' and others are not, Merton claims that the former i s in f a c t , one of the primary concerns of the p a r t i c u l a r method of s o c i o l o g i c a l and philosophical inquiry: The sociology of knowledge i s most d i r e c t l y concerned with the i n t e l l e c t u a l products of experts, whether in science or philosophy, in economic or p o l i t i c a l thought (1957:441). 27 In pursuing the notion of the knowledge of experts, Znaniecki puts forward another of the main f o c i of the sociology of knowledge, that of the s o c i a l condit ions out of which c e r t a i n kinds of knowledge are produced: In s o c i o l o g i c a l studies of s p e c i a l i z e d persons, i t i s the connection between the i n d i v i d u a l and his s o c i a l mi l i eu which i s the main object of i n t e r e s t ; and h is spec ia l i zed a c t i v i t i e s are viewed with reference to the c u l t u r a l s e t t i n g in which they are performed (1975:13)* The s o c i a l set t ings in which we do our work thus great ly inf luences the type of knowledge produced. The knowledge i s to some extent bounded and affected by the phys ica l space in which i t occurs. Some authors claim gerontology const i tutes a p a r t i c u l a r body of knowledge about old age which both organizes knowledge about aging, and v i a i n t e r d i s c i p l i n a r y perspect ives , provides an opportunity to " integrate knowledge gleaned by these d i s c i p l i n e s " (Decker 1980:1). Atchley regards geronto log ica l knowledge as a too l f o r : . . .making e x p l i c i t the systematic and p r e d i c t -able elements of the world around us. It seeks to describe and explain the structure of the s o c i a l world of old people and how they are inf luenced by that structure (1980:6). I f we agree with them, we can use the framework of the sociology of knowledge to look, in a r e f l e x i v e manner, at how t h i s knowledge i s produced. Estes suggests that i f gerontologists wish to be viewed as 'experts ' on aging, they 2 8 s h o u l d b e f u l l y a w a r e o f t h e p o s s i b l e r e p e r c u s s i o n s o f s u c h c l a i m s t o k n o w l e d g e : A s a c o n s e q u e n c e o f t h e i r c l a i m t o k n o w l e d g e a n d e x p e r t i s e , p r o f e s s i o n a l s a n d p r a c t i t i o n e r s w o r k i n g i n g e r o n t o l o g y i n f l u e n c e c o n c e p t i o n s o f p r o b l e m s a n d s o l u t i o n s a t o f f i c i a l l e v e l s o f g o v e r n m e n t . T h e s e v i e w s o f r e a l i t y c o n s t r u c t e d b y e x p e r t s a n d i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d b y p u b l i c p o l i c y h a v e p r o f o u n d p o l i t i c a l a n d s o c i a l c o n -s e q u e n c e s f o r t h e a g e d , w h o h a v e l e s s a n d l e s s p o w e r t o a l t e r t h e s i t u a t i o n ( 1 9 7 9 : 1 4 ) . W h a t g e r o n t o l o g i s t s k n o w a b o u t o l d a g e i s n o t o n l y l e a r n e d f r o m t h e i r i n v o l v e m e n t i n r e s e a r c h , s e r v i c e p r o v i s i o n , t e a c h i n g , a n d a d m i n i s t r a t i o n , b u t a l s o f r o m t h e i r c o m m o n s e n s e o b s e r v a t i o n s o f e v e r y d a y l i f e : A l l o u r k n o w l e d g e o f t h e w o r l d , i n c o m m o n - s e n s e a s w e l l a s s c i e n t i f i c t h i n k i n g , i n v o l v e s , c o n -s t r u c t s , i . e . a s e t o f a b s t r a c t i o n s , g e n e r a l -i z a t i o n s , f o r m u l a t i o n s , i d e a l i z a t i o n s s p e c i f i c t o t h e r e s p e c t i v e l e v e l o f t h o u g h t o r g a n i z -a t i o n . S t r i c t l y s p e a k i n g , t h e r e a r e n o s u c h t h i n g s a s f a c t s , p u r e a n d s i m p l e . A l l f a c t s a r e f r o m t h e o u t s e t s e l e c t e d f r o m a u n i v e r s a l c o n -t e x t b y t h e a c t i v i t i e s o f o u r m i n d . T h e y a r e , t h e r e f o r e , a l w a y s i n t e r p r e t e d f a c t s ( S c h u t z , 1 9 7 3 : 5 ) . P o l y a n i , i n h i s e x e g e s i s o f S c h u t z , r e m i n d s u s t h a t o u r s t o r e o f k n o w l e d g e i s s o v a s t t h a t w e " k n o w m o r e t h a n w e c a n t e l l " ( 1 9 6 7 : 1 8 ) . T h e s o c i o l o g y o f k n o w l e d g e h a s b e e n u s e d t o e x p l a i n h o w i d e a s , v i e w p o i n t s , a n d o p i n i o n s h a v e b e e n f o r m u l a t e d , b y o n e g r o u p o f p e r s o n s t o a f f e c t c h a n g e s i n t h e i r l i v e s a n d i n t h e l i v e s o f o t h e r s . S o m e o f t h e v e r y f a m i l i a r w o r k s o f K a r l M a r x 29 and Frederick Engels address th i s topic d i r e c t l y as in the case of The German Ideology (1939) and A Contribution To The  Critique of P o l i t i c a l Economy (1918) , which discuss the ways d i f f e r e n t class ideologies can bring about l i f e s t y l e s which are inequitable to various members of a given society. The knowledge of one group, they claim, can be used against another which does not have the means to acquire i t . Estes rei t e r a t e s these basic contributions when she argues that: Because s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s , as well as p o l i c y makers and other e l i t e s , contribute to the s o c i a l construction of r e a l i t y , the production of gerontological knowledge and i t s role in public p o l i c i e s deserves careful study. ...empirical and theoretical advances occur as a consequence of the interaction between (1) technical development and elaboration (research methodologies), empirical findings, and knowledge, and (2) extra-technical sources such as changes in sentiments, in background assumptions, and in the personal r e a l i t i e s of s c i e n t i s t s and those around them (1979:7). Although Marx was s p e c i f i c a l l y r e f e r r i n g to the means of mental production in the work place when he said "the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to those who own i t " (1918:64), those persons who "have the means" to control c a p i t a l are also usually those who produce and control ideas in other forms of d a i l y l i f e such as in education, p o l i t i c s , finances, s o c i a l p o l i c y , medicine, and law. Certain types of knowledge can be seen as available to special groups and not others. Dorothy Smith (1973, 1974), Sandra and Daryl J . Bern (1971), Simone de Beauvoir (1961), and 30 S u s a n S o n t a g ( 1 9 7 8 ) a m o n g o t h e r s , h a v e u s e d a s p e c t s o f t h e s o c i o l o g y o f k n o w l e d g e t o e x p l a i n h o w m a l e s a n d f e m a l e s a c q u i r e a n d p r o d u c e d i f f e r e n t i d e o l o g i e s a n d a c t i o n s . A s g e r o n t o l o g i s t s a r e i n t h e b u s i n e s s o f p r o d u c i n g m a t e r i a l s w h i c h b e c o m e p a r t o f t h e " s t o c k o f k n o w l e d g e " o n o l d a g e w h i c h i s g e n e r a t e d i n t o t h e l a y c o m m u n i t y , i t i s i m p o r t a n t t o e x a m i n e h o w t h e y d o t h i s . T h e s o c i o l o g y o f k n o w l e d g e p e r s p e c t i v e p r o v i d e s a f r a m e w o r k o f a n a l y s i s w h i c h a s s i s t s t h i s g o a l . T h e P h e n o m e n o l o g i c a l I m p e r a t i v e I n o r d e r t o c o n t r i b u t e i n a s m a l l w a y t o b o t h t h e s o c i -o l o g y o f k n o w l e d g e p e r s p e c t i v e a n d t h e k n o w l e d g e b a s e o f g e r o n t o l o g y , I h a v e a t t e m p t e d t o b u i l d a t h e o r e t i c a l f r a m e w o r k f o r v i e w i n g o l d a g e a n d r e s e a r c h o n i t a s a n i n t e r a c t i v e p r o c e s s b e t w e e n r e s e a r c h e r s a n d t h o s e b e i n g s t u d i e d . I a p p l y a p h e n o m e n o l o g i c a l a p p r o a c h t o t h e s t u d y o f o l d a g e w h i c h v i e w s t h e a g i n g i n d i v i d u a l a s c o - w o r k e r w i t h t h e r e s e a r c h e r o r k n o w l e d g e p r o d u c e r i n t h e g e r o n t o l o g i c a l e n t e r p r i s e . I t h u s v i e w p e r s o n a l e x p e r i e n c e s o f g r o w i n g o l d , b e t h e y m a d e v i s i b l e t h r o u g h t h e t e l l i n g o f s t o r i e s , a n e c d o t e s , a n d r e m i n i s c e n c e s t h r o u g h j o u r n a l s , l e t t e r s a n d o t h e r w r i t t e n d o c u m e n t s , a s d a t a s o u r c e s w h i c h a r e a s r e l i a b l e a s o t h e r l e s s s u b j e c t i v e m e a s u r e m e n t s s u c h a s a c t i v i t y a n d l i f e - s a t i s f a c t i o n s c a l e s , t h e c o n s t r u c t i o n o f t h e o r i e s , l o n g i t u d i n a l a n d c r o s s s e c t i o n a l r e s e a r c h s t u d i e s . 31 In the interactive or what R.D. Laing c a l l s the " i n t e r -experience" (1967:15) process, the researcher and the i n f o r -mant each share a realm of experiences with respect to a given issue. The task of each i s to share something in common. Laing suggests that we share and use our experience as "evidence," that we "know" not just from the circumstances of our l i v e s but also from the l i v e s of others. In thi s way, not only do we experience, we also experience others as experiencing. In the s o c i a l production of knowledge, i t i s not merely the presumably obj e c t i f y i n g experience of the s c i e n t i s t -observer which can explain, describe, and analyze the topic of inquiry, but also the subjective experiences of the data-provider or actor on the scene. In the phenomenological approach, rather than bring the old into the s c i e n t i f i c world through the laboratory experiment, survey, or questionnaire, the researcher goes into their everyday world to observe phenomena which they deem to be relevant to their l i f e s i t u a t i o n . In thi s way, he or she observes the a c t i v i t i e s of the old as well as l i s t e n i n g to and reading how the i r talk conveys the individual's own experiences. Part of an interactive approach to the study of old age could include an action or advocacy stance on the part of the researcher. In this way, as Bart (1970), Gearing (1960, 1970), and Tax (1964, 1968, 1975) among others have done, the researcher asks the question 'what i s this group of people attempting to do and how can I help them do i t ? ' M y i n v o l v e m e n t w i t h i n g e r o n t o l o g y h a s b e e n g e a r e d t o w a r d s d i r e c t a c t i o n i n t e r m s o f p o l i c y p l a n n i n g , p r o g r a m a n d s e r v i c e e v a l u a t i o n , a n d n e e d s a s s e s s m e n t . E v e n u s e d " s c i e n t i f i c " m e t h o d s t o a c q u i r e " e v i d e n c e " n e e d f o r p r o g r a m s a n d s e r v i c e s , I h a v e a l s o s u b j e c t i v e o r p h e n o m e n o l o g i c a l a p p r o a c h b y t h o u g h I h a v e t o s u p p o r t t h e u s e d a m o r e p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n f o r m a l l y w i t h o l d e r p e o p l e i n s e t t i n g s w h e r e t h e y l i v e . T h r o u g h t h i s p r o c e s s , I h a v e f o u n d t h a t t h e t w o s e t s o f d a t a — s c i e n t i f i c a n d c o m m o n s e n s e — h a v e p r o v i d e d a s h a r p e r p i c t u r e o f t h e s i t u a t i o n s l i v e d b y o l d e r p e o p l e t h a n b y e i t h e r m e t h o d u s e d e x c l u s i v e l y . A r e s e a r c h p e r f o r m a n c e w h i c h w o u l d u t i l i z e t h e l i f e e x -p e r i e n c e s o f t h e o l d a s m e a n i n g f u l a n d n e c e s s a r y i n d e s c r i b i n g a g i n g w o u l d r e q u i r e a n i n t e r a c t i v e m e t h o d o l o g y w h e r e t h e y c o u l d p a r t i c i p a t e i n m o r e t h a n m e r e l y d a t a p r o v i d i n g w a y s a l o n g t h e l i n e s o f t h o s e s u g g e s t e d b y N a n c y K l e i b e r a n d L i n d a L i g h t i n t h e i r r e p o r t C a r i n g f o r O u r s e l v e s : A n i n t e r a c t i v e m e t h o d o l o g y r e q u i r e d t h a t t h e ( V a n c o u v e r W o m e n ' s H e a l t h ) C o l l e c t i v e p a r t i c i -p a t e i n t h e d e s i g n a n d u s e o f r e s e a r c h t e c h n i q u e s , t h e f o r m u l a t i o n o f c o n c l u s i o n s a n d t h e w r i t i n g o f t h e r e p o r t . T h i s c o l l a b o r a t i o n m a d e u s a l l c o n s i d e r a n u m b e r o f i s s u e s b a s i c t o s o c i a l s c i e n c e r e s e a r c h . T h e s e i n c l u d e t h e d i s t r i b u t i o n o f p o w e r b e t w e e n t h e r e s e a r c h e r a n d t h e r e s e a r c h e d ; t h e o w n e r s h i p o f i n f o r m a -t i o n ; t h e p o s s i b i l i t y a n d d e s i r a b i l i t y o f o b j e c t i v i t y ; t h e i m p a c t o f f e e d b a c k o n t h e r e s e a r c h e d g r o u p ; t h e e m p h a s i s o n t h e p r o c e s s v e r s u s t h e p r o d u c t o f t h e r e s e a r c h ; a n d t h e q u e s t i o n o f w h o t h e r e s e a r c h i s f o r ( 1 9 7 8 : 9 ) . 3 3 T h e i n t e n t i o n o f t h e s e a u t h o r s w a s t o m a k e t h e i r r e s e a r c h r e s p o n s i v e t o t h e n e e d s o f t h o s e s t u d i e d . I n t h i s w a y , t h e i r w o r k w a s n o t m e r e l y d e s c r i p t i v e a n d p r e d i c t i v e o f h o w t h e h e a l t h c o l l e c t i v e f u n c t i o n e d , i t a l s o p r o v i d e d t h e c o l l e c t i v e m e m b e r s w i t h i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t t h e i r w o r k i n g p r o c e s s e s a n d d y n a m i c s . K l e i b e r a n d L i g h t r e m i n d r e s e a r c h e r s t h a t c h o i c e s o f d a t a c o l l e c t i o n a r e i n n e e d o f r e f l e c t i o n a n d e x a m i n a t i o n b e c a u s e t h e m e t h o d s o f i n q u i r y a f f e c t s u b s e q u e n t f i n d i n g s : A t t h e v e r y l e a s t w e m u s t c l e a r l y s p e c i f y t h e i s s u e s t o o u r s e l v e s a n d t h e n b e a w a r e o f t h e c h o i c e s w e a r e m a k i n g a n d o u r r e a s o n s f o r t h e s e c h o i c e s . S u c h a n e x a m i n a t i o n m a y , i n i t s e l f , r e s u l t i n d r a m a t i c c h a n g e s i n t h e w a y w e d o o u r r e s e a r c h . I n m a n y c a s e s , o u r c h o i c e s a r e d i c t a t e d n o t b y r e s e a r c h n e c e s s i t y b u t b y t r a d i t i o n , h a b i t , o r p e r s o n a l f e a r s o f v u l n e r a b i l i t y . We m u s t b e p r e p a r e d t o t a k e s o m e r i s k s , b o t h p r o f e s s i o n a l l y a n d p e r s o n a l l y . I t i s u n d o u b t e d l y m u c h m o r e p o s s i b l e t h a n w e e v e r w o u l d h a v e t h o u g h t t o b e o p e n w i t h t h o s e w e a r e r e s e a r c h i n g ( 1 9 7 8 : 3 0 ) . O f t e n , g e r o n t o l o g i c a l r e s e a r c h i s a i m e d a t d e f i n i n g a n d s u g -g e s t i n g p r o g r a m s f o r p o l i c y i m p l e m e n t a t i o n . I n t h i s w a y , a n e v a l u a t i o n o f a l r e a d y e x i s t i n g s e r v i c e s i s c o n d u c t e d o r t h e n e e d f o r a n e w s e r v i c e i s d o c u m e n t e d . C h a n g e s t o a l r e a d y e x i s t i n g s e r v i c e s o r s u g g e s t i o n s f o r n e w o n e s o f t e n r e q u i r e p o l i t i c a l a n d e c o n o m i c m a n i p u l a t i o n . I t i s t h e o l d a s c o n s u m e r s , a n d n o t r e s e a r c h e r s a s d o c u m e n t e r s , w h o n e e d b e h e a r d i f c h a n g e s a r e t o c o m e a b o u t . T h e d e c i s i o n t o i n v o l v e t h e o l d m o r e f u l l y i n r e s e a r c h e n d e a v o r s i s n o t b a s e d s o m u c h o n t h e p r i n c i p l e o f d e m o c r a t i c i n v o l v e m e n t a s o n p r a c t i c a l i t y . 34 I n m a n y s c i e n t i f i c e n d e a v o u r s , t h e r e s e a r c h e r s t u d i e s a c o m m u n i t y o r p h e n o m e n o n i n w h i c h h e o r s h e i s n e i t h e r a m e m b e r i n o r a p a r t i c i p a n t . W i t h g e r o n t o l o g y , r e s e a r c h e r s m a y c o n c e i v -a b l y b e c o m e s u b j e c t s i n t e r m s o f f u t u r e d e v e l o p m e n t s i n t h e s t u d y o f o l d e r p e r s o n s . T h i s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n c a u s e s s o m e g e r o n t o l o g i s t s t o r e f l e c t u p o n t h e i r o w n w o r k . A " s t e a d i l y a g i n g " s o c i a l w o r k i n f o r m a n t p u t i t t h i s w a y : A s I g e t n e a r e r t h a t s i x t y - f i v e b r a c k e t , m y f o c u s s h i f t s . I u s e d t o b e s o " g u n g h o " o n a l l t h e r e s e a r c h w e w e r e d o i n g . N o w I a m f a r m o r e c r i t i c a l o f w h a t w e d o i n g e r o n t o l o g y b e c a u s e I f e a r t h a t I s h a l l t o o b e o n t h e r e c e i v i n g l i n e o f a l l t h i s s c i e n t i f i c e x p e r i m e n t a t i o n . G o d f o r b i d a s t u d e n t o f m i n e m i g h t o n e d a y i n t e r -v i e w m e a b o u t m y a g i n g ( A u g . 1 7 , 1 9 8 2 ) . U n l i k e o t h e r s c i e n t i f i c p u r s u i t s , t h e s t u d y o f o l d a g e i s n o t m e r e l y a d i s c u s s i o n o f ' t h e i r ' l i v e s , i t i s a l s o a p a r t o f t h e h i s t o r y o f ' o u r ' l i v e s . I n o r d e r t o m e e t m y p e r s o n a l c r i t e r i a o f a n a p p r o p r i a t e g e r o n t o l o g y , t h e s t u d y o f a g i n g w o u l d r e f l e c t b o t h t h e t h e o r e t i c a l a n d p r a c t i c a l a s p e c t s o f g r o w i n g o l d e r . I t w o u l d a t t e n d t o t h e i s s u e s b o t h f r o m a n o b j e c t i v e o r s c i e n t i f i c s t a n d p o i n t a n d f r o m t h e s u b j e c t i v e r e a l i t i e s o f t h e o l d t h e m s e l v e s . S u c h a s t u d y w o u l d a l s o e x a m i n e h o w s o c i a l r e a l i t i e s o f o l d a g e a r e c o n s t r u c t e d a n d m a i n t a i n e d i n e v e r y d a y l i f e . T h e d a t a w h i c h i n f o r m s t h i s w o r k r e f l e c t s e x p e r i e n c e s I h a v e h a d a s a g e r o n t o l o g i s t . S i n c e p r o d u c i n g m y f i r s t p i e c e o f w o r k o n t h e s u b j e c t i n 1 9 7 6 , I h a v e b e e n i n v o l v e d i n d o c u m e n t i n g i s s u e s o f c o n c e r n t o o l d p e o p l e . S o m e o f m y w o r k 35 i n t h i s f i e l d h a s b e e n a c a d e m i c t h r o u g h t h e t e a c h i n g o f c o u r s e s a n d p r e s e n t a t i o n s g i v e n a t w o r k s h o p s . O n o t h e r o c c a s i o n s , I h a v e p l a n n e d a n d c o n d u c t e d r e s e a r c h , a n d a c t e d a s c h a i r p e r s o n o f a p r o v i n c i a l p l a n n i n g c o u n c i l ' s c o m m i t t e e o n a g i n g . I h a v e p a r t i c i p a t e d i n t h e p l a n n i n g , i m p l e m e n t a t i o n , a n d e v a l u a t i o n o f g o v e r n m e n t p o l i c i e s w h i c h c o n c e r n t h e o l d a n d t h e i r f a m i l i e s . A s a m e m b e r o f t h e B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a d e l e g a t i o n t o t h e N a t i o n a l A d v i s o r y C o u n c i l o n A g i n g m e e t i n g s i n O t t a w a , I h a v e o b s e r v e d t h r o u g h d i s c u s s i o n s t h a t t h e i s s u e s r e l e v a n t t o o l d e r p e r s o n s a n d g e r o n t o l o g i s t s h e r e a r e s h a r e d b y t h o s e i n o t h e r p r o v i n c e s . D u r i n g t h e p a s t s e v e n y e a r s , I h a v e b e e n i n v o l v e d w i t h m a n y i s s u e s r e l e v a n t t o t h e o l d a n d g e r o n t o l o g i s t s , a m o n g t h e m c r i m e p r e v e n t i o n , t h e s p e c i a l n e e d s o f w o m e n a n d e t h n i c s e n i o r s , h o u s i n g a n d h e a l t h c o n c e r n s , b e r e a v e m e n t a n d l o s s , a n d t h e r o l e o f o l d e r p e r s o n s i n d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g p r o c e d u r e s . O n e i s s u e s h a r e d b y b o t h g e r o n t o l o g i s t s a n d o l d e r p e r -s o n s , f o r e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t r e a s o n s , i s t h a t o f t h e i n v o l v e -m e n t o f o l d e r p e o p l e i n m a t t e r s r e l e v a n t t o t h e i r l i v e s , e s p e c i a l l y w h e n s e r v i c e s , p r o g r a m s , a n d p o l i c i e s a r e a f f e c t e d . O n e i n f o r m a n t , a r e t i r e d h i g h s c h o o l t e a c h e r , n o t e d : G e r o n t o l o g i s t s t a l k a b o u t i n v o l v i n g s e n i o r s i n g o v e r n m e n t p l a n n i n g s t r a t e g i e s a n d s e r v i c e s i n o r d e r t o r a i s e o u r s t a t u s . We t a l k a b o u t b e i n g i n v o l v e d a s a m a t t e r o f f a c t , n o t a s a g i f t f r o m a c a d e m i c s a n d p r o f e s s i o n a l s , b u t a s a r i g h t i n o u r r o l e a s t a x p a y e r s ( A u g u s t 1 9 8 2 ) . 36 T h e d i f f e r e n c e b e t w e e n " s t a t u s " a n d " r o l e " i s a p h i l o -s o p h i c a l s h i f t i n p e r s p e c t i v e n o t a l w a y s s e e n a s v a l i d b y s o m e g e r o n t o l o g i s t s , b u t i s c l e a r l y d e l i n e a t e d b y s o m e s e n i o r s . A s t h e p r e v i o u s i n f o r m a n t c o n t i n u e d : S t a t u s i s s o m e t h i n g w h i c h p e o p l e c a n g i v e o r d e n y t o e a c h o t h e r . I n t h i s s e n s e , i t c a n b e a n e g a t i v e t h i n g . S t a t u s i s p r o v i d e d t o p e o p l e o n t h e b a s i s o f t h e i r c o n t r i b u t i o n t o s o c i e t y . S o m e w o u l d s a y t h a t s e n i o r s n o l o n g e r c o n t r i -b u t e , t h u s t h e y h a v e n o s t a t u s , o r a t b e s t a l o w o n e . R o l e i s s o m e t h i n g y o u a r e . Y o u a r e a l w a y s i n a r o l e e v e n t h o u g h i t m a y c h a n g e . T h e r o l e o f t a x p a y e r a n d c o n c e r n e d c i t i z e n s t a y s w i t h u s a l l o f o u r l i v e s . I t w o u l d h e l p u s i f t h e p r o f e s s i o n a l s w o u l d r e c o g n i z e t h i s d i f f e r e n c e . T h e s h i f t i n f o c u s t h i s i n f o r m a n t p o i n t s t o w o u l d a l l o w t h e o l d t o b e s e e n a s c o n t i n u a l c o n t r i b u t o r s . I d o n o t e n v i s i o n a g e r o n t o l o g y o f t h e f u t u r e c o m p l e t e l y c o n d u c t e d b y o l d e r p e o p l e a d d r e s s i n g o n l y c o n c e r n s t h e y r a i s e . R e s e a r c h t o p i c s c o u l d b e g e n e r a t e d b y c i t i z e n s ' g r o u p s , s e n i o r s ' o r g a n i z a t i o n s a n d n e t w o r k s , a n d k e y i n d i v i d u a l s w i t h e x p e r i e n c e a n d k n o w l e d g e i n t h e f i e l d a s w e l l a s b y a c a d e m i c s a n d p r o f e s s i o n a l s . R e s e a r c h d e s i g n a n d m e t h o d s w o u l d i n v o l v e s u b j e c t s a s w e l l a s r e s e a r c h e r s , a n d a c c e s s t o i n f o r m a t i o n g a i n e d f r o m t h e w o r k w o u l d b e m a d e a v a i l a b l e t o b o t h g r o u p s f o r m u t u a l l y a g r e e d u p o n f o l l o w - u p a c t i o n . I m p l e m e n t a t i o n o f r e s e a r c h r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s w o u l d b e a j o i n t e f f o r t a n d b o t h p a r t i e s w o u l d b e r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t h e t r a n s m i s s i o n o f i n f o r m a t i o n t o t h e g e n e r a l p u b l i c , f u n d i n g b o d i e s , a n d o t h e r i n t e r e s t e d g r o u p s . 37 b ) T h e F i e l d w o r k M e t h o d ; T h e E x p e r i e n c e o f P a r t i c i p a n t O b s e r v a t i o n T h e p r o c e s s b y w h i c h m a t e r i a l s w e r e g a t h e r e d i s g e n e r a l l y r e f e r r e d t o a s f i e l d w o r k . T h e r e s e a r c h e r w h o e n t e r s t h e s e t t i n g a s a p a r t i c i p a n t o b s e r v e r s e l e c t s a p l a c e , a f i e l d w o r k a r e n a , i n w h i c h t o c o n d u c t a n e t h n o g r a p h y , a d e s c r i p t i v e a c c o u n t , o f s o m e a s p e c t s o f e v e r y d a y l i f e e v e n t s a n d t h e n p r o c e e d s t o d o c u m e n t t h e r e a l i t y h e o r s h e p e r c e i v e s t o b e g o i n g o n . E x p e r i e n c e s o f ' w h a t w a s g o i n g o n ' w e r e a r r i v e d a t t h r o u g h n e g o t i a t i o n a n d c o n s e n s u s w i t h o t h e r s p r e s e n t i n t h e s e t t i n g a t t h e s a m e t i m e . T o p r o d u c e d e s c r i p t i o n s o f ' w h a t w e n t o n " t h e f i e l d w o r k e r m a k e s u s e o f m a n y r e c o r d i n g d e v i c e s w h i c h c a p t u r e t h e e v e n t s o b s e r v e d . H e o r s h e m a k e s n o t e s , t a p e s c o n v e r s a t i o n s , r e a d s a v a i l a b l e l i t e r a t u r e , a n d o b s e r v e s a n d a n a l y z e s b e h a v i o u r b o t h i n t e r m s o f v e r b a l i n t e r a c t i o n s , a n d n o n - v e r b a l s i g n s a n d g e s t u r e s u s e d t o c o m m u n i c a t e r u l e s a n d e x p e c t a t i o n s t o t h o s e i n t h e s e t t i n g . T h e r e c o r d i n g o f s y m b o l i c i n t e r a c t i o n s a r e t h e n u s e d t o d e t e r m i n e t h e b e h a v i o u r s a n d a c t i v i t i e s w h i c h o c c u r r e d . A p r o c e d u r e t a k e s p l a c e w h e r e r e s e a r c h e r s d e c i d e w h i c h d a t a b e s t d e s c r i b e ' w h a t w e n t o n ' f o r t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r p u r p o s e s . I w o u l d c h o o s e n o t t o r e c o r d i t e m s o f a ' g o s s i p ' n a t u r e , t a l k a b o u t ' w h e r e w e s h a l l e a t t o n i g h t , ' ' w h e n w e a r e r e t u r n i n g t o V a n c o u v e r , ' a n d s o o n . T h e s e l e c t i o n p r o c e s s c a n o c c u r b o t h d u r i n g a n d a f t e r e v e n t s h a v e t a k e n p l a c e . 38 I n o r d e r t o r e c o r d events which d i s p l a y e d o l d age and g e r o n t o l o g y as t h e s o c i a l accomplishments o f persons g o i n g about t h e i r n o r mal, everyday a f f a i r s , I chose t o be p r e s e n t i n s e t t i n g s where I c o u l d see and hear t h e s e t o p i c s d i s c u s s e d . I exp e c t e d o l d p e o p l e , and some g e r o n t o l o g i s t s , t o con g r e g a t e i n s p e c i f i c p l a c e s . I made t h e as s u m p t i o n , borne out by o t h e r s o c i o l o g i c a l s t u d i e s o f p e r s o n s ' b e h a v i o u r i n p u b l i c p l a c e s , t h a t s o c i a l s e t t i n g s a re t e m p o r a l l y and s p a t i a l l y c o n s t r u c t e d f o r c e r t a i n a c t i v i t i e s t o t a k e p l a c e w i t h i n them. I n h e r e n t i n the e n t e r p r i s e i s the i d e a t h a t the d o i n g o f f i e l d w o r k somehow s e p a r a t e s t h e r e s e a r c h e r from t h o s e b e i n g s t u d i e d , making o f the ethnographer an ' o u t s i d e r . ' Some r e g a r d t h i s ' d i s t a n c e ' as c r u c i a l and n e c e s s a r y because i t i s seen t o p r o v i d e o b j e c t i v i t y t o what t h e y see as an e s s e n t i a l l l y ' s c i e n t i f i c ' p u r s u i t . As S t o d d a r t has p o i n t e d o u t , et h n o g r a p h e r s share a conc e r n t h a t t h e i r p r e s e n c e i n a s e t t i n g not " t a i n t " t he b e h a v i o u r o c c u r r i n g w i t h i n i t . I n o r d e r t o a v o i d t h i s dilemma, the r e s e a r c h e r i s s a i d t o p r e s e n t him or h e r s e l f as " i n v i s i b l e , " as one who shows no " s y m b o l i c attachment" t o the eve n t s and peopl e under o b s e r v a t i o n and who masks " i d e n t i t y as an e t h n o g r a p h e r " ( n.d. 8-9). Thus, t h e f i e l d w o r k e r t r i e s t o c a p t u r e t h e " n a t u r a l " s t a t e o f the w o r l d b e i n g o b s e r v e d , " p r e s e r v i n g " i t from a r t i f i c i a l or " t a i n t e d " p e r c e p t i o n s . As my r o l e w i t h i n some o f the f i e l d w o r k s e t t i n g s was t h a t o f 39 par t i c ipant observer a c t i o n - s o c i o l o g i s t , there to a s s i s t and use my ana lys is of the s i t u a t i o n in an i n t e r a c t i v e way with the perceptions of others, the dilemma of "preserving" the world in i t s "natura l" state did not a r i se in quite the same way as Stoddart notes. Olesen and Whittaker point to another issue ra ised in the f ieldwork experience: Obviously, where data are gathered through both i n t e r a c t i o n and the researcher 's own involvement i t i s imperative that the reader know the nature of these processes (1968:20). But why i s i t "obvious" and "imperative?" Is i t a neces-sary methodological process by which researchers r a t i o n a l i z e t h e i r act ions to account to informants or to peers? Stoddart claims that the world recreated out of the data must be be l ievable to col leagues and other ethnographers. Olesen an'd Whittaker c laim that i t must be done to show the process of "knowledge product ion," again presumably to col leagues and not necessar i l y to informants, although t h i s may be impl ied . The language in which events are recounted, in many senses t e l l s the story of what went on. If the account i s provided in j a r g o n i s t i c ways, the currency of exchange, then perhaps the language used t e l l s a d i f f e r e n t kind of story than that t o l d by the informants themselves. For many ethnographers, there i s the problem not only of how to t e l l colleagues how i t ' r e a l l y was,' but a lso how to permit informants to recognize some parts of t h e i r own l i v e s in the work. Translat ions are often necessary for both groups. 40 T h e l a n g u a g e u s e d d o e s i n d e e d t e l l t h e s t o r y ; i t p e r h a p s b e c o m e s t h e s t o r y . I f t h i s d o c u m e n t h a d b e e n w r i t t e n f o r i n f o r m a n t s , i t s f o r m w o u l d h a v e b e e n d i f f e r e n t w i t h r e s p e c t t o l a n g u a g e , m a n n e r o f p r e s e n t a t i o n , s t y l e , l e n g t h , a n d c o n -t e n t . S p e a k i n g b r o a d l y , i t w o u l d h a v e l o o k e d m o r e l i k e a ' h o w t o ' b o o k . F o r a f u r t h e r e x a m p l e , t a k i n g t h e " C r i m e a n d t h e E l d e r l y " s t u d y I c o n d u c t e d i n 1 9 7 8 , i t s o b j e c t i v e s w e r e t h r e e -f o l d : f i r s t , t o i d e n t i f y c r i m e s a g a i n s t t h e o l d b y a s k i n g t h e m a n d t h e i r c a r e - p r o v i d e r s t o s h a r e w i t h m e t h e i r e x p e r i e n c e s ; s e c o n d , t h e f r e q u e n c y a n d t y p e s o f c r i m e w e r e d e t a i l e d ; t h i r d , p r e v e n t i o n t e c h n i q u e s w e r e d e v i s e d a n d p r e s e n t e d , i n b o t h w r i t t e n f o r m a n d t h r o u g h w o r k s h o p s , h e l p i n g o l d e r p e r s o n s a v o i d v i c t i m i z a t i o n i n t h e f u t u r e . T h e g o a l o f t h a t w o r k w a s t o u s e s o c i o l o g i c a l t e c h n i q u e s t o a c q u i r e a n d d o c u m e n t i n f o r m a t i o n , t h e n t o s u g g e s t s t r a t e g i e s f o r c h a n g e . I u s e d a n a c t i o n s o c i o l o g i c a l f r a m e w o r k t o h e l p a c o m m u n i t y d e a l w i t h p r o b l e m s i t s m e m b e r s h a d i d e n t i f i e d . T h i s a n d m u c h o f m y o t h e r w o r k h a s b e e n p r e s e n t e d i n t h e f o r m o f a ' h o w t o ' a p p r o a c h , i t h a s b e e n p r e s c r i p t i v e a n d w e l l a s d e s c r i p t i v e . I t a p p e a r e d f r o m m y f i e l d w o r k e x p e r i e n c e t h a t p e o p l e b e h a v e t o w a r d s e a c h o t h e r i n w a y s w h i c h a r e a c c e p t a b l e a n d f a m i l i a r t o t h e m . F o r e x a m p l e , f o r m a n y p e o p l e w h o a c t e d a s i n f o r m a n t s , I b e c a m e a s o r t o f s u r r o g a t e g r a n d c h i l d . S o m e w o u l d s a y t h i n g s l i k e " o h y e s , m y g r a n d - d a u g h t e r i s a l s o a t u n i v e r s i t y , " o r " m y , f a n c y a g i r l g e t t i n g a P h . D . I n m y d a y , w e c o u l d n ' t h a v e d o n e t h a t . M u s t t e l l m y d a u g h t e r . " P e o p l e h a d 41 t o d o w o r k t o m a k e s e n s e o f m y i n t e r a c t i o n s w i t h t h e m . O f t e n t h e y d i d s o b y c h o o s i n g a r o l e w h i c h w a s f a m i l i a r t o t h e m s u c h a s ' f r i e n d , ' o r ' s o c i a l w o r k e r ' o r ' g e r o n t o l o g i s t . ' F o r m a n y o f t h e o l d e r p e o p l e I w o r k e d w i t h , t h e r o l e o f ' f r i e n d ' w a s n o t t o t a l l y a c c e p t a b l e t o t h e m w i t h o u t a ' p a r e n t a l ' t y p e a d d i t i o n t o i t . I n t h i s w a y , s o m e o f o u r i n t e r a c t i o n s t o o k t h e f o r m o f a d v i c e a n d I w a s c o u n s e l l e d o n m a t t e r s w h i c h w e r e " d i f f e r e n t w h e n I w a s y o u r a g e " a n d " n o w t h a t I a m o l d e n o u g h t o b e y o u r m o t h e r o r f a t h e r . " T h e r e a l i z a t i o n t h a t c e r t a i n e x p e c t a t i o n s a r e i n e f f e c t f o r p e o p l e o f d i f f e r e n t a g e s i s c o n s t a n t l y i n v o k e d a s a r e s o u r c e i n m y r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h o l d e r p e o p l e . T h e p r o v i s i o n o f a d v i c e a n d t h e p a s s i n g o n o f l i f e e x p e r i e n c e s i n s o m e w a y l e g i t i m i z e s t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n a ' y o u n g ' s o c i o l o g i s t a n d a n ' o l d ' p e r s o n . T h e r o l e o f e t h n o g r a p h e r w a s e a s i e r t o ' p u l l o f f i n g e r o n t o l o g i c a l s e t t i n g s . P r o f e s s i o n a l s a n d a c a d e m i c s r e c o g n i z e r e s e a r c h e r s a n d r e s p e c t i n d i v i d u a l s w h o s a y t h a t t h e y a r e i n a s e t t i n g t o ' d o a s t u d y . ' A l s o , i n t h e s e s e t t i n g s I ' b l e n d e d i n ; ' i t w a s a p p r o p r i a t e f o r p e o p l e w h o l o o k e d a n d a c t e d l i k e I d i d t o b e i n t h a t s e t t i n g . O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , w h e n I c o n d u c t e d w o r k w i t h o l d e r p e r s o n s , I s t u c k o u t l i k e ' a s o r e t h u m b . ' F o r e x a m p l e , w h e n I a t t e n d e d s e n i o r s ' c e n t r e s , I w o u l d o f t e n b e t h e o n l y y o u n g e r l o o k i n g p e r s o n i n t h e r o o m a n d w o u l d b e r e c e i v e d w i t h c o m m e n t s s u c h a s " w h a t a r e y o u d o i n g h e r e ? , " o r " s u r e l y y o u w a n t t h e a c t i v i t y r o o m f o r y o u n g p e o p l e . " A s I b e c a m e m o r e f a m i l i a r t o a n d a c c e p t e d b y p e o p l e i n t h e s e t t i n g s , I w a s e x p e c t e d t o 1 k n o w ' w h a t b e h a v i o u r s w e r e a p p r o p r i a t e a n d s o m e t i m e s t o t e l l o t h e r " n e w c o m e r s ' w h a t I h a d l e a r n e d . F o r e x a m p l e , a f t e r I h a d a t t e n d e d a c o m m u n i t y c e n t r e i n t h e d o w n t o w n a r e a o f V a n c o u v e r t o c o n d u c t o b s e r v a t i o n s a n d i n t e r v i e w s o n t h e n e e d s o f s e n i o r s i n 1 9 8 1 , a c o u n s e l l o r w o u l d r e f e r n e w p e o p l e t o m e , s a y i n g " s e e t h a t w o m a n o v e r t h e r e w i t h t h e n o t e b o o k ? A s k h e r w h e r e t h e l u n c h r o o m i s , " o r " J e a n e t t e h a s b e e n a r o u n d f o r a w h i l e n o w ; s h e ' l l h e l p y o u g e t i n t o t h e r i g h t l i n e u p f o r t h e b u s c a r d . " I n s o m e s e t t i n g s , m y p r e s e n c e w a s a c c e p t e d a n d u t i l i z e d i n w a y s o t h e r t h a n I h a d o r g i n a l l y i n t e n d e d . S o m e t i m e s i t w a s l e s s w e l c o m e . F o r e x a m p l e , I h a d a s k e d f o r a n d h a d b e e n g i v e n p e r m i s s i o n t o s p e a k t o a g r o u p o f e t h n i c s e n i o r s w h o l i v e i n a n i n s t i t u t i o n . I w a s t o l d b y t h e s o c i a l w o r k e r i n c h a r g e t h a t t h e s e n i o r s " w o u l d l o v e " t o t a l k t o m e ( a b o u t t h e i r n e e d s ) . W h e n I a r r i v e d I w a s i n t r o d u c e d , a n d t h e n w a s g r e e t e d w i t h g r u n t s a n d g r o a n s w h i c h l e d m e t o s u s p e c t t h a t I w a s n o t w e l c o m e . W h e n I a s k e d o n e o f t h e o l d m e n i f I w a s i n t e r r u p t i n g s o m e a c t i v i t y , h e i n f o r m e d m e t h a t " t h i s i s o u r s t o r y t e l l i n g t i m e a n d I w a s g o i n g t o t e l l t h e m a l l a b o u t J e r u s a l e m . " A n o t h e r w o m a n i n f o r m e d m e " t h i s i s o u r s p e c i a l t i m e . Y o u a r e n i c e b u t w e d o n ' t w a n t t o t a l k t o y o u n o w . " I n t h i s i n s t a n c e , I d e c i d e d t o l e a v e t h e s e t t i n g a n d r e t u r n a t a m o r e s u i t a b l e t i m e . A f t e r c o m p l e t i n g m y f i r s t p i e c e o f r e s e a r c h o n a g i n g i n 1 9 7 6 , I d r e w s o m e c o n c l u s i o n s b a s e d u p o n m y f i e l d w o r k 43 e x p e r i e n c e . T o s o m e e x t e n t , t h e y a r e a s t r u e n o w a s t h e y w e r e t h e n : T h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t t h i n g I l e a r n e d f r o m t h i s r e s e a r c h w a s h o w t o b e t t e r u n d e r s t a n d a n d c o m m u n i c a t e w i t h o l d e r p e o p l e . W h e n I f i r s t b e g a n t o i n t e r v i e w o l d e r c i t i z e n s I f e l t a s t h o u g h e v e r y o n e o f m y l e a r n e d m e a n s o f c o m m u n i c a t i o n w e r e u s e l e s s o r h a d c e a s e d t o f u n c t i o n . S o m e I t a l k e d w i t h c o u l d n o t s e e v e r y w e l l a n d m y u s u a l c o m m u n i c a t i o n t h r o u g h e y e c o n t a c t , b o d y , a n d f a c i a l e x p r e s s i o n s w a s n o t r e l a t e d t o . O t h e r s h a d d i f f i c u l t y w i t h h e a r i n g a n d I f o u n d m y s e l f s h o u t i n g a n d u s i n g e x a g g e r a t e d f a c i a l a n d b o d y e x p r e s s i o n s . W h e n a t t e m p t i n g t o m a k e m y r e m a r k s c l e a r e r I f o u n d m y s e l f s p e a k i n g a s I w o u l d t o a c h i l d y e t a l s o m a k i n g a n a l o g i e s t o e v e n t s , p e o p l e o r t h i n g s w h i c h a s a c h i l d I h a d u n d e r s t o o d . I n r e t r o s p e c t , I t h i n k t h a t I b e h a v e d t h i s w a y b e c a u s e i t h a s b e e n i n m y e x p e r i e n c e t o b e a c h i l d b u t I h a v e y e t t o b e a n o l d e r p e r s o n . W h e n I h a d b e c o m e a w a r e o f m y o w n b e h a v i o u r , I w a s a b l e t o s e e t h e d i f f i c u l t i e s I w a s e x p e r i e n c i n g i n c o m m u n i c a t i n g w i t h o l d e r p e o p l e w a s a s m u c h m y r e s p o n s i b i l i t y a s i t w a s t h e i r s e e m i n g i n a b i l i t y t o u n d e r s t a n d m e . O n c e I h a d a c k n o w l e d g e d i n m y s e l f t h e s t e r e o t y p i c a l w a y i n w h i c h I w a s r e l a t i n g — b e i n g i n d e p e n d e n t , y o u n g a n d i m p a t i e n t — I c o u l d , t h r o u g h g i v i n g u p t h e s e l e a r n e d r o l e s , b e m o r e o p e n t o e x p e r i e n c i n g t h e p e o p l e a s t h e y w e r e . I f o u n d t h e y w e r e a s v a r i e d a n d i n t e r e s t i n g a s a n y o t h e r a g e g r o u p w i t h w h o m I h a d c o m e i n t o c o n t a c t ( A u g e r 1 9 7 6 : 3 6 ) . T h e A n a l y s i s o f W r i t t e n T e x t s , D o c u m e n t s ,  Q u e s t i o n n a i r e s a n d I n t e r v i e w s T h e i n c l u d e d o r g a n i z a t m e t h o d s I u s e d t o c o l l e c t d a t a f o r t h i s t h e s i s t a k i n g f i e l d n o t e s o f o b s e r v e d a c t i v i t i e s a n d t h e i o n a l f e a t u r e s o f p h y s i c a l s e t t i n g s , t a p e -4 4 r e c o r d i n g c o n v e r s a t i o n s , p r o c e e d i n g s o f m e e t i n g s , c o n f e r e n c e s , w o r k s h o p s , a n d s o o n . W r i t t e n m a t e r i a l s w h i c h d e a l t w i t h g e r o n t o l o g y a n d o l d a g e w e r e c o l l e c t e d , c o n t e x t u a l l y a n a l y z e d a n d i n d e x e d o n t o c a r d s l i s t e d u n d e r a u t h o r , t i t l e a n d s u b j e c t . I n s o m e i n s t a n c e s , e n t i r e t a p e - r e c o r d e d e v e n t s w e r e t r a n s c r i b e d i n t o w r i t t e n a c c o u n t s . I n o t h e r c a s e s , s p e c i f i c s e g m e n t s o f m a t e r i a l o n l y w e r e s e l e c t e d . I t h u s c o l l e c t e d d a t a w h i c h r e p r e s e n t e d r o u t i n e l y o c c u r r i n g i n t e r a c t i o n s t a k i n g p l a c e i n a v a r i e t y o f s o c i a l s e t t i n g s . I t h e n s e l e c t e d t h o s e p i e c e s o f a c t i v i t y w h i c h I f e l t m o s t a p p r o p r i a t e l y f i t t e d t h e s u b j e c t u n d e r d i s c u s s i o n , n a m e l y , t h e s o c i a l c o n s t r u c t i o n o f a g e d n e s s . T a k i n g m y o r i g i n a l a s s u m p t i o n t h a t o l d a g e i s a s o c i a l l y c o n s t r u c t e d p h e n o m e n o n , I s o u g h t t o d i s c o v e r i f t h i s w a s i n d e e d s o , a n d i f s o , h o w i t w a s a c c o m p l i s h e d i n t h e d a i l y l i f e a c t i v i t i e s o f g e r o n t o l o g i s t s , o l d e r p e r s o n s , a n d o t h e r s . T h e d a t a c o l l e c t e d w a s t h e n e x a m i n e d t o s e e w h a t t h e m e s e m e r g e d f r o m i t . i n t h i s s e n s e , t h e c o n t e n t s o f t h e t h e s i s a r e g r o u n d e d i n t h e d a t a i t s e l f , i n a s i m i l a r w a y t o t h e " g r o u n d e d t h e o r y " o f G l a z e r a n d S t r a u s s w h i c h t h e y d e f i n e a s t h e " d i s c o v e r y o f t h e o r y f r o m d a t a " ( 1 9 6 7 : 1 4 ) , i n s t e a d o f a n a. p r i o r i s i t u a t i o n i n w h i c h t h e t h e o r y s u g g e s t s w h e r e t o l o o k f o r d a t a . T h e m a t e r i a l s s u g g e s t t h a t o l d a g e i s a s o c i a l l y c o n s t r u c t e d p h e n o m e n o n i n v o k e d b y m e m b e r s i n a v a r i e t y o f w a y s a s t h e y g o a b o u t r o u t i n e d a i l y a f f a i r s . N o t i o n s o f o l d a g e 45 a r e s e e n t o b e d i f f e r e n t i a l l y p r o d u c e d b y o l d e r p e r s o n s a n d g e r o n t o l o g i s t s . T h e d a t a s u g g e s t t h a t t h e s e c o n t r a s t i n g r e a l i t i e s o f a g i n g p l a y a n i m p o r t a n t r o l e b o t h i n s o c i a l p r o g r a m s , p o l i c i e s , a n d s e r v i c e s d e s i g n e d t o a s s i s t t h e o l d , a n d w i t h r e s p e c t t o t h e g e n e r a l a t t i t u d e s t o w a r d s o l d e r p e o p l e h e l d b y t h e i r f a m i l i e s , f r i e n d s , a n d c o h o r t s a s w e l l a s o t h e r a g e g r o u p s w i t h w h o m t h e y c o m e i n t o c o n t a c t . A l t h o u g h m y r e a s o n s f o r a t t e n d i n g e v e n t s i n w h i c h g e r o n t o l o g y w a s b e i n g a c c o m p l i s h e d w e r e n o t n e c e s s a r i l y d i f f e r e n t f r o m o t h e r s w h o a t t e n d e d , i . e . I t o o w a s t h e r e t o h e a r t h e g u e s t s p e a k e r s , g a i n a n d p r o v i d e i n f o r m a t i o n , c o n v e r s e w i t h o t h e r s , d e c i d e g o a l s a n d o b j e c t i v e s a n d s o o n , I a l s o a t t e n d e d a s o n e w h o c o l l e c t e d d a t a w h i c h e x p l a i n s a n d a c c o u n t s f o r t h e p h e n o m e n o n b e i n g s t u d i e d . T h u s , w h a t S c h u t z c a l l s m y " s y s t e m o f r e l e v a n c e s " w a s p r o b a b l y d i f f e r e n t f r o m t h o s e o f o t h e r s w h o a l s o o c c u p i e d t h e s e t t i n g s . A s S c h u t z f o r m u l a t e s i t , w h a t I o b s e r v e a s a c o m m o n s e n s e m e m b e r i s d i f f e r e n t f r o m w h a t I o b s e r v e a s a s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t : S c i e n t i f i c t h o u g h t o b j e c t s a r e d i f f e r e n t f r o m c o m m o n - s e n s e t h o u g h t o b j e c t s , t h e y a r e c o n s t r u c t e d t o b e t y p i c a l o f w h a t e v e r i s b e i n g s t u d i e d . . . W h a t i s t a k e n f o r g r a n t e d i n t h e b i o g r a p h i c a l s i t u a t i o n o f d a i l y l i f e m a y b e c o m e q u e s t i o n a b l e f o r t h e s c i e n t i s t ( 1 9 7 3 : 3 7 ) . I n o t h e r w o r d s , t h e e v e r y d a y w o r l d o f t h e g e r o n t o l o g i s t b e c o m e s n o t o n l y a t a k e n - f o r - g r a n t e d o n e , b u t a l s o o n e w h i c h n e e d s t o b e e x p l i c a t e d a s c o n c r e t e p h e n o m e n o n . 46 I n t h i s way, t h e a c t i v i t i e s which o c c u r r e d w i t h i n t h e s e s e t t i n g s were seen by me as t o p i c s f o r i n v e s t i g a t i o n . As a s o c i o l o g i s t , my r o l e i n the s e t t i n g s was a l s o t o e x p l i c a t e and d e s c r i b e t h e p r o d u c t i o n and r e p r o d u c t i o n o f g e r o n t o l o g y and o l d age as accomplishments o f tho s e p r e s e n t . Thus, my own e x p e r i e n c e s as a member o f a shar e d s o c i e t y o f persons i n t e r e s t e d i n g e r o n t o l o g y enabled me t o r e c o g n i z e a c t i v i t i e s as the s o c i a l c o n s t r u c t i o n o f t h e s e phenomena. The d a t a were g a t h e r e d d u r i n g t h e p a s t s i x y e a r s on numerous o c c a s i o n s and i n a v a r i e t y o f s o c i a l s e t t i n g s . M a t e r i a l s c o l l e c t e d i n c l u d e t h e f o l l o w i n g . Prom 1976-1982, l e c t u r e s , t a p e s o f p r e s e n t a t i o n s , papers and d i s c u s s i o n s h e l d at v a r i o u s c o n f e r e n c e s and meetings were c o m p i l e d i n e i t h e r w r i t t e n or a u d i o - t a p e form. D u r i n g t h i s t i m e , f i e l d n o t e s were t a k e n which r e c o r d e d a c t i v i t i e s t a k i n g p l a c e a t c o n f e r e n c e s , m e e t i n g s , workshops, s e m i n a r s , and i n everyday l i f e s i t u a -t i o n s . V a r i o u s forms o f w r i t t e n m a t e r i a l s such as books, j o u r n a l s , p a p e r s , magazines, newspapers, co u r s e o u t l i n e s , a r t i c l e s , c o n f e r e n c e p r o c e e d i n g s and l e t t e r s were c o l l e c t e d . D u r i n g t h e y e a r s 1976-1982, I was i n v o l v e d as a re s e a r c h e r on a number o f p r o j e c t s d e a l i n g w i t h s e n i o r s . W h i l e engaged i n t h i s work, I a l s o t o o k f i e l d n o t e s o f my o b s e r v a t i o n s on the s o c i a l c o n s t r u c t i o n o f agedness i n s e t t i n g s which i n c l u d e d t h e f o l l o w i n g . In 1976, t h i r t y - s i x i n t e r v i e w s were conducted w i t h o l d e r persons and a d m i n i s t r a t o r s o f community c e n t r e s r e g a r d i n g 4 7 f a c i l i t i e s o f f e r e d t o s e n i o r s . T h e s e i n t e r v i e w s w e r e t a p e -r e c o r d e d i n m o s t c a s e s . T h e s e t t i n g s i n w h i c h t h e i n t e r v i e w s t o o k p l a c e w e r e t w e n t y - t w o c o m m u n i t y c e n t r e s i n t h e G r e a t e r V a n c o u v e r a r e a , o l d e r p e r s o n s ' o w n h o m e s , a n d t h e a d m i n i s t r a t i v e o f f i c e s o f t h e V a n c o u v e r P a r k s B o a r d , w h i c h a r e r e s p o n s i b l e f o r f u n d i n g p r o g r a m s t o s e n i o r s . T h e o b j e c t i v e s o f t h i s r e s e a r c h , f u n d e d b y t h e B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a D e p a r t m e n t o f L a b o u r , w e r e t o d o c u m e n t t h e d e c i s i o n -m a k i n g p r o c e s s e s b y w h i c h p r o g r a m s f o r o l d e r a d u l t s w e r e o r g a n i z e d a t c o m m u n i t y c e n t r e s . R e s p o n d e n t s w e r e a s k e d a s e r i e s o f q u e s t i o n s c o n c e r n i n g t h e i r o p i n i o n s o f p r o g r a m s a n d s e r v i c e s o f f e r e d t h r o u g h t h e c e n t r e s . A s w e l l a s i n t e r v i e w s , I a l s o c o l l e c t e d f i e l d n o t e s b a s e d u p o n o b s e r v a t i o n s o f v a r i o u s a c t i v i t i e s w h i c h t o o k p l a c e , a n d f r o m i n f o r m a l d i s c u s s i o n s w i t h t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s . I n 1 9 7 7 - 7 8 , e i g h t h o u r s o f a u d i o - t a p e w e r e r e c o r d e d w i t h m e m b e r s o f a f a m i l y w h o d i s c u s s e d t h e r o l e o f t h e a g e d w i t h i n t h e i r s o c i a l g r o u p . T h e s e i n t e r v i e w s a n d d i s c u s s i o n s w e r e r e c o r d e d i n a p e r s o n a l c a r e h o m e i n N o r t h V a n c o u v e r a n d a t v a r i o u s f a m i l y m e m b e r s ' h o m e s . T h e s e d a t a w e r e c o l l e c t e d a s p a r t o f t h e c o u r s e w o r k f o r S o c i o l o g y 5 0 2 , F a m i l y I n t e r a c t i o n S y s t e m s . I t w a s g a t h e r e d o v e r a s i x m o n t h p e r i o d i n i n f o r m a l s e t t i n g s w h e r e t h e s e f a m i l y m e m b e r s c a m e t o g e t h e r . I e x -p l a i n e d t h a t I w a s i n t e r e s t e d i n r e c o r d i n g t h e i r t a l k , e s p e c i a l l y t h a t w h i c h d e a l t w i t h t h e t o p i c o f o l d a g e . A s w e l l a s l a r g e g r o u p i n g s o f s i x o r m o r e m e m b e r s , I a l s o r e c o r d e d 48 conversations with a grandmother and her grandaughter, an e l d e r l y mother and her daughter, and a younger mother and her daughter, in order to examine how each perceived the ro le of women through an intergenerat iona l context. In 1978-79, ninety-two questionnnaire responses were c o l -lected which i d e n t i f i e d age and sex stereotypes. These questionnaires were d i s t r i b u t e d to u n i v e r s i t y students. The object ives of t h i s research were to i d e n t i f y age and sex stereotypes and to examine the work which such at t i tudes did in l a b e l l i n g persons i n s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n . Respondents were provided with a s e l e c t i o n of quotations from various sources of l i t e r a t u r e in which the age and sex of the character was omitted. After reading the quotat ions, they were asked to f i l l in t h e i r choice of age and sex and to provide a written rat iona le for each choice. After the responses were co l l a ted and analyzed, I went back to the set t ings in which they were co l l ec ted and discussed them with the students. These data (Auger 1978) were used to prepare the paper Making Sense of Aging which I presented at the Canadian Assoc iat ion of Gerontology meetings in Edmonton in 1 978. Prom May to December 1979, over one hundred interviews were conducted, in the Greater Vancouver area, with older persons and t h e i r f a m i l i e s , care prov iders , p o l i c e , and correct ions personnel regarding crime against the e l d e r l y and s t rateg ies for prevent ion. This research was funded by the 49 Ministry of the S o l i c i t o r General through the Consultation Centre, B.C. Region. It was published by this government agency under the t i t l e Growing Old Safely; Crime Prevention  Techniques. In 1979-80, forty-nine questionnaires were completed which aimed at identifying respondents' notions of what age i s , and what i t i s not. These questionnaires were administered to groups of older persons, university students, and those p a r t i c i p a t i n g in a health care course. This research was designed to raise the awareness of respondents towards the myths associated with old age. Participants were given sheets on which they were asked to complete a set of questions regar-ding age-related issues. The responses were used as a resource for discussion and analysis in three subsequent university courses. In 1980, eleven interviews were recorded which discussed the history of gerontology in B.C. Those interviewed were persons involved within the f i e l d for varying amounts of time. They were asked questions about their own involvement within gerontology, how long they had been working in this area, and the types of involvement. They were asked to provide h i s t o r i c a l overviews of the f i e l d as they had experienced i t s growth and to predict i t s future. Some of the respondents were r e t i r e d professionals, others were academic teachers or researchers, administrators, and s o c i a l service providers currently working in this area. This research was conducted to provide a h i s t o r i c a l account of gerontology and to i d e n t i f y 50 s o m e o f t h e c o n c e r n s o f t h o s e w h o w o r k d i r e c t l y i n t h i s f i e l d . A s w e l l a s i n t e r v i e w d a t a , t h i s r e s e a r c h a l s o p r o v i d e d m a n y w r i t t e n m a t e r i a l s w h i c h t h e i n f o r m a n t s a g r e e d c o u l d b e u s e d f o r t h e t h e s i s . I n 1 9 8 1 , o n e h u n d r e d a n d f o r t y - f i v e q u e s t i o n n a i r e s w e r e c o l l e c t e d w h i c h a s k e d b o t h o l d e r p e r s o n s a n d s e r v i c e p r o v i d e r s t o i d e n t i f y t h e n e e d s o f t h e o l d w i t h i n B . C . S o m e o f t h e s e q u e s t i o n n a i r e s w e r e c o m p l e t e d w i t h t h e a s s i s t a n c e o f a r e s e a r c h e r , s o m e w e r e m a i l e d . T h i s r e s e a r c h , f u n d e d t h r o u g h t h e H e a l t h P r o m o t i o n s d i r e c t o r a t e o f t h e F e d e r a l M i n i s t r y o f H e a l t h a n d W e l f a r e , a s k e d w h a t n e e d s w e r e w i t h r e s p e c t t o i s s u e s s u c h a s h e a l t h , i n c o m e , s h e l t e r , a n d t r a n s p o r t a t i o n , a n d h o w t h e s e n e e d s w e r e a c t u a l l y b e i n g m e t . Q u e s t i o n n a i r e s a n d t a p e - r e c o r d e d i n t e r v i e w s w e r e c o n d u c t e d i n a v a r i e t y o f s e t t i n g s w h e r e o l d e r p e o p l e w e r e k n o w n t o c o n g r e g a t e . I n 1 9 8 2 , i n f o r m a l d i s c u s s i o n s o n t h e t o p i c o f a n a p p r o p r i a t e g e r o n t o l o g y w e r e t a p e - r e c o r d e d a n d n o t e s w e r e t a k e n a s t o w h a t p a r t i c i p a n t s s a i d . T h e s e d i s c u s s i o n s w e r e r e c o r d e d i n J u n e a n d J u l y o f 1 9 8 2 a t p a r t i c i p a n t s ' h o m e s a n d a t t h e u n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a . P a r t i c i p a n t s w e r e o l d e r p e r s o n s a n d y o u n g e r o n e s w h o w o r k w i t h a n d f o r t h e o l d . A s t h i s t h e s i s b e g a n t o t a k e o n a s h a p e , i t b e c a m e c l e a r t h a t t h e r e w a s a g r e a t d e a l o f d i f f e r e n c e b e t w e e n h o w o l d e r p e o p l e e n v i s i o n e d t h e e n t e r p r i s e o f g e r o n t o l o g y a n d n o t i o n s o f o l d a g e g e n e r a l l y a n d t h e c o n c e p t i o n s o f g e r o n t o l o g i s t s . T h e s e d i s c u s s i o n s s e e m e d n e c e s s a r y a s a m e a n s o f 51 s u g g e s t i n g a m o r e a p p r o p r i a t e m o d e l f o r t h e s t u d y o f o l d a g e . N a t u r a l l y , n o t a l l o f t h e d a t a m e n t i o n e d h e r e h a v e b e e n u s e d i n t h i s t h e s i s . I p r e s e n t a d e s c r i p t i o n o f s o m e m e r e l y t o i n f o r m t h e r e a d e r o f i t s c o m p l e x i t y a n d v o l u m e . M o s t o f t h e d a t a w e r e g a t h e r e d w i t h i n t h e G r e a t e r V a n c o u v e r a r e a w i t h t h e e x c e p t i o n o f s o m e o f t h e f i e l d n o t e s c o l l e c t e d a t v a r i o u s c o n f e r e n c e l o c a t i o n s . W h e n d a t a i s u s e d i n t h e t h e s i s , I h a v e i n c l u d e d w h e r e , w h e n , a n d h o w , ( t h a t i s , i n w h a t f o r m i t w a s c o l l e c t e d , a s a f i e l d n o t e , r e c o r d e d i n t e r v i e w , o r r e a d i n g , f o r e x a m p l e ) , t o p r o v i d e t h e r e a d e r w i t h a d d i t i o n a l b a c k g r o u n d i n f o r m a t i o n t o t h e c o n t e x t i n w h i c h t h e m a t e r i a l w a s g a t h e r e d . T h r o u g h o u t m y i n v o l v e m e n t i n g e r o n t o l o g y , I h a v e r e c o r d e d e i t h e r i n f i e l d n o t e f o r m o r o n a u d i o t a p e a l l i t e m s o f t a l k a n d b e h a v i o u r w h i c h I s a w a s r e l e v a n t t o a d e s c r i p t i o n o f g e r o n t o l o g y o r o l d a g e ' b e i n g d o n e . ' I h a v e b e e n f o r t u n a t e i n t e r m s o f m y a c c e s s t o i n f o r m a n t s , a l l o f w h o m w e r e t o l d t h a t t h e i r i n t e r v i e w s , o b s e r v a t i o n s , a n d c o m m e n t s m a y b e u s e d a s p a r t o f t h e d a t a f o r t h i s t h e s i s , w i t h t h e e x c e p t i o n o f f i e l d n o t e d a t a . A l l p e r s o n s i n t e r v i e w e d a n d t h o s e w h o c o m p l e t e d q u e s t i o n n a i r e s w e r e g u a r a n t e e d a n o n y m i t y . A l l n a m e s , e x c e p t t h o s e o f p u b l i s h e d a u t h o r s o r t h o s e p r e s e n t i n g p a p e r s a t p u b l i c m e e t i n g s , h a v e b e e n c h a n g e d f o r t h e p u r p o s e o f c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y . I v i e w g e r o n t o l o g y a n d t h e w o r l d o f t h e o l d a s c u l t u r e s d i f f e r e n t f r o m m y o w n . H o w e v e r , u n l i k e t h e a n t h r o p o l o g i s t w h o u s u a l l y r e t u r n s t o l i v e i n h i s o r h e r o w n c u l t u r e , I w i l l u l t i m a t e l y p a r t i c i p a t e i n t h e c u l t u r e o f the o l d . I do a l r e a d y p a r t i c i p a t e i n the c u l t u r e o f the g e r o n t o l o g i s t . As an et h n o g r a p h e r , I view the w r i t t e n m a t e r i a l s o f the two groups as a r t i f a c t s o f t h e i r c u l t u r e — items which d i s p l a y t h e o r i e s , f o r m a l and i n f o r m a l , about t h e t o p i c o f o l d agedness. I have used t a l k and a c t i o n s as adequate d e s c r i p t i o n s o f what i s r e a l l y happening. As Turner has p o i n t e d o u t , " u t t e r a n c e s " a r e a b e h a v i o u r which can do the work o f d e s c r i b i n g a c t i v i t i e s so t h a t : At l e a s t some t a l k can be a n a l y z e d as t h e d o i n g o f a c t i v i t i e s , t h u s t a k i n g us a t once beyond the n a i v e v i e w t h a t perhaps a t b e s t t a l k m e r e l y ' r e p o r t s ' a c t i v i t i e s (1974:198). Thus, when per s o n s get t o g e t h e r t o t a l k about g e r o n t o l o g y , t h e y not o n l y ' r e p o r t ' upon t h e i r t h o u g h t s about i t , t h e y a l s o , t h r o u g h t h e speech a c t , p r o v i d e f o r a n a l y s i s t h e i r v e r s i o n s o f what i t might ' r e a l l y ' be. In t h i s way, t a l k can be seen as the accomplishment o f c e r t a i n a c t i v i t i e s , namely as p a r t o f the d o i n g o f g e r o n t o l o g y . P o u c a u l t (1972) has noted t h e importance o f d i s c o u r s e i n the s o c i a l p r o d u c t i o n o f knowledge. He w r i t e s not o n l y o f the w r i t t e n modes o f the d i s c u r s i v e p r o c e s s but a l s o o f t h e speech a c t i t s e l f . Because people speak about t h i n g s , r ead about them, and engage i n a d i s c o u r s e on them, t h e y can be i n v o l v e d i n a back and f o r t h r e - c o n c e p t u a l i z a t i o n or c l a r i f i c a t i o n o f t h e i r own i d e a s i n an exchange and communication w i t h o t h e r s . 53 CHAPTER THREE: IDEOLOGY AND THEORETICAL PRODUCTION IN GERONTOLOGY It was proposed e a r l i e r that gerontologists help construct i d i o s y n c r a t i c notions of agedness. The topic of ideology w i l l be discussed with respect to the role which i t plays within the s o c i a l production of knowledge as an analytic t o o l . An ideology i s a system of shared ideas which motivate persons towards mutually agreed upon goals. It also represents the s o c i a l consensus of a s p e c i f i c group, in t h i s case gerontologists, about the nature of concepts held to be universally true for a given group of i n d i v i d u a l s . Ideology becomes in the words of Smith "a kind of practice in thinking about society. To think i d e o l o g i c a l l y i s therefore to think in a d i s t i n c t i v e and describable way. Ideas, concepts, as such are not i d e o l o g i c a l . They are ideological by virtue of being used in ideological ways" (1975:2). When one group of persons uses ideas to manipulate another they are frequently spoken of as serving a vested i n t e r e s t . The term used to refer to this process i s "reinforcing the status quo." Berger speaks of this s i t u a t i o n in the following way: We speak of an ideology when a certain idea serves a vested interest in society. very frequently, though not always, ideological systems d i s t o r t s o c i a l r e a l i t y in order to come out where i t i s functional for them to do so ( 1963 :111). 54 C l i f f o r d Geertz views the concept of ideology in a somewhat d i f f e r e n t way than the previously mentioned authors. For him, ideology i s not an " e n t i t i t y in i t s e l f - a n ordered system, of c u l t u r a l symbols" but rather i t i s to be examined in i t s " s o c i a l and psycholog ica l" context (1973.196). Arguing that the s o c i a l sciences have chosen to view ideology in an evalua-t i v e , mostly pejorat ive way, Geertz suggests that before conclusions are reached as to how ideologies might be used, s c i e n t i s t s f i r s t of a l l be able to recognize them in d i f f e r e n t ways. In p a r t i c u l a r he ra ises an awareness of how ideologies help structure s i tuat ions through c u l t u r a l patterns and sym-b o l s . Ideology then i s a d iverse ly defined concept. When attempting to formulate and a r t i c u l a t e a body of knowledge, basic assumptions about values, e t h i c s , a t t i t u d e s , and b e l i e f s are made. In add i t ion , ideas are discussed and exchanged as to what the knowledge w i l l be and who w i l l know i t . These decis ions are made i m p l i c i t l y in most cases, e x p l i c i t l y occas iona l l y , as in the s e t t i n g for th of goals and object ives of profess iona l assoc iat ions and in the planning of course c u r r i c u l a for spec ia l academic programs. Gerontologists in t h e i r ro le as s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s and p r a c t i t i o n e r s have regarded older persons as a p o t e n t i a l s o c i a l problem which i s in need of s o l u t i o n . The old are viewed in t h i s way because, as t h e i r numbers increase, they are seen to require a d d i t i o n a l health and s o c i a l serv ices which would be financed predominantly through publ ic funds. 55 T h e ' p r o b l e m ' i s o n e o f i d e n t i f y i n g w h a t t h e p o t e n t i a l n e e d s w i l l b e , h o w t h e s e r v i c e s w i l l b e f u n d e d a n d a d m i n i s t e r e d , a n d w h o w i l l p a y f o r t h e s e p r o g r a m s . T h e ' p r o b l e m ' i s a ' s o c i a l ' o n e i n t h a t a l l w a g e e a r n e r s , t h r o u g h t a x e s a n d r e s o u r c e s , w i l l b e e x p e c t e d t o c o n t r i b u t e t o t h e w e l l - b e i n g o f s o c i e t y ' s o l d e r m e m b e r s . A s m o r e o l d e r p e r s o n s a n d s o m e g e r o n t o l o g i s t s s p e a k o u t a g a i n s t t h e v i e w o f o l d a g e a s a p r i m a r i l y n e g a t i v e e x p e r i e n c e , s o t h e d i s c i p l i n e i s s h i f t i n g i t s i d e o l o g i c a l f o c u s a w a y f r o m p r o d u c i n g k n o w l e d g e w h i c h r e i n f o r c e d o l d a g e a s w h a t A t c h l e y h a s c a l l e d " t h e b e g i n n i n g o f t h e e n d " ( 1 9 7 2 : 1 4 ) t o v i e w i n g i t a s a p o t e n t i a l l y p o s i t i v e e x p e r i e n c e . I n m a n y c a s e s , t h e p r o c e s s o f k n o w l e d g e p r o d u c t i o n i s p e r f o r m e d i n s o c i a l s e t t i n g s w h i c h e x c l u d e t h e p r e s e n c e , p a r t i c i p a t i o n , a n d i d e a s o f t h o s e w h o a r e ' b e i n g k n o w n . ' i n t h i s c a s e , t h e o l d a r e n o t u s u a l l y g r a n t e d a c c e s s t o t h e a r e n a i n w h i c h t h e i r l i v e s a n d e x p e r i e n c e s b e c o m e t r a n s f e r r e d i n t o v i a b l e k n o w l e d g e . W h e n a c c e s s i s g r a n t e d t o t h e o l d , i t v e r y o f t e n h a s a d i f f e r e n t q u a l i t y t h a n t h a t g r a n t e d t o t h e g e r o n t o l o g i s t a n d i t o f t e n t a k e s t h e f o r m o f t o k e n i s m . F o r e x a m p l e , w h e n t h e o l d a r e i n v i t e d t o a t t e n d c o n f e r e n c e s , s u c h a s t h e 1 9 8 2 W e s t e r n G e r o n t o l o g i c a l S o c i e t y ( W G S ) m e e t i n g i n S a n D i e g o , t h e c o n f e r e n c e p u b l i c i t y r e f e r r e d t o i n v i t i n g o l d e r p e r s o n s t o a t t e n d a s " t h e t r u e e x p e r t s " o n o l d a g e . Y e t , i n t h e c a l l f o r p a p e r s t o b e p r e s e n t e d — p a p e r s b e i n g t h e m a t e r i a l s t u f f , t h e s u b j e c t m a t t e r t o b e h e a r d a n d d i s c u s s e d 56 — the o l d as " e x p e r t s " were not i n v i t e d t o submit i d e a s , but " w r i t e r s and r e s e a r c h e r s " were. To f u r t h e r i l l u s t r a t e t h i s n o t i o n o f d i f f e r e n t i a l a c c e s s , a g a i n u s i n g t h e WGS as an example, t h e e d i t o r s o f G e n e r a t i o n s ( W i n t e r 1981) p u b l i s h e d an a r t i c l e e n t i t l e d " G e r o n t o l o g y : I t s P a s t , F u t u r e and P r e s e n t . " The i n f o r m a t i o n f o r the a r t i c l e i s based upon a symposium i n which a " p a n e l o f l e a d e r s i n the g e r o n t o l o g y f i e l d " were asked f o r t h e i r r e sponses t o t h e f u t u r e o f g e r o n t o l o g y . T h i s p a n e l o f " e x p e r t s " d i d not i n c l u d e the l a y e l d e r l y and y e t t h e o b j e c t i v e o f the symposium was t h e a d d r e s s i n g o f i s s u e s a f f e c t i n g them. Through t h e g e r o n t o l o g i c a l e n t e r p r i s e , everyday l i f e as i t i s l i v e d by o l d e r persons i s t r a n s f o r m e d and c o d i f i e d i n t o d a t a — the s t u f f o f s c i e n c e — then r e - c r e a t e d i n t o o f f i c i a l knowledge about o l d age. Through t h i s p r o c e s s , as i t i s c u r r e n t l y p e r formed, i t i s p o s s i b l e , and I w i l l argue l i k e l y , t h a t the i d e o l o g y i m p l i c i t i n the knowledge base o f g e r o n t o l o g y r e p r e s e n t s an e l i t e v i e w p o i n t which i s not n e c e s s a r i l y s h a r e d by the o l d . T h i s p a r t i c u l a r o p i n i o n i s shared by o t h e r a u t h o r s , among them E s t e s , who s a y s : What i s i m p o r t a n t about i d e o l o g i e s i s t h a t t h e y r e f l e c t t he s o c i a l p o s i t i o n and s o c i a l l y d e t e r m i n e d v a l u e s o f t h e i r b e h o l d e r s and are o n l y p a r t i a l p e r s p e c t i v e s (1979:4). Much o f the g e r o n t o l o g i c a l work has f o c u s e d on how t h e i n d i v i d u a l a d j u s t s t o h i s or her own a g i n g , e s p e c i a l l y w i t h r e s p e c t t o changes i n s o c i a l s t a t u s and r o l e . T h i s work has 57 centred on what the individual has to do in order to cope with these l i f e changes which Estes claims are "externally generated" (1979:6). In t h i s sense, some of the 'problems' of the o l d , such as a loss of work and income through retirement, and a l l the factors so c l o s e l y connected to a person's a b i l i t y to earn money to afford goods and services, are 'personal' problems for them to resolve. They are observed by gerontologists as dealing with some of these problems through disengagement, a c t i v i t y , exchange, socio-environmental ways, or one of the conceptualizations contributed by the other main theoretical approaches to aging 'successfully.' If the paradigms of gerontology posit the old as somehow responsible for their own misfortunes, then i t i s they and not 'society' who must adapt, adjust, or accept their changed status. The disengagement theory, which u t i l i z e s a f u n c t i o n a l i s t approach, views old age as a necessary 'requirement or function of society.' The theory views growing old as an inevitable process which requires that older persons give up roles which they previously held in order that younger persons may find work and buy homes. In this way some of the theoret i c a l approaches aimed at describing and predicting successful old age place the old in opposition to the young and tend to congruently depict them as victims. If s o c i a l l i f e could be re-structured so that the old could remain as active or not, as they chose, the ideological framework of gerontology would need to s h i f t from viewing the 58 o l d a s b e i n g i n a s e p a r a t e a g e u n i t b a s e d u p o n c h r o n o l o g y t o v i e w i n g t h e m a s c o m p l e t e a n d t o t a l p a r t i c i p a n t s w i t h i n c o m m u n i t y s t r u c t u r e s . P h i l i b e r t h a s s a i d t h a t g e r o n t o l o g i s t s b a s e t h e i r i d e o l o g i c a l c o n c e r n s a b o u t a g e d n e s s o n a p r i o r i a s s u m p t i o n s w h e r e b y w h a t t h e y d o i s s e e n a s a " s c i e n c e " w h o s e o b j e c t i v e i s t o a c c o u n t f o r " f a c t s . " T h r o u g h t h i s p r o c e s s , i t i s a s s u m e d t h a t a g i n g i s a " t a n g i b l e p h e n o m e n o n " t h a t c a n b e d e s c r i b e d a n d a n a l y z e d ; s u c h i s t h e " n a t u r e " o f t h e o l d e r p e r s o n ( 1 9 7 4 : 3 1 7 ) . I n t h i s w a y , t h e y t r e a t a l l o l d p e r s o n s a s t h e ' o b j e c t s ' o f i n q u i r y , t h e ' p h e n o m e n a ' u n d e r s t u d y . O l d e r p e r -s o n s a r e t h u s t r e a t e d a s a h o m o g e n o u s g r o u p w h i c h c a n b e s t u d i e d a s a c o m p l e t e e n t i t y u n t o i t s e l f . I n h i s a r g u m e n t a g a i n s t t h e g e r o n t o l o g i c a l e n t e r p r i s e , b e c a u s e i t i s , i n h i s d e f i n i t i o n , o n e w h i c h h a s i g n o r e d p h e n o m e n o l o g i c a l d a t a a b o u t a g i n g , P h i l i b e r t c r i t i c i z e s t h o s e who d o t h i s w o r k o n t h e g r o u n d s t h a t : T h e y h a v e b e l i e v e d t h a t f r o m t h e j u x t a p o s i t i o n o f g e n e t i c , b i o c h e m i c a l , p h y s i o l o g i c a l , p s y c h o l o g i c a l , d e m o g r a p h i c , s o c i o l o g i c a l a n d e c o n o m i c s t u d i e s , a n i n t e r d i s c i p l i n a r y , s y n t h e t i c , i n t e g r a t e d k n o w l e d g e o f h u m a n a g i n g w o u l d e m e r g e . T o d a y we a r e b e c o m i n g a w a r e o f t h e n a i v e t e o f t h i s p r o j e c t i o n — e v e n o f t h e f r a g i l i t y o f t h e h o p e s a n d c o n v i c t i o n s o f t h o s e who n o u r i s h e d i t ( 1 9 7 4 : 3 0 7 ) . F o r P h i l i b e r t , a n d o t h e r s , a n a p p r o p r i a t e s t u d y o f g e r o n t o l o g y w o u l d i n c l u d e a n i n v e s t i g a t i o n o f t h e i m a g e s o f a g i n g a s r e f l e c t e d i n p o p u l a r l i t e r a t u r e , l a w s , t h e a r t s , 59 l i f e - h i s t o r i e s , r e l i g i o u s d o c t r i n e s , c u l t u r a l r i t u a l s and so on. In t h i s way, the i d e o l o g i c a l viewpoints of a v a r i e t y of people towards o l d age would he matters o f i n t e r e s t and i n q u i r y and would thus a c t as data which would d e s c r i b e the many ways i n which i n d i v i d u a l s c r e a t e n o t i o n s of o l d age. I t has been argued by Estes (1978, 1979), M a r s h a l l and T i n d a l e (1978-79), Novak (1980), and P h i l b e r t (1974, 1977a, 1977b), among o t h e r s , t h a t some of what g e r o n t o l o g i s t s do con t a i n s " s t r u c t u r a l or b u i l t - i n i n t e r e s t s " (Estes 1979:3)• These i n t e r e s t s have been termed " s e l f - s e r v i n g " by I l l i c h (1977) and " c o n t r i b u t o r y to a reinforcement of a g i s t a t t i -tudes" by Kuhn (1978). I t i s s a i d t h a t g e r o n t o l o g i s t s do some of t h e i r work to serve t h e i r own i n t e r e s t s , but what could t h i s statement mean? S u r e l y i t i s not i m p l i e d t h a t such people ought to do work which does not i n some way serve t h e i r own i n t e r e s t s . Rather, the ' s e l f - s e r v i n g i n t e r e s t s ' argument seems to imply t h a t at l e a s t some of what g e r o n t o l o g i s t s do ought to be a l s o i n the best i n t e r e s t s of o t h e r s , e s p e c i a l l y the o l d . I f , as Lerner has s a i d , "ideas are weapons" (1939:72) and i d e o l o g i e s are the accumulation o f ideas of what Geertz c a l l s "systems of i n t e r a c t i n g symbols...patterns of interwoven meanings" (1973:230), then the q u e s t i o n i s how i d e o l o g i e s work i n s e t t i n g f o r t h goals and o b j e c t i v e s , s t r a t e g i e s f o r d e s c r i b i n g , e x p l a i n i n g , and a n a l y z i n g the world of the o l d . I t can be s a i d that i d e o l o g i e s as ways of t h i n k i n g and a c t i n g about o l d age p l a y an important p a r t i n the s o c i a l p r o d u c t i o n 6 0 o f t h e k n o w l e d g e o f g e r o n t o l o g y . I t c a n b e a r g u e d t h a t g e r o n t o l o g i c a l i d e o l o g i e s o f o l d a g e d o t h e i r w o r k i n p a r t t h r o u g h t h e o r i e s . I f a g e r o n t o l o g i s t b e l i e v e s t h a t h i s o r h e r w o r k h e l p s t h e a g e d , t h a t b e l i e f i s i d e o l o g i c a l . W i t h i n t h i s f r a m e w o r k , I t r e a t w h a t g e r o n t o l o g i s t s s a y a n d d o a s d i s p l a y i n g " f a c t s " a n d i d e o l o g i e s a b o u t l i f e a n d g r o w i n g o l d . I n r e s p o n s e t o q u e s t i o n s I a s k e d i n 1 9 8 0 r e g a r d i n g t h e h i s t o r y o f g e r o n t o l o g y i n B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , m a n y n o t e d t h a t t h e i r w o r k i n c l u d e d ' h e l p i n g ' t h e o l d . T h i s n o t i o n w a s i n v o k e d i n a v a r i e t y o f w a y s b y t h e s e p a r t i c u l a r r e s p o n d e n t s a n d i s f r e q u e n t l y b r o u g h t u p a t c o n f e r e n c e s a n d m e e t i n g s w h e r e t h e s u b j e c t m a t t e r o f g e r o n t o l o g y i s d i s c u s s e d . B a s i c t e x t s o n g e r o n t o l o g y a l s o r a i s e t h e i s s u e o f h e l p i n g t h e o l d a s a u s e f u l a n d i m p o r t a n t t h i n g t o d o . S u c h m a t e r i a l s o f t e n i n c l u d e c h a p t e r s o r s e c t i o n s o n c a r i n g f o r a g e d p a r e n t s , p r o t e c t i v e s e r v i c e s f o r s e n i o r s , a n d c a r i n g f o r t h e o l d i n t h e c o m m u n i t y . T h e t e r m s ' h e l p * a n d ' c a r i n g ' s e e m t o b e s y n o n y m o u s w i t h g e r o n t o l o g y i n t h e m i n d s o f m a n y p e o p l e . P a r t o f t h e b o d y o f i d e a s w h i c h m a k e u p w h a t m a n y r e c o g n i z e a s g e r o n t o l o g y , i s t h e i d e o l o g i c a l s t a n c e t h a t h e l p i n g a n d c a r i n g f o r t h e o l d i s a m a j o r f u n c t i o n . T h e n o t i o n o f h e l p t h u s b e c o m e s p a r t o f t h e r a t i o n a l e f o r b e c o m i n g i n v o l v e d i n g e r o n t o l o g y . I t a l s o d o e s t h e w o r k o f p r e s e n t i n g t h e s e l f a s a c a r i n g a n d k i n d i n d i v i d u a l c o m m i t t e d t o t h e n e e d s o f o t h e r s . I n t h i s i n s t a n c e , i t i s d i f f i c u l t t o a c c o u n t f o r s u c h a n i n d i v i d u a l a s p r i m a r i l y ' s e l f - s e r v i n g 1 b e c a u s e t h e n o t i o n o f 6 1 h e l p i n g i m p l i e s t h a t a p e r s o n i s , t o s o m e e x t e n t , i n t h e s e r v i c e o f o t h e r s . A d i s t i n c t i o n s h o u l d b e m a d e h e r e b e t w e e n t h e i d e o l o g y o f i n d i v i d u a l s a n d t h e i d e o l o g y o f a g r o u p . A n i n d i v i d u a l m a y h o l d a v a r i e t y o f d i f f e r e n t o p i n i o n s o n m a n y s u b j e c t s . H e o r s h e w i l l n o r m a l l y a t t e m p t t o s h a r e a n d a r t i c u l a t e , p e r h a p s e v e n a r g u e t h e s e o p i n i o n s w i t h o t h e r s . I n t h e c a s e o f g e r o n t o l o g y , w e a r e i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e i d e a s o f t h e g r o u p e v e n t h o u g h t h e i d e a s m a y b e p r e s e n t e d t o u s b y i n d i v i d u a l s . A n i l l u s t r a t i o n o f t h e p r o c e s s o f t u r n i n g i n d i v i d u a l t h o u g h t s i n t o g r o u p i d e o l o g y w i l l p e r h a p s b e u s e f u l h e r e . I n t h e 1 9 7 0 " s , a s a m e m b e r o f t h e C o m m i t t e e o n A g i n g o f t h e S o c i a l P l a n n i n g a n d R e v i e w C o u n c i l o f B . C . ( S P A R C ) , I w a s i n v o l v e d i n p o l i c y d i s c u s s i o n , f o r m u l a t i o n a n d s u b s e g u e n t i m p l e m e n t a t i o n o f t h e L o n g T e r m C a r e p r o g r a m w h i c h c a m e i n t o e f f e c t i n t h e p r o v i n c e i n 1 9 7 8 . A s a m e m b e r o f t h i s p l a n n i n g g r o u p , I w a s r e g u i r e d , a l o n g w i t h m y c o l l e a g u e s , t o a r t i c u l a t e a n d c l a r i f y o u r b a s i c i d e a s a b o u t a p o l i c y w h i c h w o u l d e n a b l e u n w e l l p e o p l e t o s t a y w i t h i n t h e i r h o m e s w i t h s u p p o r t s e r v i c e s f o r a s l o n g a s p o s s i b l e . I n o r d e r t o p r o d u c e p l a n s f o r s u c h a p r o g r a m , o u r i n d i v i d u a l i d e a s o f e q u a l i t y f o r a l l p e r s o n s i n t h e h e a l t h c a r e f i e l d , o f a s h a r e d c o m m i t m e n t t o c a r e f o r t h e u n w e l l , o f a r e s t r u c t u r i n g a n d r e a l l o c a t i o n o f h e a l t h c a r e d e l i v e r y s y s t e m s a n d c o s t s b e c a m e w h a t w e a s a g r o u p d e c i d e d t o c a l l o u r i d e o l o g y o n l o n g t e r m c a r e . W h e n w e m e t w i t h p r o v i n c i a l g o v e r n m e n t o f f i c i a l s , w e u s e d t h e t e r m , i d e o l o g y , 62 a s a d e s c r i p t i o n o f a l l t h e b a s i c i d e a s w h i c h , a s a g r o u p , w e h a d a g r e e d u p o n a s i m p o r t a n t a n d r e l e v a n t t o o u r t a s k , n a m e l y , f o r m u l a t i o n o f p o l i c y . I a m s u g g e s t i n g t h a t g e r o n t o l o g i s t s , a s a g r o u p , a r e i n v o l v e d i n a s i m i l a r p r o c e s s b y w h i c h i n d i v i d u a l t h o u g h t s , f e e l i n g s , a n d e x p e r i e n c e s b e c o m e p a r t o f w h a t c a n b e r e c o g -n i z e d a n d s u p p o r t e d b y t h e m a s a n i d e o l o g y a b o u t t h e i r w o r k a n d t h o s e t h e y s t u d y , n a m e l y , t h e o l d . F u r t h e r , t h e v e h i c l e s w h i c h m a i n t a i n , r e i n f o r c e a n d m a k e v i s i b l e i d e o l o g i c a l c o n -c e r n s a b o u t e l d e r l y p e o p l e c a n b e f o u n d i n t h e t h e o r e t i c a l p a r a d i g m s o f g e r o n t o l o g i c a l w o r k . T h e o r i e s , i n p a r t , a r e t h e m i r r o r s w h i c h r e f l e c t v i e w s , p r e d i c t i o n s a n d p r e s c r i p t i o n s o f o l d a g e a s s e e n b y s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s a n d o t h e r s . T h e S o c i a l T h e o r i e s o f A g i n g I n o r d e r f o r k n o w l e d g e t o b e v i s i b l e , i t h a s t o b e t h o u g h t a b o u t , w r i t t e n d o w n , s p o k e n o f , t a u g h t , l e a r n e d , a n d c o m p a r e d w i t h o t h e r k n o w l e d g e . I n o u r s o c i e t y , k n o w l e d g e i n i t s m o s t c o r r e c t a n d p r i s t i n e f o r m i s s e e n a s b e i n g s i t u a t e d w i t h i n e d u c a t i o n a l s e t t i n g s . P e o p l e g o t o ' s c h o o l ' t o l e a r n t o a b o u t t h e i r o w n a n d o t h e r s l i v e s . I n t h i s s e n s e , k n o w l e d g e a b o u t o l d a g e , a s t h a t m a d e v i s i b l e a s a d i s c i p l i n e w i t h i n a n a c a d e m i c m i l i e u , i s d i f f e r e n t f r o m t h e k n o w l e d g e o f o n e w h o i s o l d , w h o l i v e s h i s o r h e r l i f e a s a n o l d p e r s o n a n d w h o t h e r e f o r e k n o w s a b o u t o l d a g e f r o m e x p e r i e n c e . 63 I l o o k a t t h e s e t w o t y p e s o f k n o w l e d g e a s s o m e h o w l i n k e d . W h e r e a s t h e s c i e n t i f i c , w h a t I s h a l l c a l l p r o f e s s i o n a l o r a c a d e m i c k n o w l e d g e , i s b a s e d u p o n o b s e r v e d a n d d o c u m e n t e d e x p e r i e n c e o f m a n y o l d e r p e r s o n s , o b t a i n e d f r o m a v a r i e t y o f s o c i a l s e t t i n g s a n d a c t i v i t i e s , t h e p e r s o n a l k n o w l e d g e o f t h e o l d i s e q u a l l y i m p o r t a n t t o a n u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e t o t a l a g i n g p r o c e s s . T h e F r e n c h p h e n o m e n o l o g i s t , M i c h e l P h i l i b e r t , s u g g e s t e d i n a l e c t u r e g i v e n a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a t h a t p r o f e s s i o n a l s i n t h e a g i n g f i e l d a r e a t t e m p t i n g t o " c o n t r o l " t h e l i v e s o f t h e a g e d p o p u l a t i o n t h r o u g h w h a t h e c a l l s " g e r o n t o l o g r a c y , " w h i c h i s " t h e p o w e r o f t h e g e r o n t o l o g i s t s w h o h a v e s c i e n t i f i c k n o w l e d g e o f t h e a g i n g p r o c e s s " ( 1 9 7 7 ) . P h i l i b e r t a r g u e s t h a t : W h o k n o w s , i . e . t h e g e r o n t o l o g i s t s , h a v e c o n t r o l a n d a r e o n t h e i r w a y t o i n c r e a s i n g t h e i r p o w e r . I f w e d o n o t t a k e s t e p s w e w i l l w i t n e s s m o r e c o n t r o l o f t h e a g e d b y t h e t w e n t y f i r s t c e n t u r y . T o a v o i d s u c h g e r o n t o l o g i c c o n t r o l o f t h e a g e d , P h i l i b e r t s u g g e s t s t h a t w e m u s t u t i l i z e a p h e n o m e n o l o g i c a l a p p r o a c h t o t h e s t u d y o f a g i n g b y : d e p r o f e s s i o n a l i z i n g c a r e o f t h e a g e d a n d b y e n h a n c i n g s e l f e s t e e m a n d r e s p e c t a m o n g s t o l d e r p e r s o n s s o t h a t t h e y m a y b e i n c o n t r o l o f t h e i r o w n l i v e s . I n o r d e r t o u t i l i z e t h e p e r s o n a l k n o w l e d g e o f t h e o l d w i t h i n t h e g e r o n t o l o g i c a l e n t e r p r i s e a s i t i s c u r r e n t l y 64 performed i n N o r t h A m e r i c a , t h e a s p e c t s o f a g i n g as a l i v e d -by-member e x p e r i e n c e are c o d i f i e d , t r a n s l a t e d , and t a b u l a t e d — t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o m a t e r i a l r e c o g n i z a b l e as d a t a which f i t s i n t o a s c i e n t i f i c body o f knowledge, namely g e r o n t o l o g y . I t i s t h r o u g h t h i s p r o c e s s o f r e i n t e r p r e t i n g p e o p l e ' s l i v e s t o f i t some o t h e r o r d e r i n g t h a t i d e o l o g i e s p l a y an i m p o r t a n t r o l e . B a i l e y reminds us t h a t i d e o l o g i e s are "an o r g a n i z e d s e t o f c o n v i c t i o n s . . . w h i c h e n f o r c e i n e v i t a b l e v a l u e judgements" ( 1 9 7 5 : 3 2 ) . When c h o o s i n g t o l o o k a t some a s p e c t o f a g i n g and not a n o t h e r , g e r o n t o l o g i s t s a r e u s i n g a v a l u e judgement about what s h a l l be known and what s h a l l n o t . In t h i s way, t h e y make an i d e o l o g i c a l commitment t o one avenue o f i n q u i r y over a n o t h e r . What g e r o n t o l o g i s t s say and do i s t h e i r i d e o l o g y , t h e i r ' f a c t s ' about l i f e and g r o w i n g o l d . F u r t h e r , i t i s a f u n c t i o n of t h e i r s o c i a l background. T h i s "knowledge a t hand" ( S c h u t z , 1 9 7 3 ) i n f l u e n c e s and r e i n f o r c e s t h e i r i d e o l o g i c a l s t a n c e . Because o f h i s or her "knowledge at hand" — the m a t e r i a l w r i t t e n by o t h e r s c i e n t i s t s on the t o p i c , the papers r e a d , r e s e a r c h c o n d u c t e d , l e c t u r e s h e a r d , f i l m s seen, and o b s e r v a t i o n s made — the g e r o n t o l o g i s t i s a b l e t o r e c o g n i z e everyday o c c u r r e n c e s o f o l d n e s s b e i n g done as d a t a o f g e r o n t o l o g i c a l i n t e r e s t and c o n c e r n . I t i s t h r o u g h t h i s p r o c e s s o f c o n n e c t i n g everyday events about o l d age i n t o a more complex or d i f f e r e n t t y pe o f whole — g e r o n t o l o g y — t h a t g e r o n t o l o g i s t s a r e a b l e t o c l a i m t o be ' e x p e r t ' on m a t t e r s 65 r e l e v a n t t o t h e o l d . T h e t o p i c s w h i c h g e r o n t o l o g i s t s a d d r e s s a r e t a k e n , b y t h e l a y p u b l i c a s w e l l a s o t h e r p r o f e s s i o n a l s , t o b e t h o s e o f m a j o r c o n c e r n f o r t h e o l d a n d t h e i r c a r e p r o v i d e r s . I n t h i s s e n s e f a c t s a r e w h a t g e r o n t o l o g i s t s s a y f a c t s a r e . T h r o u g h s o c i a l c o n s e n s u s t h e y a t t e m p t t o e s t a b l i s h " s c i e n t i f i c " t r u t h s a b o u t a g i n g . W h a t i s i t , t h e n , t h i s t h i n g c a l l e d i d e o l o g y a n d h o w i s i t m a n i f e s t e d i n t h e g e r o n t o l o g i c a l e n t e r p r i s e ? We c a n a t t e n d t o t h i s q u e s t i o n b y l o o k i n g a t w h a t g e r o n t o l o g i s t s a c t u a l l y d o a s p a r t o f t h e i r w o r k . We r e c o g n i z e t h a t a t t h e o u t s e t t h e g e r o n t o l o g i s t h a s a s y s t e m o f i d e a s w h i c h a r e s o m e h o w r e l e v a n t t o t h e t o p i c o f o l d a g e . T h i s d o e s n o t n e c e s s a r i l y m e a n t h a t t h e y a r e a l l f i r s t a n d f o r e m o s t i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e b e h a v i o u r o f o l d e r p e r s o n s p e r s e . T h e n e t w o r k o f r e s e a r c h e r s a n d p r a c t i t i o n e r s w h o d o g e r o n t o l o g i c a l w o r k i n c l u d e s s o c i o l o g i s t s , b i o l o g i s t s , p s y c h o l o g i s t s , s o c i a l p l a n n e r s , a n t h r o p o l o g i s t s , s o c i a l w o r k e r s , g e o g r a p h e r s , a d u l t e d u c a t o r s , a n d t h e l i k e . S o m e o f t h e m a j o r t h e o r i e s i n g e r o n t o l o g y s h o w s t h a t t h e i r p e r s p e c t i v e s a r e b o r r o w e d f r o m o t h e r d i s c i p l i n e s . A n e x a m i n a t i o n o f a n y c o n f e r e n c e m a t e r i a l s f o c u s e d u p o n g e r o n t o l o g i c a l t o p i c s s h o w s t h a t m o s t p a r t i c i p a n t s a n d p r e s e n t e r s a r e l i s t e d a s m e m b e r s o f a v a r i e t y o f i n t e r d i s c i p l i n a r y d e p a r t m e n t s . G e r o n t o l o g y i s s e l d o m l i s t e d a s a d e p a r t m e n t o r o t h e r t y p e o f s p e c i f i c w o r k p l a c e . T h e s e a l r e a d y e x i s t i n g t h e o r e t i c a l m o d e l s w e r e t h e n a p p l i e d t o t h e s t u d y o f o l d e r p e r s o n s a s o n e p a r t i c u l a r s e g m e n t o f s o c i e t y . I n t h i s m a n n e r , o l d e r p e o p l e w e r e c h o s e n a s o b j e c t s o f s t u d y i n o r d e r t o s u p p o r t o r r e f u t e a p a r t i c u l a r t h e o r y , n o t n e c e s a r i l y b e c a u s e o f t h e i r c h r o n o l o g i c a l a g e o r p a r t i c u l a r l i f e e x p e r i e n c e s . F o r e x a m p l e , t h e d i s e n g a g e m e n t t h e o r y ( C u m m i n g a n d H e n r y , 1 9 6 1 ) . w a s f o r m u l a t e d u s i n g a f u n c t i o n a l i s t f r a m e w o r k o f i n q u i r y w h i c h e s s e n t i a l l y a s k e d w h a t w o r k o r f u n c t i o n g r o w i n g o l d d o e s . P a r t o f t h e f o r m u l a t i o n s o f t h e t h e o r y p o s t u l a t e d t h a t , i f g r o w i n g o l d a n d i s s u e s s a i d t o b e r e l a t e d t o i t , s u c h a s r e t i r e m e n t , b e r e a v e m e n t , p o v e r t y , i l l h e a l t h , a n d l o w i n c o m e , i s a n e c e s s a r y f u n c t i o n o f s o c i e t y i n t h a t i t r e p l a c e s o l d e r p e o p l e w i t h y o u n g e r o n e s , e s p e c i a l l y i n t h e w o r k p l a c e , t h e n t h e m o r e s u c c e s s f u l l y p e o p l e a g e t h r o u g h a p r o c e s s o f m u t u a l a n d g r a d u a l d i s e n g a g e m e n t , t h e m o r e e f f i c i e n t l y s o c i e t y c o n t i n u e s t o f u n c t i o n . O l d a g e a n d h o w i t a f f e c t s t h e e q u i l i b r i u m o f s o c i e t y w a s t h e n e x a m i n e d b y u t i l i z i n g a n a l r e a d y e x i s t i n g b o d y o f s o c i a l i n q u i r y , n a m e l y f u n c t i o n a l i s m . I n t h i s p r o c e s s , a d e c i s i o n h a d a l r e a d y b e e n m a d e ; a n i d e o l o g y w a s a l r e a d y a t w o r k w h i c h s u g g e s t e d t h a t o l d a g e w a s e s s e n t i a l l y p a r t o f f u n c t i o n a l i s t t h e o r y a n d t h a t i t c o u l d e x p l a i n s o m e o f t h e f a c t o r s r e l e v a n t t o o l d a g e b y u t i l i z i n g a p a r t i c u l a r w a y o f s e e i n g — a n i d e o l o g y . T h e o r i e s , t h e n , a r e m o r e t h a n m e r e e x p l a n a t o r y d e v i c e s w i t h p r e d i c t i v e a b i l i t y . T h e y a r e a l s o p a r t i c u l a r w a y s o f l o o k i n g a t a n d r e f l e c t i n g v i s i o n s o f o l d a g e . T h e r o l e w h i c h t h e o r i e s p l a y i n t h e s o c i a l p r o d u c t i o n o f k n o w l e d g e d o e s t h e w o r k o f l e g i t i m i z i n g c e r t a i n a t t i t u d e s a n d b e l i e f s a b o u t p e r -s o n s b y p o s i t i n g t h e m a s m o r e v a l i d t h a n " n o n - s c i e n t i f i c a l l y " o b t a i n e d i n f o r m a t i o n . i n a d d i t i o n , t h e o r i e s a l s o h e l p c r e a t e " g i v e n s " b y t h e i r s e l e c t i o n o f c e r t a i n d o m i n a n t v a r i a b l e s a s o p p o s e d t o s o m e o t h e r s , w h i c h m a y n o t b e r e c o g n i z a b l e o u t s i d e t h e t h e o r e t i c a l p r o p o s i t i o n s . I n t h i s s e n s e , t h e o r i e s c a n a c t a s b l i n k e r s w h i c h a l l o w t h e r e s e a r c h e r t o s e e o n l y t h o s e p h e n o m e n a f r a m e d w i t h i n a l i m i t e d a n d n a r r o w s p h e r e . M a j o r g e r o n t o l o g i c a l t h e o r i e s i n c l u d e d i s e n g a g e m e n t , a c t i v i t y , s o c i o - e n v i r o n m e n t a l , t h e a g e d a s a s u b c u l t u r e o r m i n o r i t y g r o u p , a g i n g a s e x c h a n g e , a n d a g e s t r a t i f i c a t i o n t h e o r y . W h a t t h e s e t h e o r i e s h a v e i n c o m m o n i s a n a t t e m p t t o d e s c r i b e , e x p l a i n , a n d p r e d i c t p e r s o n s ' a b i l i t y t o a d a p t t o o l d a g e , k n o w n a s " s u c c e s s f u l " a g i n g . T h i s p r o c e s s i s a l s o k n o w n a s " a d a p t a t i o n t o t h e r o l e " o r t h e " r o l e t h e o r y " a p p r o a c h . B o t h o f t h e s e a v e n u e s o f t h o u g h t s u g g e s t t h a t , a s p e o p l e a g e , t h e y m u s t a d j u s t t o a v a r i e t y o f c o n d i t i o n s w h i c h w e r e n o t p a r t o f t h e i r p r e v i o u s s o c i a l r o l e s . I n o t h e r w o r d s , t h e t h e o r i s t s m a k e c e r t a i n a s s u m p t i o n s a b o u t a n o t i o n c a l l e d s u c c e s s f u l a g i n g a n d t h e n s e e k t o d i s c o v e r w h i c h p a r t i c u l a r p e r s o n a l o r s o c i a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s c a n b e s t a c c o u n t f o r i t . D i s e n g a g e m e n t T h e o r y T h e d i s e n g a g e m e n t t h e o r y d e v i s e d b y E l a i n e C u m m i n g a n d W i l l i a m H e n r y i n 1 9 6 1 i s o n e o f t h e m o s t p r e d o m i n a n t i n 6 8 g e r o n t o l o g y . I t a t t e m p t s t o e x p l a i n t h e s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n o f o l d a g e u s i n g a f u n c t i o n a l i s t p e r s p e c t i v e , o r g i n a l l y b o r r o w e d f r o m t h e b i o l o g i c a l s c i e n c e s . I t a s s e r t s t h a t t h e b e h a v i o u r o f a l l i n d i v i d u a l s w i t h i n t h e s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e i s t h e d i r e c t r e s u l t o f t h a t s y s t e m ' s n e e d f o r b a l a n c e o r e q u i l i b r i u m . U s i n g t h i s f r a m e w o r k , i n d i v i d u a l s a r e s e e n a s p a r t s o f t h e s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e , a n d a s s u c h , m u s t m a i n t a i n o r d e r t h r o u g h v a r i o u s f u n c t i o n a l r e q u i r e m e n t s . W h e n t h e d i s e n g a g e m e n t t h e o r y i s s p e c i f i c a l l y a p p l i e d t o a g i n g , i t i s s e e n a s a n e s s e n t i a l a n d n e c e s s a r y f u n c t i o n o f l i f e i n t h a t g r o w i n g o l d e r d o e s t h e w o r k o f r e p l a c i n g t h e e l d e r l y w i t h y o u n g e r p e r s o n s i n c e r t a i n p o s i t i o n s i n s o c i e t y , s u c h a s t h e w o r k p l a c e , a p a r t i c u l a r e c o n o m i c d i s p o s i t i o n , a n d v a r i o u s f a m i l y a n d s o c i a l r o l e s . T h i s s o r t o f r e p l a c e m e n t o f t h e o l d w i t h t h e y o u n g i s s e e n t o b e a f u n c t i o n a l p r e r e q u i s i t e f o r m a i n t a i n i n g c o n s t a n t b a l a n c e w i t h i n t h e s o c i a l s y s t e m . T h e a u t h o r s o f t h e d i s e n g a g e m e n t t h e o r y s t a t e : I n o u r t h e o r y , a g i n g i s a n i n e v i t a b l e m u t u a l w i t h d r a w a l o r d i s e n g a g e m e n t , r e s u l t i n g i n d e c r e a s e d i n t e r a c t i o n b e t w e e n t h e a g i n g p e r s o n a n d o t h e r s i n t h e s o c i a l s y s t e m h e b e l o n g s t o ( 1 9 6 1 : 1 4 ) . T h e a u t h o r s s e e d i s e n g a g m e n t a s i n e v i t a b l e b e c a u s e d e a t h i s i n e v i t a b l e . D e a t h a s a f u n c t i o n o f t h e s o c i a l s t u c t u r e m u s t b e i n c o r p o r a t e d i n t o i t w i t h o u t c a u s i n g a n y d i s r u p t i o n o r r i s k i n g t h e e q u i l i b r i u m o f t h e s y s t e m . A c c o r d i n g t o d i s e n g a g e m e n t t h e o r y , m a n d a t o r y r e t i r e m e n t , 69 and loss of income and s o c i a l prestige can be seen as a necessary function of society in that i t implies that t h i s process i s inevitable for a l l persons and exists in a l l cultures. The theory does the work of normalizing what o r d i n a r i l y might be seen as dis r u p t i v e , problematic, or dysfunctional. This notion of i n e v i t a b i l i t y i s stressed as one of the theory's major universal propositions, yet there i s a great deal of information about the aging process in other cultures where people do not and cannot r e t i r e at a certain age, nor do they lose respect and prestige from others in society, as often happens in North America where so much emphasis i s placed upon an individual's a b i l i t y to be employed for pay. Good examples of works on aging in other cultures include the anthropological works of Arth (1968), Clark and Anderson (1967), Gutman (1974), Palmore (1975), and Stearns (1976), among others, as well as issues dealt with by International Federation on Aging per i o d i c a l s and the United Nations World Assemby on Aging l i t e r a t u r e . An informant who had agreed to speak with the students of a course I was teaching (U.B.C. September 1980), provided one of the more t e l l i n g c r i t i g u e s of the disengagement theory in this way: It suggests to me indifference. It sounds l i k e they (the authors) are saying that old people are alone because they want to be, so l e t ' s leave them that way. I engage myself everyday. I'm seventy-four now and I f e e l younger and more interested in a l l sorts of things everyday. 70 W h a t t h i s i n f o r m a n t a n d m a n y l i k e h i m a r e a s s e r t i n g i s t h a t t h e y d o n o t d i s - e n g a g e , b u t p e r h a p s r e - e n g a g e t h e m s e l v e s i n t h i n g s w h i c h t h e y d i d n o t h a v e t i m e f o r d u r i n g t h e i r w o r k i n g l i v e s . B e c a u s e t h e d i s e n g a g e m e n t t h e o r y u s e s a f u n c t i o n a l i s t p e r s p e c t i v e , i t c a n n o t e x p l a i n w h y a n d h o w s o m e i n d i v i d u a l s d o n o t w i t h d r a w o r d i s e n g a g e f r o m s o c i e t y a s t h e y g r o w o l d e r . I m p l i c i t i n t h e f u n c t i o n a l i s t v i e w i s t h e i d e a t h a t s o c i e t y i s n o r m a l l y c o n s t r u c t e d t o o p e r a t e s m o o t h l y . T h i s s t r u c t u r e r e q u i r e s t h a t e v e r y o n e b e h a v e i n t h e s a m e w a y a t c e r t a i n t i m e s i n t h e i r l i v e s , t h e r e f o r e i n d i v i d u a l n e e d s a n d w i s h e s c a n n o t b e d e a l t w i t h b y t h e t h e o r y w h e n a n d i f p e r s o n s d e v i a t e f r o m t h e e x p e c t e d b e h a v i o u r . D i s e n g a g e m e n t t h e o r y a t t e m p t s a n e x p l a n a t i o n o f t h e n e c e s s i t y o f w i t h d r a w a l a n d w h y i t i s n e c e s s a r y t o p r o d u c e a s y s t e m i n w h i c h o l d e r p e o p l e m u s t b e e n c o u r a g e d a n d e x p e c t e d t o w i t h d r a w . B e c a u s e t h e t h e o r y i s c o n c e r n e d w i t h a n e x p l a n a t i o n o f a g i n g i n f u n c t i o n a l i s t t e r m s , i t d o e s n o t e x p l a i n h o w t h e o l d e r p e r s o n p e r c e i v e s h i s o r h e r a g i n g p r o c e s s , e s p e c i a l l y i n t e r m s o f e n f o r c e d o r i n v o l u n t a r y d i s e n g a g m e n t . T h i s t h e o r y s e e s s u c c e s s f u l a g i n g a s a p r o c e s s b y w h i c h t h e i n d i v i d u a l a c c e p t s a n d p l a n s i n a d v a n c e f o r t h e s o c i e t a l e x p e c t a t i o n o f m u t u a l w i t h d r a w a l a n d l o s s o f c e r t a i n s o c i a l r o l e s . I t a l s o s e e s i t a s " n a t u r a l , i n t r i n s i c , a n d t y p i c a l . " T h e t a c i t c o n s e q u e n c e s o f d i s e n g a g e m e n t t h e o r y i m p l y t h a t o l d e r p e o p l e s h o u l d e x p e c t t o a l t e r t h e i r w a y o f l i f e 7 1 a f t e r a g e s i x t y - f i v e . F u t h e r , t h e t h e o r y p r o v i d e s a r a t i o n a l e , v i a f u n c t i o n a l i s m , a s t o w h y o l d e r p e r s o n s s h o u l d b e e x c l u d e d f r o m m a i n s t r e a m a c t i v i t i e s w i t h i n t h e i r c o m m u n i t i e s . I f , a s t h e t h e o r y c l a i m s , m u t u a l w i t h d r a w a l b e n e f i t s b o t h t h e o l d a n d o t h e r a g e d i n d i v i d u a l s a l i k e , t h e n i n a c t i v i t y i s t o b e e n c o u r a g e d i n t h e o l d . S o c i a l s e r v i c e s f o r t h e e l d e r l y w o u l d t h e n b e d i r e c t e d n o t t o w a r d s a s s i s t i n g t h e m i n s e l f d e t e r m i n a t i o n o r f u l l e r c o m m u n i t y i n v o l v e m e n t , b u t t o l i v e s o f d i m i n i s h e d a c t i v i t y w i t h r e s p e c t t o i s s u e s w h i c h c o n c e r n t h e m , t h e i r f a m i l i e s , f r i e n d s a n d n e i g h b o r s . T h e v i s i o n o f o l d a g e w h i c h t h e t h e o r y p o s i t s a n d c o n d o n e s w o u l d s e e t h e e l d e r l y s e g r e g a t e d f r o m t h e r e s t o f s o c i e t y b y v i r t u e o f c h r o n o l o g i c a l a g e a n d t h e a s s u m e d b e h a v i o u r s w h i c h g o a l o n g w i t h t h e p a s s i n g o f a p a r t i c u l a r n u m b e r o f y e a r s a n d o f s o c i a l p r a c t i c e s s u c h a s r e t i r e m e n t . A c t i v i t y T h e o r y I n c o n t r a s t , a c t i v i t y t h e o r y a s s e r t s t h a t w i t h d r a w a l i s n o t i n t r i n s i c , n a t u r a l , o r t y p i c a l , a n d t h a t w h e n i t d o e s o c c u r , i t i s u s u a l l y i n o p p o s i t i o n t o t h e . n a t u r a l d e s i r e s a n d n e e d s o f n o r m a l a g i n g p e r s o n s . T h e m a i n i d e a s f o r t h e a c t i v i t y t h e o r y w e r e f i r s t s u g g e s t e d b y H a v i g h u r s t a n d A l b r e c h t i n t h e i r p u b l i c a t i o n O l d e r p e o p l e ( 1 9 5 3 ) . T h i s r e p o r t s a s t u d y u n d e r t a k e n b y t h e a u t h o r s o n a d j u s t m e n t t o o l d a g e . A g r o u p o f p e r s o n s a g e d s i x t y - f i v e a n d o v e r w h o l i v e d i n a m i d w e s t e r n t o w n i n t h e U . S . A . k n o w n a s " P r a i r i e C i t y " w e r e 72 interviewed on a variety of issues such as attitudes, a c t i v i t i e s , personal c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , and types of family structure. The responses provided the data from which the a c t i v i t y theory was formulated. In general, Havighurst and Albrecht concluded that: A person with an active, achieving, and outward-directed way of l i f e w i l l be best s a t i s f i e d to continue this l i f e into old age, with only s l i g h t dimunition. Other people with a passive, dependent, home-centered way of l i f e w i l l be best s a t i s f i e d with disengagement (1953 :170). Although the researchers were interested in tracing successful aging through a developmental framework, th e i r ideas were lat e r formulated into theory by Lemon, Bengston, and Peterson, Birren (1972), and Rose (1965), among others. Lemon, Bengston, and Peterson, u t i l i z i n g a c t i v i t y theory, hypothesized that there i s a positive relationship between a c t i v i t y and l i f e - s a t i s f a c t i o n . A c t i v i t y i s seen as a period in which the individual holds a variety of s o c i a l r o l e s , and the hypothesis asserts that the greater the loss of r o l e s , the lower the l i f e s a t i s f a c t i o n . A c t i v i t y provides various role supports necessary for reaffirming one's self-concept. The more intimate and the more frequent the a c t i v i t y , the more s p e c i f i c w i l l be the role support (1972 :515) . When the authors talk about "role supports," they refer to the process by which an individual chooses a role or set of r o l e s , 73 and how t h i s c h o i c e i s s u p p o r t e d by t h e a u d i e n c e . The n o t i o n o f r o l e s u p p o r t i s c o n c e r n e d w i t h i n t e r a c t i o n a l l y r e w a r d e d c r e d i b i l i t y . Lemon, B e n g s t o n , and P e t e r s o n p o s i t " l i f e s a t i s f a c t i o n " as " t h e d e g r e e t o w h i c h one i s p r e s e n t l y c o n t e n t o r p l e a s e d w i t h h i s g e n e r a l l i f e s i t u a t i o n " ( 1 9 7 4 : 5 1 3 ) . They p o s i t a c t i v i t y as "any r e g u l a r i z e d o r p a t t e r n e d a c t i o n o r p u r s u i t o r p e r s o n a l m a i n t e n a n c e " ( 1 9 7 4 : 5 1 3 ) . T h e r e f o r e , un-l i k e d i s e n g a g e m e n t , a c t i v i t y t h e o r y s u g g e s t s t h a t p e r s o n s a r e more l i k e l y t o a c h i e v e s u c c e s s f u l a g i n g i f t h e y do n o t w i t h d r a w o r d i s e n g a g e from s o c i e t y . A c t i v i t y t h e o r y a l s o s t a t e s t h a t : E x c e p t f o r t h e i n e v i t a b l e c h a n g e s i n b i o l o g y and h e a l t h , o l d e r p e o p l e a r e t h e same as m i d d l e - a g e d p e o p l e , w i t h e s s e n t i a l l y t h e same p s y c h o l o g i c a l and s o c i a l n e e d s . . . T h e o l d e r p e r s o n who ages o p t i m a l l y i s t h e p e r s o n who s t a y s a c t i v e and who manages t o r e s i s t t h e s h r i n k a g e o f h i s s o c i a l w o r l d . He m a i n t a i n s t h e a c t i v i t i e s o f m i d d l e age as l o n g as p o s s i b l e and t h e n f i n d s s u b s t i t u t e s f o r t h o s e a c t i v i t i e s he i s f o r c e d t o r e l i n g u i s h ; s u b s t i t u t e s f o r work when he i s f o r c e d t o r e t i r e ; s u b s t i t u t e s f o r f r i e n d s and l o v e d ones whom he l o s e s by d e a t h ( 1972 :161) . One o f t h e p r o b l e m s w i t h t h e a c t i v i t y t h e o r y l i e s i n t h e n o t i o n t h a t i n d i v i d u a l s c a n m e r e l y exchange one s e t o f r o l e s o r a c t i v i t i e s f o r a n o t h e r . F o r many, r e p l a c e m e n t o f t h e w orker r o l e i s a v e r y d i f f i c u l t o n e . Most i n d i v i d u a l s a r e n o t f r e e t o shape and r e - s h a p e t h e i r s o c i a l r o l e s , and f o r many, e n f o r c e d r e t i r e m e n t c o m p l e t e l y r e d u c e s t h e number o f a c t i v i t i e s t h e y c o u l d p r e v i o u s l y a f f o r d . 74 G e r o n t o l o g i s t s s p e a k o f r o l e l o s s a s o n e o f t h e m a i n d i s e n g a g e m e n t f e a t u r e s i n t h e l i v e s o f o l d e r p e o p l e . I n t h i s w a y , t h e y a r e s e e n t o h a v e l o s t m o r e o p p o r t u n i t i e s t o b e h a v e i n c e r t a i n w a y s : a s e m p l o y e d p e r s o n s d u e t o e n f o r c e d r e t i r e -m e n t ; a s r e l a t i v e , s p o u s e o r f r i e n d d u e t o d e a t h , i l l h e a l t h o r l a c k o f i n c o m e ; a s p a r e n t a n d p r o v i d e r t o y o u n g c h i l d r e n d u e t o f a m i l y m e m b e r s l e a v i n g h o m e . B e c a u s e t h e a c t i v i t y t h e o r y r e l i e s o n a d e v e l o p m e n t a l f r a m e w o r k a t t e m p t i n g t o d e s c r i b e b e h a v i o u r t h r o u g h t h e l i f e -c y c l e a s a s e r i e s o f p r e - t h o u g h t o u t s t e p s , i t c a n n o t d e a l w i t h t h e p e r s o n ' s u n p l a n n e d r e a c t i o n s t o e v e n t s s u c h a s r e t i r e m e n t , l o s s , a n d i l l h e a l t h . A l t h o u g h d e v e l o p m e n t a l i s t s m a y c l a i m t h a t p e r s o n s a r e i n a c o n s t a n t s t a t e o f p r e p a r i n g f o r t h e n e x t s t a g e o f t h e i r d e v e l o p m e n t a n d a r e i n a s e n s e a l w a y s ' l e a r n i n g t o c o p e ' w i t h t h e n e x t s t a g e o f l i f e , v e r y l i t t l e r e s e a r c h i s d o n e a s t o h o w i n d i v i d u a l s d o t h i s , i f i n d e e d t h e y d o . I n r e s p o n s e t o q u e s t i o n s r a i s e d a b o u t t h e s t a t u s o f o l d e r p e o p l e i n C a n a d a b y t h e N a t i o n a l A d v i s o r y C o u n c i l o n A g i n g ( 1 9 8 2 ) t h r o u g h t h e S o c i a l P l a n n i n g a n d R e v i e w C o u n c i l o f B . C . C o m m i t t e e o n A g i n g , a n i n f o r m a n t s p o k e t h i s w a y a b o u t a c t i v i t y : I a l w a y s l i k e d t o w a t c h T V w h e n I w a s y o u n g e r ; w a t c h e d i t e v e r s i n c e w e g o t o n e i n t h e l a t e 5 0 ' s . I s t i l l l i k e t o d o i t n o w . I d o n ' t w a n t n o o t h e r a c t i v i t i e s b u t t h e m I c h o o s e , j u s t l i k e a l l t h r o u g h m y l i f e . I ' m h a p p y d o i n g w h a t I l i k e a n d c h o o s e s t o d o , a l w a y s h a v e b e e n . A n o t h e r s a i d : 7 5 I ' m m o r e a c t i v e n o w t h a n I ' v e e v e r b e e n . . . I t h i n k i t ' s b e c a u s e I n e v e r r e a l l y e n j o y e d m y j o b . I w a s a h i g h s c h o o l t e a c h e r f o r t h i r t y y e a r s , t h e n I w e n t i n t o j o u r n a l i s m . N o w I r e a l l y e n j o y w h a t I d o . W o r k i n g w i t h s e n i o r s i s g r e a t . I ' m t h a n k f u l t h a t I f o u n d t h i s t y p e o f w o r k t o d o . C o n t r a r y t o w h a t d e v e l o p m e n t a l i s t s s a y a b o u t l i f e p l a n n i n g , m a n y o l d e r p e r s o n s a s s e r t t h a t t h e r e i s a l o t m o r e ' f a t e ' t o l i f e a n d i t s h a p p e n i n g s t h a n p s y c h o l o g y w o u l d s u g g e s t . A c t i v i t y t h e o r y , a s s u m i n g t h a t t h e m o r e a c t i v e a p e r s o n i s i n l a t e r l i f e , t h e m o r e s u c c e s s f u l l y h e o r s h e w i l l d e a l w i t h a g i n g , i s a n i d e a l i s t i c v i s i o n o f g r o w i n g o l d e r . I t i s e s p e c i a l l y s o f o r t h e s c i e n t i s t w h o s t u d i e s i t a n d b e l i e v e s t h a t i t c a n b e u s e d t o s a f e l y p r e d i c t b e h a v i o u r . I t i s a l s o u n r e a l i s t i c f o r t h o s e w h o b e l i e v e t h a t m e r e a c t i v i t y i s n o t t h e o n l y k e y t o g r o w i n g a n d c h a n g i n g w i t h e v e r y p a s s i n g y e a r . T h e S o c i o - E n v i r o n m e n t a l T h e o r y o f A g i n g T h i s t h e o r y , p r o p o s e d b y D a n i e l J . G u b r i u m i n T h e M y t h O f  T h e G o l d e n Y e a r s ( 1 9 7 3 ) , w a s t h e r e s u l t o f r e s e a r c h c o n d u c t e d i n D e t r o i t . T h e s t u d y e x p l o r e d t h e u t i l i t y o f c o m b i n i n g e n v i r o n m e n t a l a n d i n v i d u d u a l c o n c e p t s i n a n a l y z i n g t h e m o r a l e a n d l i f e s a t i s f a c t i o n o f t h e a g e d . T h e t h e o r y a s s e r t s t h a t s u c c e s s f u l a g i n g i s t h e r e s u l t o f t h e i n t e r - r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n a n i n d i v i d u a l ' s s o c i a l a n d e n v i r o n m e n t a l o r p h y s i c a l w o r l d s . I n o t h e r w o r d s , a n i n d i v i d u a l ' s l i f e s a t i s f a c t i o n i s d e p e n d e n t u p o n n o t o n l y s u c c e s s i n s o c i a l a c t i v i t i e s a n d 76 interactions with others, but also upon physical space, the settings in which he or she l i v e s . Gubrium suggests that morale is heightened in an environment which i s : 1) s o c i a l l y homogenous 2) close to shops, friends, r e l a t i v e s , church, community centers 3) l o c a l l y protected from crime (1973:26). He also suggests that s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s ought to produce measurement scales for l i f e - s a t i s f a c t i o n and morale which include the older person's perceptions of his or her physical environment. The socio-environmental theory asserts that: In order for persons to successfully cope with adjustment to old age they must l i v e in supportive environments in which their individual resources allow them to manipulate unfavourable situations at th e i r own speed (1973:27). Unlike the other theorists so far discussed, Gubrium i s c r i t i c a l of measurement scales, even though he uses them in his own work. He advocates the type of research which attempts to observe the s o c i a l conditions of everyday l i f e and to describe subsequent behaviours which aff e c t the l i f e -s a t i s f a c t i o n d i f f e r e n t i a l l y perceived by aging persons themselves. It i s d i f f i c u l t to be c r i t i c a l of the socio-environmental theory because i t makes a great deal of common sense. Soci o l o g i s t s , in p a r t i c u l a r , ethnographers, i n t e r a c t i o n i s t s , communications t h e o r i s t s , ecologists, and ethnomethodologists, 7 7 a r e a c u t e l y a w a r e o f t h e i m p a c t o f p h y s i c a l s p a c e u p o n s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n . S i m i l a r l y , s m a l l g r o u p s r e s e a r c h e r s a l s o d e t e r m i n e h o w p e o p l e o r i e n t t h e i r b e h a v i o u r t o w a r d s t h e p h y s i c a l e n v i r o n m e n t . B e c a u s e m a n y o l d e r p e r s o n s f i n d t h e m s e l v e s i n i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d s p a c e s , G u b r i u m ' s t h e o r y s e e m s r e l e v a n t . H i s b o o k L i v i n g a n d D y i n g i n M u r r a y M a n o r ( 1 9 7 5 ) p r o v i d e s a n e x c e l l e n t a c c o u n t o f l i f e i n a n i n s t i t u t i o n f o r t h e a g e d . I t a l s o e x p l o r e s h i s t h e o r y i n m o r e d e t a i l . G u b r i u m r e c o g n i z e s t h e c r u c i a l i n p u t o f s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n s , c u l t u r a l v a l u e s , a n d m e a n i n g s i n d e a l i n g w i t h o l d a g e , a n d , h o w d i f f e r e n t i a l p e r c e p t i o n s a n d d e f i n i t i o n s o f a g i n g c a n a f f e c t i n d i v i d u a l s . T h e T h e o r y o f t h e A g e d a s a S u b - C u l t u r e I n t h e t h e o r y o f t h e a g e d a s a s u b - c u l t u r e , A r n o l d R o s e ( 1 9 6 5 ) l o o k s a t t h e o l d i n t e r m s o f a n i n t e r a c t i o n i s t p e r s p e c t i v e . H e b e g i n s b y e x p l o r i n g t h e i n t e r a c t i o n s b e t w e e n o l d e r i n d i v i d u a l s a n d o t h e r a g e g r o u p s i n s o c i e t y . A c c o r d i n g t o R o s e , a s u b - c u l t u r e e m e r g e s w h e n o n e c a t e g o r y o f p e r s o n s i n t e r a c t s m o r e a m o n g t h e m s e l v e s t h a n w i t h m e m b e r s o f o t h e r c a t e g o r i e s . T h i s o c c u r s u n d e r t w o s e t s o f c i r c u m s t a n c e s : ( 1 ) T h e m e m b e r s h a v e a p o s i t i v e a f f i n i t y f o r e a c h o t h e r , e . g . g a i n s t o b e h a d f r o m e a c h o t h e r , l o n g - s t a n d i n g f r i e n d s h i p s , c o m m o n b a c k -g r o u n d s a n d i n t e r e s t s , c o m m o n p r o b l e m s a n d c o n c e r n s . ( 2 ) T h e m e m b e r s a r e e x c l u d e d f r o m i n t e r a c t i o n w i t h o t h e r g r o u p s i n t h e p o p u l a t i o n t o s o m e s i g n i f i c a n t e x t e n t ( 1 9 6 5 : 3 ) . 78 R o s e c l a i m s t h a t d e m o g r a p h i c , e c o l o g i c a l , a n d s o c i a l o r g a n i z -a t i o n a l t r e n d s i n N o r t h A m e r i c a a r e c r e a t i n g a n e n v i r o n m e n t f o r t h e a g e d w h i c h f o r c e s t h e m i n t o a s u b - c u l t u r e . H e s a y s t h a t , d u e t o t h e i n c r e a s e o f e l d e r l y i n t h e p o p u l a t i o n a n d b e c a u s e o f p r e v e n t a t i v e m e d i c i n e a n d a d v a n c e s i n h e a l t h c a r e t e c h n o l o g y , m o r e p e r s o n s a r e a c t i v e l y a b l e t o e n t e r a s u b -c u l t u r e . O t h e r c o n d i t i o n s w h i c h c a u s e t h e a g e d t o b e c o m e a s u b - c u l t u r e a r e c i t e d b y R o s e a s b e i n g s e g r e g a t e d h o u s i n g a r r a n g e m e n t s , r e t i r e m e n t p o l i c i e s , d e v e l o p m e n t o f s o c i a l s e r -v i c e s w h i c h b r i n g o l d e r p e o p l e t o g e t h e r a n d t h e i n c r e a s e d u s e o f r e c r e a t i o n a l f a c i l i t i e s d e s i g n e d s o l e l y f o r t h e a g e d . T h e s e f a c t o r s a n d o t h e r s e x p l a i n , a c c o r d i n g t o R o s e , h o w i t i s t h a t t h e a g e d c o n s t i t u t e a s u b - c u l t u r e . U s i n g t h i s i n t e r a c t i o n i s t a p p r o a c h , o n e c a n c l a i m t h a t o l d e r p e o p l e a r e f o r c e d t o i n t e r a c t w i t h e a c h o t h e r m o r e f r e q u e n t l y t h a n w i t h o t h e r a g e g r o u p s . O n e o f t h e p r o b l e m s w i t h t h i s p a r t i c u l a r t h e o r e t i c a l f r a m e w o r k i s t h a t w e d o n o t s e e e v i d e n c e i n a l l o l d p e o p l e ' s l i v e s o f s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n b e i n g s o l e l y w i t h t h e i r a g e p e e r g r o u p . T h e n a t u r e o f t h e s e t h e o r i e s i s t o p r o v i d e g e n e r a l i z e d , u n i v e r s a l s t a t e m e n t s a b o u t o l d a g e . B e c a u s e t h e y a r e i n t h i s s e n s e q u a n t i t a t i v e , t h e y c a n n o t o f f e r q u a l i t a t i v e d e s c r i p t i o n s . I t h a s b e e n m y e x p e r i e n c e t h a t m o s t o l d e r p e o p l e i n t e r a c t a c r o s s g e n e r a t i o n a l l i n e s , a n d m a n y s t a t e t h a t t h e y p r e f e r t h e c o m p a n y o f y o u n g e r p e o p l e t o o l d e r o n e s . A p a r t i c i p a n t i n t h e U B C S u m m e r p r o g r a m f o r R e t i r e d 79 P e r s o n s (1982) t o l d m e : I l i k e t o c o m e h e r e b u t I g e t k i n d o f f e d u p w i t h a l l t h e s e o l d p e o p l e . T h a t ' s w h y I c o m e a n d l i s t e n t o y o u . I t ' s n i c e t o h e a r f r o m s o m e o n e y o u n g e r w h a t y o u t h i n k a b o u t u s . M o s t o f m y f r i e n d s a r e y o u n g p e o p l e . M y t h o u g h t s a r e m o r e s i m i l a r t o t h e y o u n g e r g e n e r a t i o n . T h e t h e o r y i m p l i e s t h a t o l d p e o p l e i d e n t i f y t h e m s e l v e s p r i m a r i l y a s ' o l d ' a n d t h a t i t i s t h i s v i s i b l e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c w h i c h b r i n g s t h e m t o g e t h e r . E x p e r i e n c e s h a v e s h o w n t h a t o l d e r p e o p l e t h i n k o f t h e m s e l v e s f o r e m o s t a s i n d i v i d u a l s a n d o n l y s e c o n d l y a s ' o l d e r ' o n e s . A c o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h a s e n i o r s ' a d v o c a t e i n 1982 a s s e r t e d t h i s n o t i o n : I d o n ' t t h i n k o f m y s e l f a s o l d , j u s t o l d e r . W h e n I d o t h i n k a b o u t m y s e l f a s s o m e t h i n g , I t h i n k o f m e a s a r e t i r e d h e a l t h c a r e w o r k e r . B e i n g r e t i r e d i s a c l u e t o m y a g e , b u t I d o n ' t h a v e a n y f e e l i n g s a b o u t t h i s o n e w a y o r a n o t h e r . I ' m s t i l l m e a n d t h a t i s a g e l e s s t o a g r e a t d e g r e e . A c c o r d i n g t o t h i s i n f o r m a n t , t h e m e m b e r s h i p c a t e g o r i z a t i o n d e v i c e " o l d " i s a n i n a p p r o p r i a t e o n e f o r h o w s h e f e e l s a n d b e h a v e s a s a n i n d i v i d u a l . I n h e r a t t e m p t t o a s s e r t t h e m o r e s o c i a l l y a c c e p t a b l e c a t e g o r y w h i c h d i s p l a y s n o t a g e b u t i n d i v i d u a l i s m — t h e " m e " i n h e r s t a t e m e n t — s h e c l a i m s t h a t h e r i m a g e o f s e l f i s " a g e l e s s " a n d t h u s . s h e e x h i b i t s a r e l u c t a n c e t o a c c e p t t h e l a b e l " o l d . " R o s e a s s e r t s t h a t w h e n o l d p e o p l e c o n g r e g a t e i n a l i v i n g o r r e c r e a t i o n a l s p a c e t h e y w i l l i n t e r a c t o u t o f a c o m m o n b o n d o f o l d a g e . Y e t , m a n y i n f o r m a n t s w o r k i n g w i t h s e n i o r s s a y , i t 80 i s v e r y d i f f i c u l t t o g e t t h e m t o t a l k w i t h e a c h o t h e r . T h e e x p l a n a t i o n c i t e d s u g g e s t s t h a t o l d e r p e r s o n s w e r e s e n t t o s u c h s e t t i n g s b y w e l l - m e a n i n g f a m i l y , f r i e n d s , o r s o c i a l w o r k e r s . O n e " f e i s t y o l d b i r d , " a s s h e w a s r e f e r r e d t o b y t h e s o c i a l w o r k e r o f a n i n s t i t u t i o n i n V i c t o r i a , s a i d : T h e y a r e a l w a y s t r y i n g t o g e t y o u t o d o s o m e t h i n g — p a i n t i n g , o r c a r p e t b o w l i n g , o r m a k i n g t o y s f o r t h e k i d s . T o h e l l w i t h t h e m I s a y , I n e v e r a s k e d t o b e p u t i n h e r e a n d I a m d a m n e d i f I ' l l m e s s a b o u t w i t h t h e s e o l d b i d d i e s t h e y ' v e g o t i n h e r e ( 1 9 7 9 ) . A s e n i o r s ' a d v o c a t e a n d a u t h o r o f a c o l u m n f o r t h e e l d e r l y i n a l o c a l n e w s p a p e r a l s o v i e w e d t h e a g e d a s a s u b -c u l t u r e f o r a t l e a s t t h r e e r e a s o n s : 1) A g e — t h e y a r e a l l s i x t y - f i v e y e a r s o r m o r e . 2) R i t u a l — p e n s i o n s , s e e i n g t h e m s e l v e s a n d o t h e r s a s o l d a n d a c t i n g t h e w a y t h e y t h i n k t h e y s h o u l d a c t . 3) C o m m o n e x p e r i e n c e s — h i s t o r i c a l e x p e r i e n c e s l i k e t h e t w o w o r l d w a r s , n o r a d i o o r T V , o n l y n e w s p a p e r s t h e n , d e p r e s s i o n s , c h a n g e s i n t e c h -n o l o g y . T h e n t h e r e w e r e c u l t u r a l s t y l e s t h e y s h a r e d — d r e s s , m u s i c , r e l i g i o n , w h a t w e n o w c a l l ' l i f e - s t y l e s . ' A l l o f t h e s e t h i n g s p u t t h e a g e d i n t o a s u b - c u l t u r e . ( C h u c k B a y l e y : l e c t u r e t o S o c i o l o g y 4 5 0 , U B C , N o v e m b e r 1 3 , 1981) . T h e s e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s w e r e p a r t o f a m e m b e r ' s t h e o r y o f t h e a g e d a s a s u b - c u l t u r e a n d t h e y a r e s h a r e d b y m a n y o f h i s p e e r s . 81 Theory Of The Aged As A Minority Group This theory bears some s i m i l a r i t y to the one just discussed in that i t too r e l i e s on a i n t e r a c t i o n i s t framework. Put forward by Barron i t describes the minority group c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the aged in the following way: 1) They're viewed by some as a menace and a group to fear; 2) they experience prejudice and stereotyping in employment; they possess feelings of self-consciousness and defensive-ness; 3) they benefit from antidiscrimination l e g i s l a t i o n p a r a l l e l l i n g that for ethnic minorities (1953:477). Palmore agreed with Barron's theory and added: There i s more prejudice, segregation and discrimination directed towards the aged than towards other oppressed persons such as women, children and ethnics (1977:38). Streib (1965) suggests that the aged are discriminated against on the basis of a shared common b i o l o g i c a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c . Using t h i s theory, l i k e other forms of discrimination, old age depends upon the v i s i b i l i t y of personal c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . If older people do not 'look t h e i r age,' then supposedly they are not discriminated against. Streib argues that because the aged are underprivileged and that t h i s becomes exacerbated as they age, they are also a deprived group. He adds, "the more modern the society, the more true this i s " (1965:315). The problem with both the aged as a sub-culture approach and as a minority group has to do with d e f i n i t i o n s and who 8 2 l a b e l s w h o m . I f w e t h i n k o f t h e a g e d a s , b e l o n g i n g t o a s p e c i a l i z e d g r o u p , r a t h e r t h a n a s m a i n s t r e a m m e m b e r s w h o j u s t h a p p e n t o b e o l d e r t h a n s o m e o t h e r s , h o w d o e s t h i s a t t i t u d e a f f e c t i n t e r a c t i o n s w i t h t h e m a n d d o t h e y i d e n t i f y t h e m s e l v e s a s m e m b e r s o f a p a r t i c u l a r g r o u p ? I f t h e y d o , w h a t p r e s e n -t a t i o n o f s e l f m u s t t h e y m a k e t o b e a c c o u n t e d f o r a s ' s u c h a n d s u c h ' a g r o u p m e m b e r ? T h i s l a b e l l i n g p r o c e s s i s a l w a y s a p r o b l e m f o r m o s t o f u s t h r o u g h o u t o u r l i v e s . I t i s p e r h a p s e s p e c i a l l y f r u s t r a t i n g f o r o l d e r p e o p l e b e c a u s e o f t h e n e g a -t i v e s t e r e o t y p i n g w h i c h e x i s t s t o w a r d s p e o p l e i n t h e i r a g e g r o u p . A s o n e i n f o r m a n t , a m e m b e r o f a l o c a l S e n i o r s ' N e t w o r k , t o l d m e i n a n i n t e r v i e w i n 1 9 8 2 : I t i s v e r y b a d , y o u k n o w . We a r e t o o o l d f o r s o m e t h i n g s , n e a r l y o l d e n o u g h f o r o t h e r s , a n d t o o y o u n g , i f w e d o n ' t c a r r y o u r b u s p a s s , f o r o t h e r s . W h e n I w a s i n m y f i f t i e s , a f t e r m y h u s b a n d d i e d , I c o u l d n ' t g e t t h e O A S ( o l d a g e s e c u r i t y ) b e c a u s e I w a s t o o y o u n g . W h e n h i s p e n s i o n r a n o u t a n d I w a s i n m y s i x t i e s , I c o u l d n ' t g e t t h e w e l f a r e b e c a u s e I w a s t o o o l d . I n e v e r s e e m t o g e t i n a t t h e r i g h t a g e l S o m e f o l k t h i n k t h a t w e g e t t o o m u c h a t o u r a g e , o t h e r s t h i n k w e d o n ' t g e t e n o u g h . I t ' s t h o s e d a r n e d l a b e l s , y o u k n o w — h o w o l d d o y o u t h i n k I a m . . . a n d w h a t h a s i t g o t t o d o w i t h h o w I f e e l ? I i n t e r p r e t t h i s i n f o r m a n t a s s a y i n g t h a t , i f w e l a b e l p e o p l e a s m e m b e r s o f a g r o u p , b e i t e t h n i c , r e l i g i o u s , g e n d e r , o r a g e , w e d o a d i s s e r v i c e t o t h e m a s u n i q u e i n d i v i d u a l s , w h o , f o r p e r h a p s o n l y a p o r t i o n o f t h e i r l i v e s a s t o t a l p e r s o n s a r e t a r g e t s f o r a n o f t e n p e j o r a t i v e l a b e l . T h e n o t i o n o f b e l o n g i n g t o a " m i n o r i t y " g r o u p s i g n i f i e s s t i g m a o r s o m e h o w p o w e r l e s s 83 persons. We tend not to speak of p o l i t i c i a n s , e x e c u t i v e s , and p r o f e s s i o n a l s as members of m i n o r i t y groups. The Theory of Aging And S o c i a l Exchange T h i s theory has r e c e n t l y been r e c o n c e p t u a l i z e d by James Dowd (1979, 1980). I t assumes that a l l i n t e r a c t i o n s r e s t on an exchange of rewards and c o s t s which m a i n t a i n " p r o f i t : " The b a s i c assumption u n d e r l y i n g much of the r e s e a r c h c o l l e c t i v e l y known as exchange theory i s that i n t e r a c t i o n between i n d i v i d u a l s or c o l l e c t i v e s can be c h a r a c t e r i z e d as "attempts to maximize rewards, both m a t e r i a l and non-m a t e r i a l " (Knipe, 1971)... In e f f e c t , a l l behaviour e n t a i l s c o s t s even i f the c o s t i n v o l v e d i s o n l y the p r o b a b l i t y of rewards that are a s s o c i a t e d with the a c t i v i t y other than the a c t i v i t y being p r e s e n t l y pursued (1980:102-3). When ap p l y i n g t h i s theory to o l d age and the n o t i o n of s u c c e s s f u l aging, Dowd cla i m s that decreased s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n i s the eventual r e s u l t of a s e r i e s of exchange r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n which: the r e l a t i v e power of the aged v i s - a - v i s t h e i r s o c i a l environment i s g r a d u a l l y d i m i n i s h e d u n t i l a l l that remains of t h e i r power r e s o u r -ces i s the humble c a p a c i t y to comply. ( 1980 :104) . For Dowd, the aged rep r e s e n t a de c r e a s i n g power source, t h e r e f o r e t h e i r a b i l i t y to exchange goods, s e r v i c e s experiences and resources f o r p r o f i t i s l e s s e n e d : 84 Where once the now-retired worker was able to exchange expertise for needed wages, the f i n a l exchange required of most older workers would be th e i r compliance, in the form of acquiescence to mandatory retirement as exchange for sustenance (1980:104). In summarizing his theore t i c a l assumptions to the exchange rates of older persons, he concludes that the old have very l i t t l e to exchange which i s of any instrumental value. If persons are viewed as worthy in terms of money, material possessions, and p o l i t i c a l power then i t i s possible that t h e i r potential for exchange i s less than those of other age groups. However, depending on the type of interaction taking place, the rewards and costs may be d i f f e r e n t l y defined. An ex-businessperson's experience may be very b e n e f i c i a l to someone currently involved in t h i s f i e l d but less rewarding elsewhere. Some s k i l l s do not become "outmoded" and indeed " r e t i r e d " workers are often invited back into the work force. Dowd adopts some notions from development and learning theories that imply there i s a time when learning ceases. Studies in adult s o c i a l i z a t i o n suggest otherwise. Interviews I conducted have shown that the opposite i s indeed true for a great number of older people. Stories constantly revealed eighty-one year olds learning to make and s e l l weaving, pot-tery, and sculpture; many " r e t i r e d " professors who now teach subjects which they did not when they were "paid" for th e i r work; a conductor of music who scolded me when I suggested 85 t h a t I w a s " t o o o l d " t o t r a i n m y e a r s o t h a t I c o u l d p l a y a n i n s t r u m e n t , c l a i m i n g " I w a s s i x t y - t w o w h e n I t o o k u p m u s i c . N o w a t s i x t y - e i g h t I c o n d u c t t h e V i c t o r i a B a c h o r c h e s t r a a n d c h o i r . S o d o n ' t e v e r s a y t h a t y o u a r e t o o o l d . " T h e A g e - S t r a t i f i c a t i o n T h e o r y T h i s t h e o r y , p u t f o r w a r d b y R i l e y , J o h n s o n , a n d F o n e r ( 1 9 7 2 ) i s s i m i l a r t o t h e a g i n g a s a s u b - c u l t u r e p e r s p e c t i v e i n t h a t i t s u g g e s t s t h a t o l d p e o p l e r e p r e s e n t a p a r t i c u l a r s t r a t a o r s u b - g r o u p w i t h i n s o c i e t y . A n a g e - c o h o r t a n a l y s i s i s u s e d w h i c h a s s u m e s t h a t b e c a u s e o l d p e o p l e w e r e b o r n d u r i n g a p -p r o x i m a t e l y t h e s a m e t i m e p e r i o d , t h e y s h a r e s i m i l a r i d e a s , a t t i t u d e s , a n d v a l u e s c o m m o n t o t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r c u l t u r a l a n d h i s t o r i c a l t i m e s : B e c a u s e o f a g e g r a d i n g , b i r t h c o h o r t s - p e o p l e b o r n d u r i n g t h e s a m e i n t e r v a l i n h i s t o r y - t e n d t o d e v e l o p a s u b c u l t u r e o f t h e i r o w n . T h e y t e n d t o b e c o m e c o h o r t - c e n t r i c , t h e y t e n d t o s e l e c t f r i e n d s a n d m a r r i a g e s f r o m a m o n g a g e m a t e s a n d c o l l e c t i v e l y t o i n t e r p r e t t h e v a r i o u s s t a g e s o f l i f e f r o m t h e s t a n d p o i n t o f t h e h i s t o r i c a l e r a i n w h i c h t h e y e x p e r i e n c e d i t ( 1 9 7 2 : 2 2 ) . T h i s t h e o r y i s p r i m a r i l y i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e p r o c e s s e s b y w h i c h d i f f e r e n t d i s t i n c t a g e - s t r a t a a r e p r o d u c e d , a n d i n t h e t y p e s o f i n t e r a c t i o n s w h i c h t a k e p l a c e b e t w e e n g e n e r a t i o n s . M o s t o f t h e a g e - c o h o r t r e s e a r c h o n a t t i t u d e s t o w a r d s a v a r i e t y o f s u b j e c t s , s u c h a s r e l i g i o n , p o l i t i c s , a n d m a r r i a g e , s h o w s t h e r e i s a g r e a t d i s p a r i t y f r o m g r o u p t o g r o u p . 86 The a g e - s t r a t i f i c a t i o n t h e o r y a s s e r t s t h a t a l l o l d p e o p l e s h a r e c e r t a i n s o c i a l and p e r s o n a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , d e s p i t e some i n d i v i d u a l v a r i a n c e . In s h o r t , s o c i a l r o l e s and r e g u -l a t i o n s a r e i n v a r i a n t . The work o f t h e t h e o r y i s t o t r y t o l i n k up t h e s t r u c t u r a l e l e m e n t s t o see what a f f e c t combined f a c t o r s have on t h e a g i n g p r o c e s s . In t h i s manner, t h i s p a r -t i c u l a r t h e o r y i s s i m i l a r t o t h e s o c i o - e n v i r o n m e n t a l a p p r o a c h . The a g e - s t r a t i f i c a t i o n t h e o r y a t t e m p t s t o b u i l d a model o f o l d age a c c o u n t i n g f o r a l l i t s p a r t s and components. In t h i s way i t o f f e r s p e r h a p s t h e most e x t e n s i v e o v e r v i e w o f a l l t h e t h e o r i e s o f g e r o n t o l o g y . T hese t h e o r i e s a r e g e r o n t o l g i s t s 1 means o f e x p l o r i n g o l d age, e s p e c i a l l y t h e n o t i o n o f ' s u c c e s s f u l a g i n g . ' Some q u e s t i o n s s t i l l r e m a i n . Can p e o p l e age ' u n s u c c e s s f u l l y , ' and i f s o , how would we r e c o g n i z e t h i s ? I s t h e g e r o n t o l o g i s t ' s f a s c i n a t i o n w i t h s u c c e s s f u l a g i n g an a t t e m p t t o p r o d u c e a p r e d i c t i v e m o d e l , a l b e i t v a l u e j u d g e m e n t a l , o f 'good' o l d p e o p l e , w h i c h a l l o f us c a n f o l l o w ? Or, i s i t a means t o a c q u i r e power o v e r t h e o l d , as some a u t h o r s a l r e a d y c i t e d have s u g g e s t e d ? In p r o d u c i n g and m a i n t a i n i n g t h e o r i e s and ' f a c t s ' a b o u t a g i n g , g e r o n t o l o g i s t s a r e c r e a t i n g s o c i a l r e a l i t i e s w h i c h u l t i m a t e l y e x t e n d beyond t h e i r a c a d e m i c work p l a c e s : Our knowledge i s h a v i n g r e a l e f f e c t s on r e a l p e o p l e . . . a n d we must come t o t e r m s w i t h t h e r e c o g n i t i o n t h a t " f a c t s " u l t i m a t e l y r e s i d e i n t h e p r o d u c e r s o f knowledge and t h a t s u c h knowledge has s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l c o n s e q u e n c e s ( e m p h a s i s m i n e , E s t e s 1 9 7 8 : 4 9 ) . 87 Gerontologica l theor ies tend to view old age as a s o c i a l problem, e i ther for the old personal ly in terms of t h e i r a b i l i t y to cope with aging, or for soc iety in i t s a b i l i t y to cope with an increas ing aged populat ion. By so doing, they can help create myths and labe ls which are d iscr iminatory in nature. I r o n i c a l l y , these theor ies and the i d e o l o g i c a l perspectives inherent within them also do the work of l a b e l l i n g geronto log is ts , be they academics or p r o f e s s i o n a l s , in equal ly negative ways. As j o u r n a l i s t Sharon Curt in puts i t : There i s a prest ig ious Senate Committee on Aging which holds frequent hearings into the s p e c i a l problems of the o l d . But I wonder what a l l t h i s a c t i v i t y r e a l l y amounts to? I wonder what r e a l d i f ference i t makes that seventeen s p e c i a l i s t s in the f i e l d of gerontology appeared before a senate committee and s a i d . . . T h e y just keep saying over and over " A i n ' t i t awfu l . " I see nothing new coming from the eminent gerontologist - s o c i o l o g i s t psychologists who a l l suf fer from the same bl indness and poverty of imagination (1972:217-8 ) . Some analysts claim that theories are " r e s t r a i n i n g myths" (Hamilton 1975) which, although they may be unsubstantiated by empir ica l data, are s t i l l treated as "true" because a " s c i e n t i f i c " community has deemed them to be worthy of i n v e s t i g a t i o n . The impl icat ion here i s that i f p ro fess iona ls be l ieve in disengagement or a c t i v i t y as a good th ing to do in the l a t e r years , then less knowledgeable or at l eas t less s c i e n t i f i c a l l y or iented people be l ieve i t too. What Hamilton says of theor ies in general i s also true for geronto log ica l 88 t h e o r i e s . Even though each theory has been d i s p u t e d by other s c h o l a r s f r e q u e n t l y on both e m p i r i c a l and methodological grounds, they s t i l l appear i n every new t e x t book on aging and are always i n c l u d e d i n courses on gerontology. Although I too qu e s t i o n t h e i r u s e f u l n e s s as u n i v e r s a l statements about growing o l d , they nonetheless provide a h i s t o r i c a l overview of key themes i n the development of gerontology as a c u l t u r e . They i n t r o d u c e students to t h e o r e t i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e s found i n some of the i n t e r - d i s c i p l i n e s w i t h i n gerontology, e s p e c i a l l y s o c i o l o g y and psychology, and they present f o r a n a l y s i s some of the major met h o d o l o g i c a l concepts i n g e r o n t o l o g i c a l r e s e a r c h such as l i f e - s a t i s f a c t i o n , morale, q u a l i t y of l i f e , and s u c c e s s f u l aging. The t h e o r i e s a l s o d i s p l a y p a r t of the i d e o l o g i c a l base upon which gerontology i s founded. M a r s h a l l and T i n d a l e p o i n t out t h a t through g e r o n t o l o g i c a l i d e o l o g y the aging i n d i v i d u a l ' s ...moral or l i f e s a t i s f a c t i o n , adjustment to the s o c i a l system or i n t e r a c t i o n with i t provide the key themes i n s o c i a l g e r o n t o l o g y . . . The overwhelming t h r u s t of geronto l o g y i n p r a c t i c e , and g e r o n t o l o g i c a l theory, concerns the a d a p t a t i o n or adjustment of aging i n d i v i d u a l s to the p r e v a i l i n g s o c i a l r e a l i t y (1978:164)• The e x i s t i n g t h e o r e t i c a l paradigms of gerontology present a " r e a l i t y " which i s b a s i c a l l y "good" and i n which the o l d need to be adjusted i n order to " f i t " i n t o i t . The s o c i a l r u l e s and p r a c t i c e s are thus not questioned whereas the r o l e s of the o l d w i t h i n i t a r e . 89 Gerontologists are able to deduce l o g i c a l inferences from one s o c i a l form, oldness, into other s o c i a l forms such as gerontology. The demographic p r o f i l e of a given community, the health status of p a r t i c u l a r i n d i v i d u a l s , the housing needs of others — these r e a l i t i e s , thoughts or ideas become recognized and constituted as the st u f f of gerontology. Within these ideas are methods for generating facts and information about a given issue. It i s in t h i s sense that Smith speaks of ideology as a methodology, as a p a r t i c l u a r way of ordering the s o c i a l world though which "what ought to be explained is treated as fact or assumption" ( 1 9 7 5 : 9 ) . For example, instead of beginning with the assumption that old age and the s o c i a l practices associated with i t are a necessary function within society, as the disengagement theory does, i t could be asked instead 'what work does old age do in our society?' If we take this p a r t i c u l a r task to hand by looking at how old age gets done in everyday l i f e by assorted actors, i t becomes whatever people say and do which displays them constructing old agedness. We take then a d i f f e r e n t kind of ideological stance in this case. In order to put into action a system of ideas about old age, gerontologists, l i k e a l l professionals or s c i e n t i s t s , use a special language to communicate with one another and with non-gerontologists. This special language, be i t spoken or written, is what Smith (1975) c a l l s a "currency of exchange," a p a r t i c u l a r way of speaking about observed everyday events 9 0 w h i c h d i s p l a y s o n e a s a s p e c i a l i s t . We u s e t h e g e r o n t o l o g i c a l c u r r e n c y w h e n w e w i s h t o p r e s e n t o u r s e l v e s a s s o m e o n e f a m i l i a r w i t h a n d p e r h a p s e x p e r t a t a p a r t i c u l a r t a s k , n a m e l y , p r o d u c i n g k n o w l e d g e a b o u t o l d a g e . L a n g u a g e , a s a m a n i f e s t a t i o n o f t h o u g h t s a n d i d e a s o f a p a r t i c u l a r k i n d , o f k n o w i n g t h e c u r r e n c y r a t e , i s o n e w a y i n w h i c h i d e o l o g y i s m a d e v i s i b l e . F o r t h e g e r o n t o l o g i s t , a n e v e r y d a y e v e n t s u c h a s a t t e n d i n g a c o m m u n i t y c e n t r e , m i g h t b e t r a n s l a t e d i n t o a g e -c o h o r t a c t i v i t y , o r t h e u s e o f l e i s u r e t i m e , o r a c t i n g w i t h a n a g e r o l e , f o r e x a m p l e . W h e n t h e l a n g u a g e , o r j a r g o n a s i t i s o f t e n t e r m e d , i s i n t h e f o r m o f w r i t t e n m a t e r i a l , i t d o e s t h e w o r k o f p r o v i d i n g a n e x a m p l e o f w h a t g e r o n t o l o g y i s . T h e i r w o r k , b e i t r e s e a r c h , w r i t i n g , s p e a k i n g a t c o n f e r e n c e s , o r o r g a n i z i n g p r o g r a m s a n d s e r v i c e s , a r e d i s p l a y s o f g e r o n t o l o g y . T h e s e f e a t u r e s o f s p e a k i n g , w r i t i n g , a n d d o i n g a r e p a r t o f t h e s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n a n d p r o d u c t i o n o f t h e k n o w l e d g e o f g e r o n t o l o g i s t s a s w e l l a s t h e i r i d e o l o g i e s a b o u t o l d p e o p l e . I t i s i n t h i s s e n s e t h a t w h a t p e o p l e s a y i s a r e f l e c t i o n o f w h a t p e o p l e a c t u a l l y d o . W h a t p e o p l e s a y a n d d o a r e e x a m p l e s o f h o w t h e y t h i n k . T h e i d e o l o g y d i s p l a y e d t h r o u g h t h e t h e o r i e s o f g e r o n t o l o g y h a v e p o l i t i c a l c o n s e q u e n c e s b e c a u s e t h e y t e n d t o g e n e r a t e m o r e d a t a i n t h e i r o w n n a m e , t h u s t h e y a r e h e l d t o b e ' f a c t u a l ' a n d s c i e n t i f i c ' t r u t h s ' a b o u t a g i n g . T h e y a l s o h e l p t o b r i n g a b o u t a c t i o n a n d t o s h a p e p o l i c y d e c i s i o n s b e c a u s e 91 o n e g r o u p o f ' e x p e r t s , ' n a m e l y b u r e a u c r a t s a n d p l a n n e r s , a c c e p t s t h e k n o w l e d g e o f o t h e r s , n a m e l y s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s a n d p r o f e s s i o n a l s i n t h e f i e l d o f a g i n g . T h e o r i e s a l s o h a v e p o l i t i c a l c o n s q u e n c e s i n t h a t t h e y r e i n f o r c e a m b i g u i t y w h e r e c l a r i t y a n d a n u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e o l d f r o m a p h e n o m e n o l o g i c a l a p p r o a c h m a y p r o v i d e m o r e a p p r o p r i a t e d e s c r i p t i o n s o f h o w i t i s t o a g e . 92 C H A P T E R F O U R : T H E N O T I O N O F H E L P A S I D E O L O G Y  I N G E R O N T O L O G Y G e r o n t o l o g i s t s n o t e t h a t t h e i r w o r k i s i n t e n d e d t o h e l p t h e a g e d . T h i s h e l p i s s e e n t o b e p r o v i d e d g e n e r a l l y t h r o u g h a p r o c e s s w h i c h m a k e s t h e o l d m o r e v i s i b l e b y c r e a t i n g m o r e a w a r e n e s s o f t h e m a n d t h e i r l i v e s t h r o u g h s u c h t h i n g s a s r e s e a r c h , l i t e r a t u r e , p u b l i c t a l k s , a n d m e e t i n g s . S p e c i f i c a l l y h e l p i s s e e n t o b e g i v e n b y f o c u s i n g o n s p e c i a l i s s u e s s a i d t o a f f e c t t h e o l d , s u c h a s t h e n e e d f o r a d e q u a t e h e a l t h c a r e , h o u s i n g , i n c o m e , a n d n u t r i t i o n . H e l p i s p a r t o f t h e i d e o l o g i c a l s t r u c t u r e , t h e s y s t e m o f i d e a s b y w h i c h g e r o n t o l o g y i s s o c i a l l y p r o d u c e d a n d m a i n t a i n e d . I t i s u s e d a s a n o r g a n i z i n g p r i n c i p a l , a n o p e r a t i o n a l i m p e r a t i v e b y w h i c h s o m e g e r o n t o l o g i c a l w o r k i s p e r f o r m e d . S o m e o f t h e w a y s g e r o n t o l o g i s t s c l a i m t o h e l p t h e o l d a r e t h r o u g h t h e i r e n c o u r a g e m e n t o f s e l f d e t e r m i n i s m , t h r o u g h r a i s i n g i s s u e s w h i c h a f f e c t t h e m a s " s o c i a l p r o b l e m s , " t h r o u g h c o n s u l t a t i v e w o r k a n d r e s e a r c h e f f o r t s . I n o r d e r t o p r o v i d e h e l p i n t h i s s i t u a t i o n , a d e c i s i o n m u s t b e m a d e b y t h e h e l p e r a s t o w h e t h e r t h e p e r s o n b e i n g h e l p e d r e q u i r e s a s s i s t a n c e . T h e r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r t h e p r o v i s i o n o f h e l p a r e b a s e d u p o n t h e a g e n c y c r e a t i n g a " n o r m a l " p e r s o n w h o p r e s u m a b l y l i v e s h i s o r h e r l i f e w i t h o u t h e l p ; t h e " c l i e n t ' s " n e e d s a r e m e a s u r e d a g a i n s t t h i s n o r m a l p e r s o n ' s a b i l i t y t o f u n c t i o n " p r o p e r l y . " T h e d e c i s i o n t o p r o v i d e h e l p i s n o r m a l l y m a d e b y o n e 93 person, usually the individual's physician or a s o c i a l worker. As the following informant states, the helpers subsequently assigned can come from a variety of professions: Well, after we have sent in an assessor to check what the c l i e n t r e a l l y needs — they are usually public health nurses or s o c i a l workers so they know what to look for — then we can provide a l l sorts of help. Maybe a homemaker needs to go i n , maybe a VON nurse or some other public nurse, maybe a s o c i a l worker. Sometimes they get Meals on Wheels. Maybe they need the Handidart bus to take them on a business v i s i t . Maybe they need to get to an adult day care centre, and then we need to arrange for them to be registered and then to have someone pick them up, take them to the centre and then bring them back home. A l o t of people can be sent in to help the c l i e n t out (interview, June 18, 1982). As t h i s informant points out, the helpers can offe r a wide variety of s o c i a l services. Help can be seen as a mu l t i -professional endeavour. Gerontology i s cited by many of i t s authors as m u l t i - d i s c i p l i n a r y in i t s scope and d i r e c t i o n . In this way, the s o c i a l needs of the old who require assistance are seen to be met by various professional agencies. This multifaceted approach to helping i s discussed by I l l i c h in the following way: Needs... coalesce into what the experts c a l l a " m u l t i d i s c i p l i n a r y problem," necessitating, therefore, a multi-professional solution (1977:25). When the old are seen to need assistance, a team of helpers such as doctors, home makers, s o c i a l workers, and the clergy, 9 4 a r e b r o u g h t i n t o t h e i r l i v e s t o p r o v i d e , o r t a k e o v e r , a c t i v i t i e s w h i c h t h e i n d i v i d u a l u s e d t o d o f o r h i m o r h e r s e l f . T h e r e i s a c o m m o n s e n s e n o t i o n i n o u r s o c i e t y w h i c h i s b a c k e d u p b y g o v e r n m e n t p o l i c y a t a l l l e v e l s , t h a t a l l p e o p l e s h o u l d b e e n t i t l e d t o l i v e a g o o d l i f e w i t h a d e q u a t e f o o d , s h e l t e r , i n c o m e , a n d h e a l t h c a r e . W h e n p e o p l e a r e u n a b l e t o m e e t t h e s e r e q u i r e m e n t s t h r o u g h t h e i r o w n r e s o u r c e s , p r o f e s s i o n a l s b e c o m e t h e a r c h i t e c t s a n d g a t e - k e e p e r s o f h o w t h i s l i f e c a n b e m a d e i n t o a g o o d o n e . T h e i r n o t i o n o f ' g o o d ' i s d e t e r m i n e d b y w h a t s e r v i c e s a n d p r o g r a m s a r e c u r r e n t l y a v a i l a b l e w i t h i n a g i v e n o r g a n i z a t i o n o r g o v e r n m e n t p o l i c y , n o t o n o t h e r t h i n g s w h i c h a n i n d i v i d u a l m i g h t a l s o r e q u i r e s u c h a s t h e r i g h t t o c o n t i n u e t o b e e m p l o y e d , t h e o p p o r t u n i t y t o r e m a i n a c t i v e i n e d u c a t i o n a l a n d l e i s u r e a c t i v i t i e s , a n d t h e e x p e c t a t i o n o f s u p p o r t i n a t t e m p t s t o b e i n v o l v e d i n c o m m u n i t y a n d p o l i t i c a l a f f a i r s . B e c a u s e m a n y g o v e r n m e n t p o l i c i e s a r e a i m e d a t t h e ' g o o d ' o f a l l t h e p e o p l e , t h e y c a n b e s u b j e c t t o w i t h d r a w a l a t a n y g i v e n t i m e , d e p e n d e n t o n t h e p o l i t i c a l p a r t y i n p o w e r . W h e r e a s t h e p r o v i n c e o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a o f f e r e d a s s i s t a n c e t o p e r s o n s w i t h l o w i n c o m e s t h r o u g h t h e R e n t e r s T a x C r e d i t i n 1 9 7 5 , i n 1 9 8 3 , t h e g o v e r n m e n t d e c i d e d t h a t t h i s t a x c r e d i t w a s t o o e x p e n s i v e f o r t h e r e s t o f t h e p r o v i n c e t o p a y f o r a n d i t w a s w a s r e m o v e d . T h e g o o d l i f e t h u s c a n v a r y i n d e f i n i t i o n d e p e n d i n g u p o n t h e p o l i t i c a l a n d e c o n o m i c r e a l i t i e s a s w e l l a s 95 t h e i d e o l o g i e s o f a n y g i v e n p e r i o d i n s o c i a l h i s t o r y . I c o n d u c t e d r e s e a r c h i n 1 9 8 1 o n t h e n e e d s o f V a n c o u v e r ' s o l d e r c i t i z e n s , f u n d e d t h r o u g h t h e H e a l t h P r o m o t i o n s D i r e c t o r a t e o f t h e f e d e r a l M i n i s t r y o f H e a l t h a n d W e l f a r e . O n e o f t h e t h i n g s w h i c h m a n y o l d e r p e o p l e a s k e d f o r , i n t e r m s o f h e l p , w a s h o m e r e p a i r w o r k , g a r d e n i n g , s h o p p i n g , c a r m a i n t e n a n c e , a n d b e i n g a c c o m p a n i e d o n w a l k s . T h e s e a c t i v i t i e s a r e n o t d e f i n e d a s n e c e s s a r y f o r l i v i n g a g o o d l i f e b y e i t h e r t h e M i n i s t r y o f H u m a n R e s o u r c e s o r t h e H o m e m a k e r s A s s o c i a t i o n . E v e n t h o u g h l i v i n g i n a c l e a n , t i d y h o m e m a y e n h a n c e s a t i s f a c t i o n a n d i n t h e c a s e o f t h e p a r t i a l l y i m p a i r e d , a s s i s t i n m o b i l i t y a r o u n d t h e h o u s e , i t c a n n o t b e p r o v i d e d b y t h e s o c i a l s e r v i c e s s y s t e m . T h e s e i n d i v i d u a l s w e r e i n d e p e n d e n t , s o t h e y w e r e n o t a l r e a d y r e g i s t e r e d w i t h a s o c i a l s e r v i c e a g e n c y , e v e n t h o u g h t h e y h a d s i m i l a r n e e d s t o t h o s e a l r e a d y s e r v i c e d b y t h e h e l p i n g p r o f e s s i o n s . T h e n o t i o n o f n e e d s i s c l o s e l y l i n k e d t o t h e c o n c e p t o f h e l p w i t h i n b o t h t h e g e r o n t o l o g i c a l p a r a d i g m a n d t h e s o c i a l s e r v i c e s s y s t e m . N e e d s a r e t h e b e h a v i o u r s w h i c h , o n c e i d e n t i f i e d b y r e s e a r c h o r p r a c t i c e , c a n b e t r a n s l a t e d i n t o h e l p i n g s t r a t e g i e s . F o r h e l p w i t h c l e a n i n g , c o o k i n g , o r h e a l t h m a i n t e n a n c e , f o r e x a m p l e , i f t h e s e n e e d s a r e l e g i t i m i z e d b y t h e i n d i v i d u a l ' s d o c t o r , f a m i l y , o r c l e r g y , t h e s o c i a l s e r v i c e s s y s t e m c a n b e c a l l e d u p o n t o a s s i g n a h e l p e r . N e e d s a n d t h e i r i d e n t i f i c a t i o n p l a y a n i m p o r t a n t r o l e i n t h e d e f i n i t i o n a n d p r o v i s i o n o f h e l p i n t h a t w h a t c o m e s t o b e 96 a c c o u n t e d f o r a s a n e e d i s o f t e n c r e a t e d b y t h e s o c i a l s e r v i c e s s y s t e m . I n t h i s w a y , t h e q u e s t i o n a s k e d i s w h e t h e r a n i n d i v i d u a l n e e d s a p a r t i c u l a r s e r v i c e , r a t h e r t h a n a s k i n g t h a t i n d i v i d u a l ' w h a t d o y o u n e e d ? ' T h u s , i t i s t h e s y s t e m ' s a b i l i t y t o a d e g u a t e l y h e l p w h i c h i s e v a l u a t e d b y t h e c o n s u m e r . T h e E n c o u r a g e m e n t o f S e l f D e t e r m i n a t i o n I n t h e c a s e o f t h o s e p e o p l e r e g i s t e r e d i n t h e s o c i a l s e r v i c e s s y s t e m , h e l p i s p r o v i d e d a n d p e r c e i v e d t o b e n e e d e d o n t h e b a s i s o f w h a t t h e s y s t e m c a n o f f e r , n o t n e c e s s a r i l y i n t e r m s o f w h a t t h e c l i e n t m a y r e q u i r e . O t h e r t y p e s o f p e o p l e — t h o s e n o t r e g i s t e r e d w i t h a s o c i a l s e r v i c e s a g e n c y — c a n p e r h a p s f i n d s e l f - h e l p . T h e n o t i o n o f s e l f - h e l p s e e m s t o p r e s e n t a n i r o n i c a l s i t u a t i o n . I f w e d o n o t h e l p o u r ' s e l v e s , ' w h o d o w e h e l p ? H o w e v e r , t h e t e r m s e l f - h e l p g e n e r a l l y h o l d s a d i f f e r e n t t y p e o f m e a n i n g w h i c h i s t h e u s e o f t h e s e l f a n d p e r s o n a l r e s o u r c e s i n t h e a s s i s t a n c e o f o t h e r s w i t h s i m i l a r e x p e r i e n c e s , u s u a l l y i n t h e f o r m o f t r o u b l e s . P e r s o n s w i t h t r o u b l e s s u c h a s a l c o h o l i s m , o v e r e a t i n g , h e a l t h p r o b l e m s , m a r i t a l c o n c e r n s , s e x u a l d i f f i c u l t i e s , p h y s i c a l a n d m e n t a l d i s a b i l i t i e s , a n d o t h e r r e l a t e d i s s u e s h a v e f o r m e d a n d j o i n e d s e l f - h e l p g r o u p s s u c h a s A l c o h o l i c s A n o n y m o u s , A r t h r i t i s F o u n d a t i o n s , A s s o c i a t i o n s f o r t h e B l i n d a n d D e a f , W o m e n ' s H e a l t h C o l l e c t i v e s , h o m o p h i l e g r o u p s , a n d G r a y P a n t h e r o r g a n i z a t i o n s . G a r t n e r a n d F r a n k s u g g e s t t h a t s e l f - h e l p g r o u p s h a v e 97 become popular because of the helping professions' lack of e f f i c i e n t and e f f e c t i v e services d e l i v e r y : ...Self-help mutual aid groups have developed, in large measure, because of the unwillingness and i n a b i l i t y of professional organizations to deal with these and other problems, and because of such organizations overly i n t e l l e c t u a l i z e d o r i e n t a t i o n , excessive credentialism, and limited reach in regard to various populations (1977 :12). When the helping professions can no longer provide assistance to those in need, for whatever reasons, mutual aid or s e l f - h e l p groups are created by and for individuals who share similar kinds of troubles. In these cases, assistance from others who have l i v e d through s i m i l a r troubles seems to be more e f f e c t i v e . When gerontologists claim that t h e i r work i s helping the old , i t i s not always clear how thi s i s done and who i s asking for assistance. Atchley (1980) has said that gerontological researchers c o l l e c t data which helps gerontological p r a c t i t i o n e r s , e s p e c i a l l y in the f i e l d s of medicine and s o c i a l work. In turn, this help provided to the old through research findings i s assumed to a s s i s t them. My own experiences tend to c a l l t h i s claim into dispute. When I co-ordinated the Fest i v a l Celebrating Aging in 1982, one of the seniors on the planning committee constantly referred to me as "here not because she i s a gerontologist, but in spite of i t . " At the f i n a l meeting of the planning committee, after the f e s t i v a l was over and i t was being 9 8 e v a l u a t e d , t h i s s a m e p e r s o n s a i d W e l l , I w a s n ' t s o s u r e i t w o u l d w o r k w i t h J e a n e t t e b e i n g a p r o f e s s i o n a l a n d a g e r o n t o l o g i s t . B u t s h e l e t u s d o o u r o w n t h i n g p r e t t y w e l l a n d w e r e a l l y d i d d o i t b y o u r s e l v e s w i t h h e r s u p p o r t ( J u l y 3 , 1 9 8 2 ) . T h e a s s u m p t i o n w h i c h t h i s i n f o r m a n t e x p r e s s e d w a s t h a t " p r o f e s s i o n a l s " a n d " g e r o n t o l o g i s t s " i n p a r t i c u l a r t e n d t o t a k e o v e r t h e a c t i v i t i e s o f t h e o l d s o t h a t i t i s t h e y w h o r e c e i v e c r e d i t f o r t h e a c t i v i t y a n d n o t t h e o l d e r p e r s o n s i n v o l v e d . S e n i o r s ' g r o u p s i n B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a h a v e c o i n e d t h e e x p r e s s i o n " b y s e n i o r s , f o r s e n i o r s , w i t h s t a f f s u p p o r t " a s t h e i r w a y o f s h o w i n g h e l p e r s t h a t t h e y w i s h t o d e t e r m i n e t h e i r o w n a f f a i r s w h e n e v e r p o s s i b l e . A c c o r d i n g t o t h e S t a t i s t i c s C a n a d a p u b l i c a t i o n C a n a d a ' s E l d e r l y ( 1 9 7 9 ) , e i g h t y - f i v e p e r c e n t o f t h o s e a g e d s i x t y - f i v e a n d o v e r l i v e i n d e p e n d e n t l y i n t h e c o m m u n i t y w i t h n o s o c i a l s e r v i c e s u p p o r t . A p p r o x i m a t e l y t e n p e r c e n t a r e i n s o m e n e e d o f t h e s o c i a l s e r v i c e s s y s t e m a n d f i v e p e r c e n t a r e l i v i n g w i t h i n i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d s e t t i n g s , t h u s i n n e e d o f t o t a l s u p p o r t . T h e k e y f i g u r e h e r e i s t h e e i g h t y - f i v e p e r c e n t w h o a r e n o t i n n e e d o f h e l p f r o m t h e s o c i a l s e r v i c e s s y s t e m ( w h i c h i s n o t t o s a y t h a t t h e s e i n d i v i d u a l s m a y n o t n e e d o t h e r k i n d s o f h e l p n o t p r o v i d e d b y t h e s y s t e m ) . I f g e r o n t o l o g i s t s a r e s e e k i n g t o h e l p t h e o l d t h r o u g h t h e i r w o r k , i t w o u l d a p p e a r t o b e t h i s f i f t e e n p e r c e n t o f t h e s o - c a l l e d ' d e p e n d e n t ' e l d e r l y w h o a r e t h e b e n e f i c i a r i e s . T h e s e i n d i v i d u a l s a r e a l s o t h e t a r g e t s f o r h e l p 9 9 b e c a u s e t h e y h a v e a l r e a d y b e e n i d e n t i f i e d a s p e o p l e i n n e e d o f a s s i s t a n c e . I n t h i s s e n s e , t h e y a r e v i s i b l e " h e l p e e s " u n l i k e t h e i n d e p e n d e n t e l d e r l y w h o h a v e n o t y e t b e e n i d e n t i f i e d b y t h e s y s t e m . I n o r d e r t o i n v o k e a n o t i o n l i k e ' h e l p , 1 o n e n e e d s t o m a k e m a n y a s s u m p t i o n s w h i c h i n c l u d e t h a t s o m e o n e c a n n o t c o p e w i t h s o m e a s p e c t o f h i s o r h e r l i f e w i t h o u t a s s i s t a n c e ; t h a t t h o s e i n d i v i d u a l s c a n b e i d e n t i f i e d a s n e e d i n g h e l p ; a n d t h a t w i t h t h i s a s s i s t a n c e t h e t r o u b l e s o r p r o b l e m s c a n b e r e s o l v e d o r a t l e a s t c h a n g e d i n s o m e f a s h i o n w h i c h w i l l e n a b l e t h e s e e k e r o f h e l p t o b e t t e r d e a l w i t h t h e m . T h e s e a s s u m p t i o n s a b o u t h e l p , w h e n u s e d b y t h e s o - c a l l e d " h e l p i n g p r o f e s s i o n s , " a r e s e e n t o b e d e a l t w i t h m o s t a p p r o p r i a t e l y b y " s c i e n t i f i c m e t h o d s . " A s B r a m e r s a y s : T h e s c i e n c e p o r t i o n o f h e l p i n g i s c o n c e r n e d w i t h d e s c r i p t i v e d a t a , p r e d i c t i o n s a n d g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s a b o u t b e h a v i o u r . N o n -p r o f e s s i o n a l h e l p e r s , a l t h o u g h l a c k i n g t h i s s o p h i s t i c a t e d b e h a v i o u r a l s c i e n c e b a c k g r o u n d a n d s k i l l t r a i n i n g , o f t e n c a n a p p l y h e l p i n g p r i n c i p l e s i n t h e i n t u i t i v e , a r t i s t i c f a s h i o n ( 1 9 7 2 : 9 ) . H e l p i n g o t h e r s t o d e a l w i t h t r o u b l e s i n t h e i r l i v e s i s s e e n b y t h i s a u t h o r a s a p r i m a r i l y p r o f e s s i o n a l e n d e a v o u r f o r w h i c h o n e c a n b e t r a i n e d v i a a " s c i e n t i f i c " p a r a d i g m o f t h o u g h t a n d a c t i o n . R e s e a r c h o n a g i n g i s r e g a r d e d b y m a n y a u t h o r s a s b e n e f i c i a l t o o l d e r p e r s o n s , a s C o h e n w r i t e s : 1 0 0 T a k e n f o r g r a n t e d i s t h e r e l e v a n c e o f s u c h r e s e a r c h i n t e r m s o f i t s p o t e n t i a l b e n e f i t f o r o l d e r p e o p l e . . . N e w c l u e s , n e w i n s i g h t s c a n b e g a i n e d . A g i n g r e s e a r c h c a n l e a d t o n e w p i e c e s o f t h e p u z z l e a b o u t t h e h u m a n c o n d i t i o n ( 1 9 7 9 : 5 0 3 ) . A l t h o u g h t h e " b e n e f i t s " o f t h i s r e s e a r c h m a y b e " t a k e n f o r g r a n t e d " b y C o h e n a n d s o m e o f h i s p e e r s , t h e y a r e n o t s o o b v i o u s t o m a n y o l d e r p e o p l e w i t h w h o m I h a v e s p o k e n . A t a r e c e n t l y h e l d c o n f e r e n c e i n O t t a w a ( N a t i o n a l s e m i n a r o f N o n -G o v e r n m e n t a l O r g a n i z a t i o n C o n c e r n e d w i t h A g i n g , O t t a w a , F e b r u a r y 5 - 7 , 1 9 8 2 ) , o n e h u n d r e d p e o p l e w e r e b r o u g h t t o g e t h e r t o d i s c u s s i s s u e s r e l e v a n t t o C a n a d a ' s e l d e r l y . O f t h o s e p r e s e n t , s i x t y p e r c e n t w e r e a g e d s i x t y - f i v e a n d o v e r . I p a r t i c i p a t e d a t t h e s e s e s s i o n s a n d r e c o r d e d s o m e o f t h e c o m m e n t s m a d e b y s e n i o r s w i t h r e s p e c t t o r e s e a r c h o n a g i n g . H e r e a r e a f e w e x a m p l e s f r o m w h a t t h e y s a i d : R e s e a r c h , m e s e a r c h . I t ' s n i c e a n d a l l t h a t . . . y o u p e o p l e , t h e a c a d e m i c s a n d t h e l i k e , a r e i n t e r e s t e d i n s t u d y i n g u s , b u t w h a t h e l p h a s i t b e e n f o r m e . I s t i l l g o t t a l i v e t h e s a m e . Y o u p u t s o m e r e p o r t o u t , y o u g e t m o r e m o n e y , y o u m o v e s o m e w h e r e ' s n i c e , I s t i l l g o t t a l i v e t h e s a m e ( r e p r e s e n t a t i v e f r o m W i n n i p e g ) . a n d : T h i s i s b a d , v e r y b a d . T o o m a n y d o l l a r s a r e w a s t e d o n t h i s r e s e a r c h . I n Q u e b e c a l l t h e t i m e t h e y r e s e a r c h . ' L o o k a t t h i s o n e a n d t h a t o n e ' w h a t f o r t o l o o k ? N o , t h i s m o n e y i s w a s t e d . We n e e d a c t i o n n o t r e s e a r c h ( r e p r e s e n t a t i v e f r o m Q u e b e c ) . a n d : 1 0 1 Y o u c a n k e e p y o u r r e s e a r c h . G e r o n t o l o g y i s l i k e a n a s t y w a r t o n u s , f i r s t i t t o o k j u s t a l i t t l e b i t o f t a x p a y e r s ' m o n e y , n o w i t t a k e s m o r e . I t d o e s u s n o g o o d , y o u g e t s o m e e x p e r i e n c e b e c a u s e y o u t a l k e d w i t h u s . U s , w e g e t s t u d i e d . D o e s n ' t s e e m f a i r t o m e , i f t h e y g a v e u s t h e m o n e y t o s p e n d o n p r o g r a m s a n d s e r v i c e s , i n s t e a d o f g i v i n g i t t o t h o s e u n i v e r s i t y p e o p l e t o s t u d y a n d t a l k , w e w o u l d a l l b e a l o t h a p p i e r ( r e p r e s e n t a t i v e f r o m B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a ) . W h e r e a s t h e s e p e o p l e e x p r e s s e d a n e g a t i v e a t t i t u d e t o w a r d s r e s e a r c h i n g e r o n t o l o g y , o t h e r s a t t e n d i n g , e s p e c i a l l y a c a d e m i c s , s e r v i c e p r o v i d e r s , a n d m e m b e r s o f v a r i o u s g e r o n t o l o g i c a l o r g a n i z a t i o n s , f e l t t h a t m o r e r e s e a r c h w a s n e e d e d o n t h e a g i n g p o p u l a t i o n . T h e C a n a d i a n A s s o c i a t i o n o n G e r o n t o l o g y p r e s e n t e d a b r i e f e n t i t l e d C a n a d i a n I s s u e s t o t h i s a s s e m b l y a n d t h i s d o c u m e n t , g e n e r a l l y s p e a k i n g , w a s a n a p p e a l f o r m o r e r e s e a r c h . F o r e x a m p l e , o n p a g e e i g h t o f t h i s r e p o r t t h e a u t h o r s s t a t e : T h e e n t i r e f i e l d i s u n d e r d e v e l o p e d i n k n o w l e d g e b a s e , a n d m o r e c r i t i c a l l y f o r b o t h t h e p r e s e n t a n d t h e l o n g r u n , i n r e s e a r c h p e r s o n n e l . P r o g r e s s t o w a r d s f i l l i n g i n t h e s u b s t a n t i v e g a p s m i g h t b e s t b e m a d e b y m a k i n g f u n d s o f v a r i o u s k i n d s a v a i l a b l e f o r r e s e a r c h t r a i n i n g w h i l e a t t h e s a m e t i m e c o n t i n u i n g t o f u n d r e s e a r c h p r o j e c t s o n t h e b a s i s o f r e s e a r c h d e s i g n e x c e l l e n c e a n d p r o p o s e d t h e o r e t i c a l r e l e v a n c e ( 1 9 8 2 : 8 ) . W h e r e a s t h e o l d e r p e r s o n s p r e s e n t a t t h e s e m e e t i n g s s e e m e d t o r e g a r d r e s e a r c h o n a g i n g a s a n e s s e n t i a l l y n o n - u s e f u l a n d c o s t l y e n d e a v o u r , i n t h a t i t w a s n o t s e e n b y t h e m a s h e l p i n g t o c r e a t e c h a n g e s i n t h e l i v e s o f o l d p e o p l e , i t w a s p e r c e i v e d d i f f e r e n t l y a n d i n m o r e p o s i t i v e w a y s b y t h o s e w h o a r e i n t h e 102 b u s i n e s s o f d o i n g t h e r e s e a r c h . D u r i n g t h e s e s e s s i o n s i n O t t a w a , I s p o k e w i t h s o m e m e m b e r s o f t h e B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a d e l e g a t i o n a b o u t t h e s e s e e m i n g l y c o n t r a r y p o s i t i o n s t o w a r d s r e s e a r c h . T h e g e n e r a l f e e l i n g e x p r e s s e d b y m o s t w a s t h a t i n t i m e o f f i n a n c i a l r e s t r a i n t , m o n e y m i g h t b e b e t t e r s p e n t o n a c t i o n - o r i e n t e d p r o g r a m s w h i c h s u p p o r t e d p e o p l e ' s a t t e m p t s t o s a t i s f y b a s i c n e e d s , r a t h e r t h a n o n t h e o r e t i c a l p o s s i b i l i t i e s f o r a c t i o n . A s o n e c o l l e a g u e s a i d : I f w e w e r e m o r e i n v o l v e d i n w h a t y o u d o , w h a t y o u s t u d y , i t w o u l d n ' t b e s o b a d . B u t m o s t o f t h e m r a t t l e o n a b o u t t h i n g s w h i c h m o s t o l d e r p e o p l e c o u l d n ' t g i v e a h o o t a b o u t . A n o t h e r i r o n i c t u r n o f e v e n t s , p o i n t e d o u t b y a n o t h e r a t t h e s e d i s c u s s i o n s , w a s t h a t m o s t o l d e r p e o p l e a r e n o t a w a r e o f j u s t h o w m u c h m o n e y i s g i v e n t o r e s e a r c h e r s a n d a c a d e m i c s t o s t u d y p o p u l a t i o n s : I n e v e r r e a l i z e d t h a t s o m a n y t h o u s a n d s o f d o l l a r s w e r e g i v e n a w a y t o u n i v e r s i t y p e o p l e a n d t h e l i k e t o s t u d y e s o t e r i c i s s u e s a b o u t o l d a g e . W h e n I r e a d i n t h e E l d e r S t a t e s m a n ( a s e n i o r s ' n e w s p a p e r ) a n d s e e w h o g e t s m o n e y t o d o w h a t i t j u s t m a k e s m y b l o o d b o i l . T h e y o u g h t t o l e t s e n i o r s s i t o n t h o s e C a n a d a C o u n c i l a n d g o v e r n m e n t a g e n c i e s s o t h a t w e c a n d e c i d e w h e t h e r o r n o t w e w a n t t o b e s t u d i e d i n t h e s e p a r t i c u l a r w a y s . A s i s e v i d e n t f r o m w h a t t h e s e p e o p l e s a i d , t h e " b e n e f i t s " o f r e s e a r c h o n a g i n g a r e f a r f r o m " t a k e n f o r g r a n t e d " b y t h e m . O n e o f t h e w a y s i n w h i c h p r o b l e m s a n d c o n c e r n s o f t h e 1 0 3 o l d b e c a m e r e c o g n i z a b l e a s t h e w o r k o f g e r o n t o l o g i s t s w a s t h r o u g h t h e i n v o l v e m e n t o f p e r s o n s a l r e a d y i n t h e s o - c a l l e d c a r i n g a n d h e l p i n g p r o f e s s i o n s . S o c i a l w o r k e r s , n u r s e s a n d h o m e - m a k e r a i d e s i n p a r t i c u l a r , w e r e c o n f r o n t e d w i t h t h e t a s k o f p r o v i d i n g s e r v i c e s t o s e n i o r s i n s o m e k i n d o f n e e d , w h e t h e r i t w a s m e d i c a l , p s y c h o l o g i c a l , f i n a n c i a l , o r e m o t i o n a l . A n i n f o r m a n t , a s o c i a l w o r k e r w h o a l s o t e a c h e s g e r o n t o l o g y , t o l d m e t h e s e n e e d s w e r e i d e n t i f i e d t h r o u g h d a i l y o b s e r v a t i o n : W e l l , I h a d s t u d e n t s i n t h e f i e l d i n W e s t V a n c o u v e r , e s p e c i a l l y i n H o r s e s h o e B a y . T h e r e w e r e a l l t h e s e o l d m e n w h o l i v e d i n t h e s o r t o f s u m m e r c o t t a g e s h a c k s t h a t t h e y h a d m a d e i n t o h o m e s f o r s i n g l e p e o p l e . I w a s v e r y c o n s c i o u s o f t h e n e e d s o f t h e s e o l d p e o p l e f o r s o m e e x t r a s e r v i c e s t h a t w e r e b e y o n d t h e p e n s i o n . I r e c o g n i z e d p r e t t y s o o n t h a t w e h a d t o h e l p t h e s e p e o p l e s o m e h o w . . . W e w e r e m a d e v e r y a w a r e , b y m a n y s i t u a t i o n s o f h o w w e h a d t o p r o v i d e h e l p t o t h e a g e d ( T a p e d i n t e r v i e w , 1 9 8 0 ) . A s t h e p o p u l a t i o n o f p e r s o n s a g e d s i x t y - f i v e a n d o l d e r g r e w , s o t o o d i d r e c o g n i t i o n a n d a r t i c u l a t i o n o f t h e i r u n m e t n e e d s a s p e r c e i v e d t h r o u g h t h e e y e s o f t h e h e l p e r s w h o w e r e s e n t t o o f f e r a s s i s t a n c e . A s t h e e x p e r i e n c e s o f t h o s e w i t h i n t h e h e l p i n g p r o f e s s i o n s m e r g e d w i t h t h o s e f r o m o t h e r s i n g e r o n t o l o g y , i t s e e m s o n l y n a t u r a l t h a t h e l p , a s a p r o d u c t o f s o m e p e o p l e ' s p r o f e s s i o n a l s o c i a l i z a t i o n a n d e x p e r i e n c e s w o u l d b e i n c l u d e d a s a r e l e v a n t a n d a p p r o p r i a t e f u n c t i o n o f t h e g e r o n t o l o g i c a l e n t e r p r i s e . I n s o r t i n g o u t a n d a t t e m p t i n g t o c l a r i f y t h e f r a m e o f r e f e r e n c e , t h e b o u n d a r i e s o f t h e i d e o l o g i c a l s t r u c t u r e o f 1 0 4 g e r o n t o l o g y , i t s e e m s t o m a k e s e n s e t h a t h e l p i s a g o o d t h i n g , a d e s i r a b l e n o t i o n t o i n s t i l l w i t h i n a b o d y o f k n o w l e d g e . T h i s i s e s p e c i a l l y e v i d e n t w h e n s o m e o f t h o s e w h o ' k n o w , 1 d o s o b e c a u s e t h e y a r e h e l p e r s b y p r o f e s s i o n . I f w e g o b a c k t o m y e a r l i e r r e m a r k s a b o u t f u n c t i o n a l i s m a s a r e a d y m a d e i d e o l o g i c a l s t r u c t u r e , w h i c h , w h e n u s e d a s a l e n s t h r o u g h w h i c h t o s e e o l d a g e p r o d u c e s a p a r t i c u l a r k i n d o f p i c t u r e , t h e n w e c a n a s k t h e s a m e k i n d o f q u e s t i o n w h i c h I a s k e d t h e n w i t h r e s p e c t t o h e l p , n a m e l y , ' w h a t w o r k d o e s o l d a g e d o i n o u r s o c i e t y , a n d , w h a t w o r k d o e s t h e n o t i o n o f h e l p d o w i t h i n t h e i d e o l o g y o f g e r o n t o l o g y ? ' A l s o , ' w h a t k i n d o f a w o r l d m u s t w e c o n s t r u c t a n d w h a t t y p e s o f l e n s e s m u s t w e u s e w h i c h w i l l s h o w u s p e o p l e n e e d i n g h e l p , a n d p e o p l e h e l p i n g ? ' A t s o m e l e v e l , h e l p i n g o u r s e l v e s a n d e a c h o t h e r c a n b e s e e n a s a h i g h l y d e s i r a b l e t r a i t . F r o m a n o t h e r p e r s p e c t i v e , i t c a n a l s o b e v i e w e d a s a n u n e q u a l p o w e r r e l a t i o n s h i p i n w h i c h t h e h e l p e d p e r s o n r e c e i v e s h e l p w h e t h e r a s k e d f o r o r n o t . H e l p • a s w e m i g h t p e r c e i v e i t f o r o u r s e l v e s m a y o n l y b e a v a i l a b l e i f w e f o l l o w c e r t a i n r u l e s a n d o b l i g a t i o n s s e t d o w n b y t h e s o c i a l g a t e - k e e p e r s . A r e t i r e d s o c i a l w o r k e r c o m p l a i n e d t o m e a b o u t t h e s o c i a l w o r k e r a s s i g n e d t o h e r : S h e i s p r e t t y d r e a d f u l , y o u k n o w . A f t e r m y h u s b a n d d i e d a n d m y h i p b r o k e , m y d o c t o r h a d t h e m s e n d m e a s o c i a l w o r k e r . W h a t I r e a l l y w a n t e d w a s a f r i e n d , s o m e o n e t o t a l k w i t h , s o m e o n e w h o I c o u l d c r y w i t h a n d i t w o u l d b e o k a y . T h i s w o m a n w a s r e a l l y s c a r e d b y t h a t , s h e k e e p s t e l l i n g m e w h a t m o n i e s I c a n a p p l y f o r a n d w h a t h o m e s a r e g o o d t o g o i n t o i f m y h i p d o e s n ' t h e a l ( S e p t e m b e r , 1 9 8 1 ) . 105 W h e n I a s k e d t h i s r e t i r e d s o c i a l w o r k e r i f s h e w o u l d h a v e b e e n a b l e t o ' h e a r ' t h e t e a r s o f o n e o f h e r c l i e n t s w h e n s h e w a s w o r k i n g , s h e r e p l i e d : Y o u ' v e g o t a v e r y g o o d p o i n t t h e r e , o h m y , y o u ' r e r i g h t . O f c o u r s e I w o u l d n ' t h a v e h e a r d . We w e r e s o u p t i g h t i n o u r p r o f e s s i o n . We m u s t r e m a i n o b j e c t i v e a t a l l t i m e s a n d i f w e l i s t e n e d t o s o m e o n e ' s t e a r s t h a t w o u l d h a v e b e e n t o o ' e m o t i o n a l . ' O u r c l i e n t s c a n c r y i f t h e y d o s o w i t h i n p a r t i c u l a r s i t u a t i o n s . I f a l l t h e y w a n t i s a g o o d w e e p , t h e n w e a r e n ' t s u p p o s e d t o b e t h e r e f o r t h a t . We w e r e t h e n , a n d t h e p r o f e s s i o n r e m a i n s t h e s a m e t o d a y , w e a r e o n l y d i r e c t o r s , w e d i r e c t p e o p l e s o m e w h e r e f o r s e r v i c e s . N o w i t i s n ' t s o b a d b e c a u s e t h e r e a r e m a n y s u p p o r t i v e s e r v i c e s i n t h e c o m m u n i t y , t h e n , t h e r e w e r e f a r f e w e r . . . I l i k e t h a t , y o u c o u l d h a v e s a i d t o m e ' s o c i a l w o r k e r c o u n s e l t h y s e l f . ' I n e v e r t h o u g h t o f m y s e l f a s n e e d i n g h e l p a n d n o w t h a t I d o t h e p r o f e s s i o n i s n o m o r e c a p a b l e o f p r o v i d i n g w h a t I r e a l l y n e e d t h a n i t w a s w h e n I w a s a w o r k e r . A s t h i s i n f o r m a n t n o t e s , v e r y o f t e n t h e h e l p p r o v i d e d i s i n a p p r o p r i a t e f o r p a r t i c u l a r n e e d s , b u t i t i s t h e o n l y t y p e a v a i l a b l e . I f t h o s e r e q u i r i n g h e l p h a v e d i f f i c u l t y i n o b t a i n i n g i t b e c a u s e o f c e r t a i n , u s u a l l y b u r e a u c r a t i c , p r o b l e m s t h e n s o d o t h o s e w h o p r o v i d e i t b e c a u s e t h e y t o o h a v e t o p r o c e e d t h r o u g h s i m i l a r r u l e s a n d p r o g r a m s , a s t h e j u s t c i t e d i n f o r m a n t p o i n t e d o u t . A n o t h e r i n f o r m a n t , a p s y c h i a t r i c s o c i a l w o r k e r w h o a t t e n d e d a c o u r s e I w a s t e a c h i n g a t S h a u g h n e s s y H o s p i t a l s i m i l a r l y s a i d : G o d y e s , w e d o g i v e t h e m h e l p w h e t h e r t h e y w a n t i t o r n o t . I h a v e a n o l d g u y . E v e r y t i m e I v i s i t h e ' s s h i t a l l o v e r t h e f l o o r . I h a d t o m o v e h i s w i f e i n t o a h o m e b e c a u s e s h e w a s i n c o n t i n e n t t o o . W e l l , h e ' s a v e t ( w a r v e t e r a n ) s o h e ' l l 106 e n d u p i n S h a u g h n e s s y I e x p e c t . S o w h a t d o y o u t e l l h i m ? ' H e r e , y o u c a n s h i t o n y o u r o w n f l o o r a n d t h a t ' s p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y g o o d f o r y o u ' o r ' I ' l l s e n d y o u t o S h a u g h n e s s y a n d t h e r e t h e y ' l l s t i l l l e t y o u s h i t b u t i t w i l l g o i n t o a b o t t l e u n d e r t h e c o v e r s w h e r e n o o n e w i l l s e e i t , a n d t h e s o c i a l w o r k e r w o n ' t k n o w o r c a r e t h a t y o u d i d i t b e c a u s e s h e ' l l h a v e s o m a n y c l i e n t s j u s t l i k e y o u . ' W h a t a c h o i c e , s u c h h e l p — w h o n e e d s i t ! I f I w e r e h i m I w o u l d t e l l m e t o g o t o h e l l . B u t i t ' s m y j o b , i t ' s w h a t I g e t p a i d f o r . I a m a n e x p e n s i v e r e s o u r c e p e r s o n w i t h h a r d l y a n y r e s o u r c e s . A s t h i s i n f o r m a n t n o t e s , t h e c u l t u r a l i m p e r a t i v e o f p r o f e s s i o n a l i s m i s t h a t ' h e l p e r s ' d o i n d e e d h e l p r e g a r d l e s s o f w h e t h e r o r n o t t h e a s s i s t a n c e p r o v i d e d i s w h a t i s n e e d e d b y t h e c l i e n t . A l s o e v i d e n t i n h e r c o m m e n t s i s t h e n o t i o n t h a t h i d d e n a g e n d a s a r e i n o p e r a t i o n w h e n w o r k e r s d e a l w i t h t h o s e t h e y a r e s e n t t o h e l p . S h e c a n n o t d e a l e f f e c t i v e l y w i t h t h e " o l d g u y ' s " p r o b l e m o f i n c o n t i n e n c e a n d h i s w i s h t o r e m a i n i n t h e s a m e l o c a t i o n a s h i s w i f e , i n s t e a d , s h e m u s t r e i n f o r c e a r e a l i t y w h i c h c a u s e s h i m t o a c c e p t t h e p r o f e s s i o n a l s ' v e r s i o n o f ' t r u t h , ' t h a t i s , h e m u s t m o v e i n t o S h a u g h n e s s y b e c a u s e i t i s " g o o d " f o r h i m . T h i s e x a m p l e i s o n e o f m a n y I h a v e c o l l e c t e d w h i c h d o t h e w o r k o f d i s p l a y i n g t h e f r u s t r a t i o n s o f t h o s e w h o a r e s e n t t o h e l p t h e a g e d . O b s e r v a t i o n s a n d d i s c u s s i o n s w i t h m a n y o l d e r p e r s o n s s u g g e s t t h a t h e l p i s v e r y d i f f e r e n t l y d e f i n e d b y e a c h i n d i v i d u a l . S o m e p e r c e i v e h e l p a s t h e p r o v i s i o n o f s o m e s e r v i c e o r f a c i l i t y , o t h e r s a s a n i n t e r a c t i v e p r o c e s s b y w h i c h t h e y c a n b e h e l p e d t o l e a r n h o w t o d o s o m e t h i n g a n d i n t u r n a s s i s t o t h e r s t o d o t h e s a m e t h i n g . S t i l l o t h e r s v i e w h e l p a s 107 leaving them alone to help themselves. Several authors, among them Scott (1969), Kuhn (1978), Estes (1979), and Novak (1980), have suggested that the helping professions are in the business of creating "helpees" where perhaps none e x i s t , and, that i f the helping professions did their work e f f e c t i v e l y , there would be no more help or helpers needed. Professionals are seen as s k i l l e d and learned experts who apply their knowledge to the a f f a i r s and in the service of others: For generations, d i v i n i t y , the law, medicine even the m i l i t a r y and now the newer professions in the f i e l d s of education, welfare, architecture, i n d u s t r i a l management etc., have been acknowledged as being s e l f l e s s l y devoted to the good of the weaker and less knowledgeable members of society, thus enabling those who lack the capacity to fend for themselves to lead f u l l e r , safer and healthier l i v e s . However, the question must now be asked whether the professions in fact provide their services too a l t r u i s t i c a l l y , and whether we are r e a l l y enriched or not just subordinated by th e i r a c t i v i t i e s ( I l l i c h , 1977:22). Supporting the view that helping professions may be serving s e l f interests as well as those of others, Novak c a l l s into focus the nature of professionalism by suggesting that in a specialized society the individual becomes raw material for professional ministrations: Often the professional i s needed because the problems themselves have been generated by the c l i e n t s ' previous contact with other professionals...Within this framework the e l d e r l y are not only a renewable, but almost i n f i n i t e l y f e r t i l e and exploitable f i e l d for professional work (1980:14). 1 0 8 T h r o u g h o u t m y i n v o l v e m e n t i n g e r o n t o l o g y , I h a v e p o n d e r e d o v e r m y o w n a b i l i t y t o h e l p a n d h a v e q u e s t i o n e d m y m o t i v a t i o n s f o r b e c o m i n g i n v o l v e d i n t h i s f i e l d . A s a b e l i e v e r i n s e l f - d e t e r m i n a t i o n , I h a v e s t r u g g l e d w i t h t h e a t t e m p t s o f o t h e r s t o d e t e r m i n e t h e l i v e s o f t h e o l d . I o f t e n t h o u g h t , ' w e l l , t h e y d e s e r v e i t . I t ' s t h e i r o w n f a u l t i f t h e y w o n ' t f i g h t b a c k . ' I d i d n o t r e a l i z e t h e n , t h a t ' f i g h t i n g b a c k ' r e q u i r e s e n e r g y , m o t i v a t i o n , a n d a n a w a r e n e s s t h a t o n e i s b e i n g c o n t r o l l e d . A s a n i n f o r m a n t , a m e m b e r o f t h e c o m m i t t e e o n a g i n g o f a p r o v i n c i a l g r o u p , p u t i t : B e f o r e w e g o t t o g e t h e r i n t h i s s e n i o r s ' n e t w o r k w e n e v e r k n e w t h a t w e w e r e a l l b e i n g u n f a i r l y t r e a t e d a t t h e c e n t r e . I t h o u g h t i t w a s j u s t m e , S a m t h o u g h t i t w a s j u s t h i m a n d l i k e t h i s i t w e n t o n . W h e n w e a l l g o t t o g e t h e r w e f o u n d o u t t h e s a m e t h i n g w a s h a p p e n i n g t o a l l o f u s . T h a t ' s w h y w e g o t t h i s n e t w o r k t o g e t h e r a n d n o w w e ' l l s h o w t h e m ( 1 9 8 1 ) . T h e n o t i o n o f h e l p i n g o t h e r p e o p l e , e s p e c i a l l y t h r o u g h a p r o f e s s i o n a l o r e x p e r t f r a m e w o r k , i s a v e r y p r o b l e m a t i c c o n c e p t . W h e r e a s I m a y n o t t h i n k o f m y s e l f a s a n e x p e r t o n a g i n g , o t h e r p e o p l e d o , w h e t h e r t h e y h a v e r e a s o n t o o r n o t . T h u s , a f t e r I h a d c o m p l e t e d r e s e a r c h o n c r i m e a g a i n s t t h e e l d e r l y ( 1 9 8 0 ) , a n d o n t h e n e e d s o f o l d e r p e r s o n s ( 1 9 8 1 ) , I w a s a s k e d t o p r e s e n t p a p e r s , l e a d d i s c u s s i o n s , a n d g i v e r a d i o t a l k s a s a n " e x p e r t " o n t h e s e t o p i c s . W h e n I s u g g e s t e d t h a t I w a s m e r e l y a r e c o r d e r a n d a n a l y s t o f i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t o t h e r p e o p l e ' s l i v e s , a n d t h a t t h e y t h e m s e l v e s s h o u l d s p e a k o n t h e t o p i c , I w a s t o l d t h i n g s l i k e " b u t l a y p e o p l e a r e n o t 1 0 9 a r t i c u l a t e ; t h e y c a n n o t p u t t h i n g s i n t o p e r s p e c t i v e , " a n d " y o u a r e h e l p i n g t h o s e w h o c a n n o t s p e a k f o r t h e m s e l v e s . " O f t e n I a m a s s u r e d t h a t m y a c a d e m i c b a c k g r o u n d , m y m e m b e r s h i p o n c o m m u n i t y b o a r d s , a n d m y t e a c h i n g e x p e r i e n c e d i s p l a y s m y e x p e r t i s e a n d a b i l i t y t o h e l p . T h u s , I a m g i v e n a c e r t a i n s o r t o f p o w e r o r c r e d i b i l i t y w h e r e a s t h o s e w h o p r o v i d e d m e w i t h t h e b a c k g r o u n d f o r t h a t " k n o w l e d g e " a r e n o t . I n t h e t r a n s f o r m a t i o n p r o c e s s b y w h i c h t h e c o l l e c t i o n o f c o m m o n s e n s e k n o w l e d g e i s t r a n s l a t e d i n t o t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f " s c i e n t i f i c " k n o w l e d g e , t h e o w n e r s h i p o f e x p e r i e n c e s h i f t s . W h e r e a s t h e o l d w e r e a n e c e s s a r y p a r t o f t h e i n i t i a l s t a g e o f d a t a g a t h e r i n g , w h e r e t h e i r v o i c e s a n d v i s i o n s o f r e a l i t y w e r e c r u c i a l , w h e n t h i s i n f o r m a t i o n i s c o d e d t o f i t s o m e o t h e r a c t u a l i t y , t h e n t h e y n o l o n g e r o w n t h e k n o w l e d g e o f t h e i r e x p e r i e n c e i n q u i t e t h e s a m e w a y . W h a t t h e y s a i d a n d d i d n o w b e c o m e s i n c l u d e d w i t h i n t h e " s t o c k o f k n o w l e d g e " a v a i l a b l e o n t h e t o p i c o f o l d a g e . T h e i n d i v i d u a l e x p e r i e n c e t h u s b e c o m e s p a r t o f t h e c o l l e c t i v e d a t a b a s e o f g e r o n t o l o g y . ' E x p e r t s ' a r e o f t e n g r a n t e d s p e c i a l s t a t u s b e c a u s e t h e y a r e s e e n t o b e i n c l o s e p r o x i m i t y t o a n a u t h o r i t a t i v e s i t u a t i o n , f o r e x a m p l e , w o r k i n g o n a t h e s i s , c o n d u c t i n g r e s e a r c h , t e a c h i n g , o r w o r k i n g i n a c a r e - g i v i n g s i t u a t i o n o r a s a g o v e r n m e n t p o l i c y m a k e r . B u t w h a t t h e y a c t u a l l y k n o w m a y b e q u e s t i o n a b l e . A n i n f o r m a n t , a r e t i r e d p s y c h o l o g i s t , o f f e r e d t h e f o l l o w i n g c o m m e n t s o n t h e t o p i c o f g e r o n t o l o g i s t s a s e x p e r t s , i n a n i n t e r v i e w i n J u n e o f 1 9 8 2 : 110 An expert gerontologist may not be one at a l l . That i s , knowledge of "expert" status does not take into account the individual's a b i l i t y to know, analyze, perceive and create. One would assume that i f you spend a good deal of time around a subject, you're going to pick up something. But a person using common sense, through personal a b i l i t y may have an inside track on the 'expert.' According to this informant, "experts" may lack a p a r t i c u l a r type of knowledge which i s available to the common sense member, through what she c a l l s the "inside track." The implication here seems to be concerned with the a b i l i t y of indi v i d u a l s , be they experts or not, to understand what i t i s that t h e i r 'data,' collected from whatever sources, t e l l s them about the world they are examining. In conversations with some academic peers, I have argued the point regarding community members' involvement in research. As one of my colleagues at the Univerity of B r i t i s h Columbia noted: You can't expect lay people to know what they are talking about. It's our job to put what they say into perspective. They don't know what they need (1980) . And, as another said: I don't see why I should f e e l responsible to them. I am merely studying human behaviour. I don't want to be bothered with j u s t i f y i n g my actions to them. I am a s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t . I get paid to know more about growing old than they do and I don't want to be bothered having to deal with a l l this stuff about what respons i b l i t y I have to them (1980). I l l L a y m e m b e r s c a n n o t b e i n v o l v e d i n r e s e a r c h e n d e a v o u r s t h e n , a c c o r d i n g t o t h e a b o v e p o i n t o f v i e w , o t h e r t h a n a s d a t a p r o v i d e r s , b e c a u s e t h e y d o n o t h a v e a p a r t i c u l a r t y p e o f s e n s e - m a k i n g p r a c t i c e . F u r t h e r , t h e y d o n o t h a v e t h e s a m e s o r t o f " o b j e c t i f y i n g r i g h t s , " t h e c o r r e c t " p e r s p e c t i v e " w h i c h s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s c l a i m a s t h e i r p r e r o g a t i v e . I w r o t e e a r l i e r o f t h e n o t i o n o f s e l f - d e t e r m i n a t i o n , t h e a b i l i t y t o h e l p o n e s e l f a n d b e i n c o n t r o l o f o n e ' s o w n l i f e . T h i s c o n c e p t i s g r a d u a l l y b e c o m i n g p a r t o f g e r o n t o l o g i c a l l a n g u a g e . S e l f d e t e r m i n a t i o n b y t h e e l d e r l y i s s u b j e c t m a t t e r w h i c h i s c u r r e n t l y b e c o m i n g a t r e n d i n g e r o n t o l o g i c a l c o n f e r e n c e s , p a p e r s a n d a r t i c l e s , n o t i n t e r m s o f h o w t h e o l d a c t u a l l y p a r t i c i p a t e i n d e t e r m i n i n g a n d s h a p i n g t h e i r l i v e s , b u t i n t e r m s o f h o w p r o f e s s i o n a l s s h o u l d e n c o u r a g e , p r o m o t e , a n d h e l p a c h i e v e d e t e r m i n a t i o n . i n J u l y o f 1 9 8 1 , t h e I n t e r n a t i o n a l F e d e r a t i o n o n A g e i n g h e l d a w o r k s h o p o n S e l f  D e t e r m i n a t i o n a n d t h e E l d e r l y ( e d i t e d b y C h a r l o t t e N u s b e r g ) . T h o s e p r e s e n t w e r e f r o m a n u m b e r o f d i f f e r e n t c o u n t r i e s w h e r e v a r i o u s p r o g r a m s f o r s e l f - d e t e r m i n a t i o n h a d b e e n i m p l e m e n t e d . S e v e r a l o f t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s m a d e r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s a n d o f f e r e d s u g g e s t i o n s a s t o h o w t h e o l d m i g h t b e e n c o u r a g e d t o d e t e r m i n e t h e i r o w n a f f a i r s . F o r e x a m p l e , R o b e r t P r i n g e n t , P r e s i d e n t o f t h e I n t e r n a t i o n a l F e d e r a t i o n o n A g e i n g , s a i d : I t i s i m p e r a t i v e f o r e v e r y o n e c o n c e r n e d w i t h t h e p r o b l e m s o f t h e e l d e r l y t o s u p p o r t a l l p o s s i b l e f o r m s o f s e l f d e t e r m i n a t i o n . . . T h i s c a l l s f o r i n t e l l i g e n t s u r v e y s . . . a n d t h e a l l o c a t i o n o f a m p l e r e s o u r c e s t o s u p p o r t 112 personalized techniques that d i f f e r from the usual sampling procedures so that individual and l o c a l situations can be better taken into account (1981 :8 ) . It seems that Pringent i s suggesting not that the el d e r l y help themselves take more control over th e i r l i v e s , but that they help researchers to provide more descriptive data so that they can "help" in a more adequate way. Self determination for the e l d e r l y , i t would seem from t h i s and similar publications of conference proceedings covering t h i s topic, i s a matter requiring professional expertise and competence as opposed to common sense knowledge. This viewpoint is also becoming popular in lay understanding. In a recent newspaper a r t i c l e , j o u r n a l i s t Ann F a r r e l l , reporting on an a r c h i t e c t u r a l project at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia extended care unit, said: Its purpose i s to extend the environment of those who must spend the remainder of their days at the h o s p i t a l . Ms. F a r r e l l went on further to note: Therapists, nurses and others who work with the e l d e r l y were consulted before and during the development of the park. Perhaps Ms. F a r r e l l assumes that i t i s those people and not the e l d e r l y residents who "must spend the remainder of their days in the hospital," and who could have also been consulted on this issue. 1 1 3 A s o c i a l w o r k e r c o l l e a g u e , w h o w o r k s i n a n a s s e s s m e n t u n i t w h e r e o l d e r p e o p l e a r e c a r e d f o r w h i l e a w a i t i n g r e l o c a t i o n t o m o r e a d e q u a t e f a c i l i t i e s i n t e r m s o f t h e i r d i a g n o s e d h e a l t h n e e d s , d e s c r i b e d a r e s i d e n t p a r t i c i p a t i o n s e s s i o n a t h e r u n i t : E l e v e n o f t h e m s h o w e d u p . I e x p l a i n e d t h a t w e w a n t e d t o f o r m a r e s i d e n t s ' g r o u p s o t h a t w e c o u l d g e t f e e d b a c k f r o m t h e m o n w h a t g o e s o n , l i k e m e a l s , a c t i v i t i e s , a n d m e d i c a t i o n s . I u r g e d t h e m t o g e t i n v o l v e d i n e v e r y d a y d e c i s i o n s , s a i d h o w m u c h w e — w e l l , m e a n y w a y — n e e d e d t h e i r i n p u t . T h e y s a i d n o t a w o r d . I t r i e d a s k i n g t h e m i f t h i n g s w e r e o k a y h e r e . S o m e o f t h e m n o d d e d , l o o k e d a t e a c h o t h e r a b i t s h e e p i s h l y , b u t s a i d n o t h i n g . I s a i d , " o k a y , y o u c a n g o n o w " ( D e c . 2 0 , 1 9 8 1 ) . A l t h o u g h t h i s w o m a n d i d n o t a n a l y z e t h e s i t u a t i o n , i t r e m i n d e d m e o f a s i m i l a r s e s s i o n I h a d a t t e n d e d . I n 1 9 7 9 , I w a s c o l l e c t i n g f i e l d n o t e s f o r a n e n t h n o g r a p h i c s t u d y o f a c a r e f a c i l i t y i n v i c t o r i a . I w a s i n v i t e d t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n a l l t h e d a i l y a c t i v i t i e s w h i l e I w a s t h e r e . O n e d a y , I c h o s e t o a t t e n d a r e s i d e n t s ' c o u n c i l m e e t i n g . H e r e i s a f i e l d n o t e a c c o u n t t a k e n a t t h a t e v e n t : R e s i d e n t c o u n c i l m e e t i n g i n A c t i v i t y R o o m . P r e s e n t : M r s . M . ( f a c i l i t a t o r a n d R N o n t h e w a r d ) , J . ( a i d e ) , s e v e n r e s i d e n t s , a n d m y s e l f . M r s . M . r e a d m i n u t e s f r o m l a s t m e e t i n g a n d a s k e d w h a t w a s n e w t o d a y . E d n a c o m p l a i n e d t h a t s h e h a d b e e n m a d e t o w e a r m a k e - u p a g a i n f o r m e e t i n g w i t h U B C s t u d e n t s ( o n e o f m y c l a s s e s o n t h e S o c i o l o g y o f A g i n g ) . S h e s a i d , " I ' v e n o t w o r n m a k e - u p i n e i g h t y y e a r s . W h y s h o u l d I n o w ? " 1 1 4 M r s . M . t o l d h e r t h a t s h e h a d " l o o k e d v e r y n i c e " w i t h h e r m a k e - u p o n a n d t h a t t h e s t u d e n t s h a d s a i d " h o w p r e t t y s h e l o o k e d . " S h e t h e n s a i d t h a t t h e r e s i d e n t s ' g r o u p w a s n o t h e r e t o " l i s t e n t o t h a t s o r t o f t h i n g w h i c h w a s i n t h e p a s t n o w . " M r s . M . w e n t o n t o s a y t h a t " a n y o n e w h o d o e s n ' t w a n t t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n t h i s s e s s i o n c a n l e a v e i f t h e y f e e l t h a t t h e y h a v e n o t h i n g p o s i t i v e t o b r i n g t o o u r a t t e n t i o n . " E d n a d i d n o t r e s p o n d . M a r y s a i d t h a t h e r n e i g h b o u r s n o r e d a l l t h e t i m e — " d a y t i m e s t o o " — a n d c o u l d s h e c h a n g e b e d s i n t o B w a r d . M r s . M . s a i d t h a t s h e w o u l d s e e i f t h e r e w a s a n o t h e r f r e e b e d " i n t h a t r o o m . " M a r y r e m i n d e d h e r t h a t s h e h a d s a i d t h a t l a s t w e e k a n d " t h e w e e k b e f o r e . " E d n a a s k e d i f t h e d o c t o r w o u l d g i v e h e r n e w p i l l s . S h e s a i d t h a t t h e o n e s s h e w a s t a k i n g n o w m a d e h e r n a u s e o u s . M r s . M . w r o t e s o m e t h i n g d o w n i n t h e r e s i d e n t s ' c o u n c i l j o u r n a l a n d s a i d , " Y e s , I w i l l d i s c u s s i t w i t h t h e d o c t o r . " J a n e s a i d t h a t s h e d i d n ' t l i k e t h e w a y h e r h a i r w a s b e i n g d o n e m y M r . J o n ( t h e h a i r d r e s s e r w h o c a m e i n o n c e a w e e k f r o m d o w n t o w n v i c t o r i a t o d o t h e w o m e n ' s h a i r ) . M r s . M . s a i d t h a t t h i s " w a s n ' t t h e s o r t o f t h i n g t o b r i n g u p h e r e , a n d a n y w a y , a l l t h e s t a f f s a i d h o w n i c e t h e l a d i e s ' h a i r l o o k s a f t e r M r . J o n h a s b e e n i n . " N o o n e e l s e s a i d a n y t h i n g . M r s . M . a s k e d i f t h e r e w a s a n y t h i n g e l s e t o d i s c u s s . W h e n t h e r e w a s n o r e p l y , s h e c a l l e d t h e m e e t i n g t o a c l o s e ( J u l y 2 1 , 1 9 7 9 ) . W h a t t h i s f i e l d n o t e a n d m y c o l l e a g u e ' s a c c o u n t o f h e r m e e t i n g s e e m t o d i s p l a y i s t h e r u l e t h a t s o m e i s s u e s a r e d e e m e d t o b e a p p r o p r i a t e f o r d i s c u s s i o n a t t h e s e e v e n t s , s u c h a s " m e a l s , a c t i v i t i e s , a n d m e d i c a t i o n s , " a n d o t h e r s s u c h a s " w e a r i n g m a k e - u p " a n d " h a i r - d o ' s " a r e n o t . I n b o t h t h e s e e x a m p l e s , t h e 115 s y s t e m o f t h e r e s i d e n t s ' p a r t i c i p a t i o n w a s e s t a b l i s h e d b y t h e f a c i l i t y w h i c h w a n t e d t o g i v e t h e a p p e a r a n c e o f s h a r e d d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g , b u t d i d n o t n e c e s s a r i l y w a n t t o e n c o u r a g e s e l f d e t e r m i n a t i o n i n a l l m a t t e r s d e e m e d r e l e v a n t a n d i m p o r t a n t b y t h e r e s i d e n t s t h e m s e l v e s . E n c o u r a g i n g s e l f d e t e r m i n a t i o n c a n b e a n o t h e r m e a n s b y w h i c h g e r o n t o l o g i s t s a t t e m p t t o h e l p t h e a g e d . I f o n e s e t s u p p a r t i c u l a r s y s t e m s t o e n h a n c e o r e n c o u r a g e s e l f d e t e m i n a t i o n , f o r e x a m p l e , r e s i d e n t s ' c o u n c i l s , d o e s t h i s m e a n t h a t o t h e r f o r m s o f h e l p g o u n n o t i c e d ? A s o c i a l w o r k e r a t o n e o f t h e e t h n i c o l d p e o p l e ' s h o m e s i n V a n c o u v e r t o l d m e t h e f o l l o w i n g s t o r y o f h e r a t t e m p t t o s e t u p a r e s i d e n t s ' c o u n c i l : W h e n I f i r s t a r r i v e d h e r e ( a t t h e f a c i l i t y ) , I h a d j u s t r e t u r n e d f r o m a w o r k s h o p i n L o s A n g e l e s a n d o n e o f t h e t h i n g s d i s c u s s e d w a s g e t t i n g t h e p e o p l e i n v o l v e d i n a r e s i d e n t s ' c o u n c i l . I h a d b e e n h e r e a b o u t t h r e e w e e k s a n d s o t h e p e o p l e k n e w m e b y t h e n . D u r i n g o n e o f m y r e a d i n g s e s s i o n s w i t h t h e m , I b r o a c h e d t h i s s u b j e c t o f a r e s i d e n t s ' c o u n c i l . M r . J o s h a s k e d m e w h a t t h a t w a s , s o I g a v e t h e m a b r i e f e n c a p s u l a t e d v e r s i o n o f w h a t i t w a s . M r . C a r p s a i d t h a t t h e y " d i d n ' t n e e d n o t h i n g l i k e t h a t . " I a s k e d i f a n y o n e d i s a g r e e d w i t h h i m a n d t h e y a l l s a i d n o . S o I l e f t i t . T h e n e x t w e e k I t a c k l e d t h e i s s u e s t r a i g h t a w a y a n d a s k e d a g a i n a b o u t s e t t i n g u p a r e s i d e n t s ' c o u n c i l . T h i s t i m e , M r s . K a l o m , a v e r y w i t t y a n d c h a t t y p e r s o n , w h o i s a s o r t o f a s p o k e s p e r s o n f o r t h e r e s i d e n t s s a i d , " w e ' v e a l r e a d y g o t a g r o u p l i k e t h i s . " W e l l , I w a s s o s u r p r i s e d . " W h a t d o y o u m e a n ? " I a s k e d h e r . 1 1 6 " W e ' v e a l r e a d y g o t a r e s i d e n t s ' c o u n c i l r i g h t h e r e i n m y r o o m . We d o n ' t n e e d a n o t h e r o n e . " " B u t h o w c o m e w e d o n ' t k n o w a n y t h i n g a b o u t y o u , " I a s k e d . " Y o u w i l l , " s h e s a i d , " w e j u s t g o t o r g a n i z e d t h i s y e a r a n d s o o n y o u ' l l k n o w a b o u t i t . " W e l l , s h e w a s r i g h t . A t t h e n e x t q u a r t e r l y m e e t i n g o f o u r r e s i d e n t s , t h e y p r e s e n t e d u s w i t h a t y p e d d o c u m e n t w h i c h t h e y c a l l e d " a m a n i f e s t o o f r i g h t s o f t h e r e s i d e n t s ' c o u n c i l g r o u p . " N o w w e w o r k w i t h t h e m o n i t a n d i t i s t h e b e s t t h i n g t h a t w e e v e r c a m e u p w i t h . We d i s c u s s t h e i r r e a c t i o n s t o e v e r y s i n g l e a c t i v i t y h e r e a t t h e c e n t r e a n d y o u h a d b e t t e r b e l i e v e t h a t t h e y s p e a k a n d w e d o l i s t e n . M o r e t h a n l i s t e n , w e t r y t o a n s w e r t h e w r o n g s w h i c h t h e y p e r c e i v e t o b e h a p p e n i n g ( J u n e 1 9 8 1 ) . A s t h i s a c c o u n t s h o w s , s e l f - d e t e r m i n a t i o n i s s i m p l y t h a t , i n s o m e c a s e s , e v e n t h o u g h t h e i n f o r m a n t s t i l l c l a i m e d " w e , " t h e s t a f f o r g a n i z e d t h e r e s i d e n t s ' c o u n c i l . R a t h e r t h a n e s t a b l i s h n e w s y s t e m s o f s e l f - h e l p , p e r h a p s a n e x a m i n a t i o n o f i n f o r m a l s y s t e m s a l r e a d y a t w o r k w o u l d b e h e l p f u l . I n 1 9 8 0 , I c o n d u c t e d r e s e a r c h i n t o t h e h i s t o r y o f g e r o n t o l o g y i n B . C . I i n t e r v i e w e d p e r s o n s w h o m I i d e n t i f i e d a s ' l e a d e r s ' i n t h i s f i e l d . T h e s e p e o p l e w e r e s e r v i c e p r o v i d e r s , a c a d e m i c s w h o b o t h t a u g h t a n d d i d r e s e a r c h i n g e r o n t o l o g y , p r o g r a m a d m i n i s t r a t o r s , a n d m e m b e r s o f v a r i o u s g e r o n t o l o g i c a l o r a g i n g r e l a t e d o r g a n i z a t i o n s . O n e o f t h e q u e s t i o n s a s k e d w a s " w h a t w e r e t h e g o a l s a n d o b j e c t i v e s o f g e r o n t o l o g y a n d b y w h o m w e r e t h e y s t a t e d ? " S o m e o f t h e r e s p o n s e s r e c e i v e d i n d i c a t e d t h a t h e l p i n g t h e a g e d w a s a n i s s u e o f g r e a t i m p o r t a n c e , a n d t h a t g e r o n t o l o g i s t s w e r e s e e n a s t h o s e c a p a b l e o f h e l p i n g . A s o c i a l w o r k e r r e p l i e d : 1 1 7 O n e o f t h e p r e s s i n g t h i n g s w e r e c o g n i z e d w a s t h e n e e d f o r u s t o h e l p t h e o l d e r p o p u l a t i o n . We s a w t h a t w e , t h e a g i n g p r o f e s s i o n a l s i n g e r o n t o l o g y w e r e t h e b e s t o n e s t o d o t h a t . T h i s i n f o r m a n t t h e n d e f i n e d d i f f e r e n t w a y s s h e s a w h e l p : W e l l , f i r s t o f a l l w e a r e i n a g o o d p o s i t i o n t o f o c u s a t t e n t i o n o n t h e o l d . We d o t h i s i n r e s e a r c h , r e p o r t s , b o o k s , i n o u r p a p e r s a t c o n f e r e n c e s , i n t h e c o u r s e s w e t e a c h . . . I a l s o d o i t w h e n I d o m e d i a t a l k s a n d o n t e l e v i s i o n . S o , f i r s t o f a l l I w o u l d s a y t h a t w e f o c u s a t t e n t i o n o n t h e o l d a n d t h e i r p r o b l e m s . N e x t w e c o n s u l t , w e a r e c o n s u l t e d b y a g e n c i e s , s e r v i c e g r o u p s , r e s e a r c h e r s , e v e n g r o u p s o f o l d p e o p l e t o o . We h e l p t h e m a l l w i t h p o l i c i e s a n d p r o g r a m s , s e r v i c e s , g u i d e l i n e s a n d a s s o r t e d j o b s l i k e t h a t . A l s o h o u s i n g a n d h o s p i t a l d e s i g n . S o y o u c a n s a y t h a t c o u n s e l l i n g o r c o n s u l t i n g i s t h e s e c o n d w a y t h a t w e a r e a b l e t o h e l p a s g e r o n t o l o g i s t s . T h i r d , w e a r e t h e o n e s o f f e r i n g e x p e r t k n o w l e d g e t o o t h e r p r o f e s -s i o n a l s o n m a t t e r s a b o u t t h e o l d , l i k e l a w y e r s a n d a r c h i t e c t s . F i n a l l y , b u t I a m s u r e t h i s l i s t c o u l d g o o n , w e c a n u s e o u r k n o w l e d g e t o h e l p t h e o l d h e l p t h e m s e l v e s ( O c t . 1 2 , 1 9 8 0 ) . T h e s e o p i n i o n s t h a t g e r o n t o l o g y h e l p s t h e o l d w e r e e x p r e s s e d , i n o n e w a y o r a n o t h e r , b y m o s t o f t h e p e o p l e I s p o k e w i t h d u r i n g t h i s r e s e a r c h e n d e a v o u r a n d c o n t i n u e t o b e p a r t o f t h e t a l k w h i c h g o e s o n a t g e r o n t o l o g i c a l f u n c t i o n s I a t t e n d . T h i s v i e w i s a l s o e v i d e n t i n m u c h o f t h e l i t e r a t u r e o f g e r o n t o l o g y . B y i d e o l o g i c a l m a n d a t e , t h e g e r o n t o l o g i s t s w h o " h e l p " t h e o l d s e e t h e i r c o n t r i b u t i o n s a s c r u c i a l t o i m p r o v i n g t h e q u a l i t y o f l i f e f o r t h e e l d e r l y a n d t h e i r f a m i l i e s . T h e y a l s o s e e t h e i r r o l e a s e s s e n t i a l i n a s s i s t i n g t h e o l d t o h e l p t h e m s e l v e s t h r o u g h e n c o u r a g e m e n t a n d " e x p e r t " k n o w l e d g e . 1 1 8 T h e O r g a n i z a t i o n O f D e p e n d e n c y I f w e t a k e t h e f i r s t r a t i o n a l e g i v e n , w h i c h i s t h a t g e r o n t o l o g y h e l p s t h e o l d b e c a u s e i t " f o c u s e s a t t e n t i o n " o n t h e m , w e c o u l d l o o k a t w h o i s b e i n g p r e s e n t e d a s o l d , a n d h o w t h e s e p e o p l e a r e b e i n g p o r t r a y e d b y t h e g e r o n t o l o g i c a l l i t e r a t u r e . O n e o f t h e c o m p l a i n t s o f t e n v o i c e d b y t h e o l d a n d s e r v i c e p r o v i d e r s a l i k e i s t h a t g e r o n t o l o g i s t s p a y t o o m u c h a t t e n t i o n t o t h e s i c k e l d e r l y . A s o n e o f t h e p e o p l e I i n t e r v i e w e d i n 1 9 8 0 n o t e d : I t h i n k t h a t g e r o n t o l o g y i s v e r y b i a s e d t o w a r d s t h e i l l e l d e r l y w h i c h i s s i l l y w h e n w e k n o w t h a t o n l y e i g h t p e r c e n t o f t h e t o t a l p o p u l a t i o n o f t h e e l d e r l y i s i n b a d h e a l t h . I t i s a v e r y m i s l e a d i n g t h i n g f o r t h e g e n e r a l p u b l i c w h o r e a d t h e s e t h i n g s a n d t h i n k t h a t a l l o l d p e o p l e a r e i l l . T h e r e a r e n o w o r k i n g g e r o n t o l o g i s t s w h o a r e a d v o c a t e s o f t h e w e l l e l d e r l y ( O c t o b e r 2 1 , 1 9 8 0 ) . E v e n t h o u g h t h e m o r e r e c e n t b o o k s , a r t i c l e s , a n d j o u r n a l s a t t e m p t t o d e a l w i t h t h e l i v e s o f a l l o l d e r p e o p l e , m u c h o f t h e r e s e a r c h b e i n g c o n d u c t e d s t i l l u t i l i z e s t h e i l l e l d e r l y a s s u b j e c t s o f i n q u i r y . I t h a s b e e n s u g g e s t e d b y m a n y p e o p l e t h a t t h e s i c k o l d , e s p e c i a l l y t h o s e w i t h i n i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d s e t t i n g s a r e " c a p t i v e s " o f t h e g e r o n t o l o g i c a l r e s e a r c h e n t e r p r i s e . A s a n i n f o r m a n t w h o w o r k s i n a n e x t e n d e d c a r e u n i t o b s e r v e d : W e l l , t h e y ' r e a c a p t i v e a u d i e n c e . T h e y ' r e t h e r e t o b e p r o d d e d a n d p o k e d a n d r e s e a r c h e d b y e v e r y o n e e l s e , s o w h y n o t g e r o n t o l o g i s t s t o o . I t g e t s s o t h a t a f t e r a w h i l e t h e y t h i n k t 119 everyone i s a s o c i a l worker anyway so t h e y ' l l answer a l l sorts of questionnaires and surveys (1979)• In part , one reason why gerontologists prefer to work with the i l l or dependent e l d e r l y may he because so many of them who do t h e i r work in u n i v e r s i t y set t ings also have access to extended care uni ts and g e r i a t r i c hosp i ta ls on t h e i r campuses. In t h i s way, not only are research sett ings e a s i l y acquired but also funding through the various u n i v e r s i t i e s make i t p o s s i b l e . At the Un ivers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia, an administrator of the Extended Care Unit joked: Our o ld ies have been researched by so many psycho log is ts , s o c i a l workers and nursing students that we are th ink ing of having to rent them out (July 17, 1980). An explanation for t h i s apparent lack of focus upon the w e l l , independent old was provided by another informant on the same occasion: Yes, we do tend to focus too much on the old in poor health but t h a t ' s p r imar i l y because the wel l e l d e r l y don't have major problems such as being s i ck , and therefore they don't need our he lp . So why should we study them, seeing as we are mostly help-care givers? This informant uses as a ra t iona le for geronto logists not studying the independent e l d e r l y the notion that "help" and "care" g iv ing i s somehow exclus ive to the needs of those who are "s ick" or in "poor h e a l t h . " It i s as i f she were saying "we can only help those who have been defined in a s p e c i f i c 1 20 way, i . e . unwel l . " There i s a deeper structure of meaning at work here however, which has to do with the duties of pro fess iona l people, in t h i s case nurses and s o c i a l workers, and the phys ica l set t ings in which they work. In t h i s way, some duties are considered more appropriate than others . Natura l l y , when an i n d i v i d u a l works within an i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d s e t t i n g , h i s or her work w i l l p r imar i l y be concerned with provid ing serv ices to those within that s e t t i n g . Likewise, any formal research undertaken w i l l presumably be geared towards provid ing a greater understanding of the c l i e n t s in the f a c i l i t y and what t h e i r needs are with respect to the type of care provided. When t h i s informant says "why would we study them?" (the independent e lder ly ) she i s also saying 'why would I be interested in supplying care to those people who w i l l not enter my workplace as helpees?' However, i t i s because she does indeed have some knowledge of the old outside of i n s t i t u t i o n s , obtained from common sense observations of everyday l i f e , that she can invoke notions l i k e "help" and "care" in the f i r s t p lace . It i s because she has observed independent old people l i v i n g and i n t e r a c t i n g in her community that she can decide what those without ce r ta in freedoms, such as choosing when to eat , s leep, dr ink, dress, get up, go to bed, or take medications may require from her and the i n s t i t u t i o n in which she works. In some sense then, t h i s informant has already "studied" the old who do not come into her work p lace . 1 2 1 A c a d e m i c g e r o n t o l o g i s t s d o n o t h a v e t h e c o n n e c t i o n t o p l a c e s o f w o r k w h i c h t h e d o h a v e a c o m m i t m e n t p l a c e b u t i t n e e d n o t b e t h e s e t t i n g w h e r e i n t h e y d o r e s e a r c h ; i t m a y b e t h e f u n d i n g a g e n c y o r c a m p u s f r o m i n f o r m a n t d o e s . t h e i r c h o s e t i m e - f r a m e o f R a t h e r , t h e y M a n y t h e i r r e s e a r c h g e r o n t o l o g i s t s f u n d i n g . A n s a m e k i n d o f a f o r e m e n t i o n e d t o a w o r k t h e i r w h e r e s t a t e t h a t t h e y b e c a u s e o f t h e i n f o r m a n t f r o m f u n d s w e r e p r o v i d e d . a p a r t i c u l a r i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d s e t t i n g H a w a i i w h o h a d r e c e i v e d f u n d s t o s t u d y t h e a g e d f o r a o n e y e a r p e r i o d i n C a n a d a s p o k e o f h i s r e a s o n s f o r c h o o s i n g a u n i v e r s i t y c a m p u s s e t t i n g i n t h i s w a y : O r i g i n a l l y I w a n t e d t o g o t o t h e F r a s e r V a l l e y . I w a n t e d t o d o s o m e t h i n g o n n e t w o r k s a n d t h e o l d . M y f u n d i n g w a s c u t b y t h e C a n a d a C o u n c i l s o I o n l y h a d a y e a r . I k n e w t h a t I c o u l d g e t s o m e s p a c e h e r e o n t h e U B C c a m p u s f o r a n o f f i c e , s o i t j u s t s e e m e d t h e m o s t s e n s i b l e t h i n g t o d o w a s t o c o n d u c t s o m e w o r k o v e r i n e x t e n d e d c a r e . Y o u j u s t c a n n o t c o l l e c t e n o u g h d a t a i n a y e a r , p l u s w r i t e u p t h e f i n d i n g s , s e n d i n r e p o r t s a n d t h e l i k e . I r e a l l y h a d n o c h o i c e i f I w a n t e d t o a c c e p t t h e m o n e y . S o I c o m p l e t e l y r e d i d t h e p r o p o s a l a n d e n d e d u p d o i n g s o m e w o r k w i t h l i f e - h i s t o r i e s . T h e f u n d e r s r e a l l y h a v e n o i d e a a b o u t h o w l o n g r e s e a r c h t a k e s t o d o w e l l ( J u n e 1 9 8 2 ) . A s t h i s i n f o r m a n t p o i n t s o u t , t h e d e c i s i o n t o s t u d y a p a r t i c u l a r s e g m e n t o f s o c i e t y i s o f t e n m a d e o n t h e b a s i s o f a c c e s s i b i l i t y t o i n f o r m a n t s a n d r e s e a r c h a p p l i c a t i o n t i m e f r a m e s n o t n e c e s s a r i l y p r o d u c e d b y t h e r e s e a r c h e r h i m o r h e r s e l f . I n t h i s c a s e , t h e i n f o r m a n t h a d t a k e n a l e a v e o f a b s e n c e f r o m h i s u s u a l p l a c e o f e m p l o y m e n t ; o t h e r s a r e l e s s 122 f o r t u n a t e i n t h a t t h e y m a y h a v e h e a v y t e a c h i n g l o a d s , m a n y g r a d u a t e s t u d e n t s t o s u p e r v i s e a n d i n s o m e d i s c i p l i n e s , p r a c t i c u m s t o o r g a n i z e a s w e l l . G i v e n t h e p r e s s i n g w o r k l o a d s o f m a n y g e r o n t o l o g i c a l r e s e a r c h e r s w h o d o t h e i r w o r k w i t h i n a c a d e m i c s e t t i n g s , i t i s e a s y t o s e e w h y t h e y w o u l d c h o o s e t o d o s o o n t h e i r c a m p u s e s . H o w e v e r , t h e r e s e a r c h w h i c h t e n d s t o b e u n d e r t a k e n i n t h e s e c i r c u m s t a n c e s p r e s e n t s a v i e w o f t h e o l d w h i c h i s b o u n d e d b y t h e f a c t t h a t t h e y d o i n d e e d l i v e i n s e t t i n g s w h i c h a r e i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d a n d t h e r e f o r e s t r u c t u r e d d i f f e r e n t l y t h a n t h o s e o f t h e ' o u t s i d e 1 w o r l d w h e r e t h e m a j o r i t y o f o l d p e o p l e l i v e a n d c o n d u c t t h e i r l i v e s . I f m u c h o f t h e d a t a a b o u t o l d a g e c o m e s f r o m i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d s e t t i n g s , t h e n t h e v i e w w h i c h i t p r e s e n t s i s o n e o f d e p e n d e n c y , i l l h e a l t h , a n d i n a b i l i t y t o f u n c t i o n w i t h o u t h e l p . I n t h e s e w a y s , t h e o l d a r e s e e n t o b e p r o b l e m s f o r s o c i e t y t o d e a l w i t h , a n d a s s u c h t h e y a r e s e e n t o h a v e t r o u b l e s w h i c h r e q u i r e h e l p e r s t o r e s o l v e . T h e O l d A s A S o c i a l P r o b l e m A n o t h e r v i e w o f t h e o l d w h i c h s o m e g e r o n t o l o g i s t s r e i n f o r c e i s t h a t t h e y c o n s t i t u t e a s o c i a l p r o b l e m . T h i s i s s a i d t o b e s o i n a t l e a s t t h r e e w a y s . F i r s t , t h e r e a r e m o r e o f t h e m , c h r o n o l o g i c a l l y s p e a k i n g , t h a n t h e r e e v e r w e r e b e f o r e . S e c o n d , t h e o l d a r e e x p e c t e d t o n e e d m o r e h e a l t h c a r e a n d o t h e r s o c i a l s e r v i c e s t h a n o t h e r a g e g r o u p s . T h i r d , t h e c o s t o f t h e s e s e r v i c e s w i l l h a v e t o c o m e f r o m t a x e s c o l l e c t e d f r o m 123 o t h e r c i t i z e n s . T h i s s y s t e m i s r e f e r r e d t o a s t h e " d e p e n d e n c y r a t i o " i n w h i c h t h e o l d , t h e s i c k , a n d t h e y o u n g a r e d e p e n d e n t f o r f i n a n c i a l s u b s i d i e s i n t h e f o r m o f h e a l t h c a r e , s h e l t e r , i n c o m e , t r a n s p o r t a t i o n , a n d s o c i a l s e r v i c e s u p o n t h e r e s t o f t h e ' w o r k i n g ' p o p u l a t i o n . T h e a s s u m p t i o n , b a s e d o n t h e w o r k o f f i n a n c i a l a n a l y s t s , e c o n o m i s t s , a n d a c t u a r i e s i s t h a t a s t h e g e n e r a l p o p u l a t i o n e x p a n d s a n d t h e w o r k i n g p o p u l a t i o n s t e a d i e s o u t , s o t h i s d e p e n d e n c y r a t i o w i l l i n c r e a s e f r o m " 1 4 . 6 % i n t h e y e a r 2000 t o 4 8 . 2 % b y 2 0 3 1 . T h i s i m p l i e s a m u c h h i g h e r b u r d e n o n t h e w o r k i n g a g e p o p u l a t i o n " ( P o w e l l a n d M a r t i n , 1978 : 2 5 ) . T h u s , t h e p r o b l e m w h i c h s o c i e t y i s s e e n a s h a v i n g t o f a c e i s o n e o f c o s t s i n t i m e s o f f i n a n c i a l c o n s t r a i n t a n d h a r d s h i p f o r m a n y . I t i s a s s u m e d t h a t e x p e n d i t u r e s o n t h e o l d , w h o s o m e s e e a s ' n o n - p r o d u c t i v e ' m e m b e r s o f t h e c o m m u n i t y w i l l b e f r o w n e d u p o n b y o t h e r a g e g r o u p s w h o a r e e l i g i b l e f o r e m p l o y m e n t b u t u n a b l e t o a c q u i r e i t . T h e f o l l o w i n g l e t t e r a p p e a r e d i n t h e V a n c o u v e r S u n n e w s p a p e r i n 1 9 8 0 ; i t i s a g o o d e x a m p l e o f t h i s a t t i t u d e t o w a r d s ' s u b s i d i z i n g ' t h e o l d : P E N S I O N E R S N O T T H E O N L Y O N E S H U R T I N G A f t e r r e a d i n g y o u r e d i t o r i a l . . . i n w h i c h y o u s a y t h a t t h e e l d e r l y " c a s t o f f f r o m t h e w o r k f o r c e a t 6 5 , f o r c e d t o m a k e d o w i t h $ 6 , 9 9 7 a y e a r . . . " a r e i n a w o r s e f i n a n c i a l s i t u a t i o n t h a n t h o s e w h o h a v e a v e r a g e e a r n e d i n c o m e s o f $ 1 6 , 3 5 8 , I d e c i d e d t o d o a l i t t l e c a l c u l a t i o n . I a m t h e o n l y b r e a d w i n n e r i n a f a m i l y o f f o u r , I e a r n $ 3 5 , 0 0 0 a y e a r a s a p r o f e s s i o n a l f o r e s t r y c o n s u l t a n t i n V a n c o u v e r . A f t e r r e n t i n g a h o u s e i n R i c h m o n d f o r t w o y e a r s I t h o u g h t t h a t I h a d e n o u g h m o n e y t o b u y a h o m e . . . E v e n t u a l l y w e s e t t l e d o n o n e i n 124 Mission...The modest house w i l l cost $95,000. I need a mortgage of $67,000 to be repaid at about $900.00 a month at 15%. Income tax on my earnings i s $8 ,940 , CP.P. contribution $212, UIC $204 and BC Medical Plan $255, for t o t a l annual deductions of $9,611. Mortgage payments would be $10,800 a year. Total outlay: $20,411. Subtracting that from my gross income of $35,000 leaves $14,589 or $7,294 each for me and my wife - not much more than we could get as pensioners. But on top of that we have two children in school. Many of today's pensioners are either l i v i n g in houses they bought and paid for before the present crazy s p i r a l of housing costs began, or have sold such houses on the current market and are able to pay rent with the proceeds. So people with families and earnings... are surely far worse off than any of the pensioners. When w i l l somebody speak out and campaign for the rights of a l l those average Canadians l i v i n g in poverty (Saturday, Dec. 6, p. A5). When I discussed the contents of t h i s l e t t e r with an informant who works as a counsellor at 411 Dunsmuir (a seniors' centre in Vancouver), she noted: Well , he has a good point from where he i s coming from, but he i s r e a l l y incorrect about seniors having th e i r own houses, or making money from s e l l i n g them. Many sold their houses when the i r children l e f t home, and then gave the money to them to help them buy homes. Also what with the costs of rents going up a l l the time in B.C., most seniors l i v e in fear that they might not be able to afford housing at a l l . He i s lucky, he can s t i l l work after a l l . Many seniors want to work but they cannot. They have no way of supplementing their incomes at a l l . I don't l i k e t h i s sort of deal where the old get compared to other people. (July, 1982). Like this informant, many others have expressed their 1 2 5 c o n c e r n t h a t t h e y a r e b e i n g s e e n a s t o t a l l y d e p e n d e n t f o r f i n a n c i a l a i d u p o n o t h e r s . F o r e x a m p l e a p a r t i c i p a n t i n t h e U B C P r o g r a m f o r R e t i r e d p e o p l e s t a t e d : I am r e a l l y f e d u p w i t h a l l t h i s t a l k a b o u t h o w t h e o l d a r e b e i n g s u b s i d i z e d b y t h e t a x p a y e r s . We w e r e , a n d s t i l l a r e t a x p a y e r s t o o . We w o r k e d h a r d a n d l o n g , n o t o n l y i n j o b s p a y i n g m o n e y w h i c h m o s t p e o p l e w o u l d n ' t t a k e t o d a y , b u t a l s o o n s o c i a l s e r v i c e l e g i s l a t i o n s o t h a t t h e y o u n g o n e s c o m i n g u p c o u l d h a v e w e l f a r e , U I C , a n d p e n s i o n s . I s p e n t f i f t y y e a r s w i t h C P r a i l a n d I w a s n ' t e l i g i b l e f o r a p e n s i o n . N o w I l i v e o n m y s a v i n g s a n d a b i t f r o m O A S . We b u i l t t h i s c o u n t r y , t h e f a c t o r i e s a n d f i r m s y o u h a v e a r o u n d n o w . We a r e e n t i t l e d t o a l i t t l e r e s p e c t f o r t h a t . I t i s n ' t h a n d o u t s t h a t t h e y o u n g e r p e o p l e a r e g i v i n g t o u s , i t ' s o u r j u s t r e w a r d s a n d w e a r e e n t i t l e d t o i t ( J u l y 1 9 8 2 ) . A s g e r o n t o l o g i s t s a r e i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e s o c i a l f o r c e s s h a p i n g o l d e r p e o p l e ' s l i v e s i t s e e m s n a t u r a l e n o u g h t h a t a n i n c r e a s e i n t h e a g i n g p o p u l a t i o n i s s e e n a s a s o c i a l p r o b l e m . O n e o f t h e s i d e i s s u e s s u r r o u n d i n g t h e n o t i o n o f t h e a g e d a s a s o c i a l p r o b l e m i s t h e i d e a t h a t s o c i e t y i s t o " b l a m e " f o r t h e p l i g h t o f t h e o l d . A s B a u m w r i t e s i n T h e F i n a l  P l a t e a u , o l d e r p e r s o n s h a v e " b e e n b e t r a y e d b y s o c i e t y , b y p o w e r f u l i n t e r e s t g r o u p s a n d b y t h e s t a t e " ( 1 9 7 4 : 1 ) . A n d , a s d e B e a v o i r n o t e s i n O l d A g e : A s f a r a s o l d p e o p l e a r e c o n c e r n e d t h i s s o c i e t y i s n o t o n l y g u i l t y b u t d o w n r i g h t c r i m i n a l . S h e l t e r i n g b e h i n d t h e m y t h s o f e x p a n s i o n a n d a f f l u e n c e , i t t r e a t s t h e o l d a s o u t c a s t s ( 1 9 7 7 : 8 ) . A n d , a s G l a d y s E l d e r s a y s i n T h e A l i e n a t e d : 126 This i s s o c i e t y ' s treatment of the aged: i t refuses them the necessary minimum, thus condemning them to extreme poverty, to slums, to i l l hea l th , lone l iness and despair , asser t ing that they have neither the same needs, or the same r ights as others in the community (1977:17). This notion of " s o c i e t y ' s " lack of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to the aged suggests f i r s t that they are not part of the soc ie ty in which they l i v e , that they play no part in i t s s o c i a l organizat ion , and that they represent a homogeneous group with s imi la r t a s t e s , va lues , and opin ions . Second, i t impl ies that "soc iety" i s something e a s i l y recognizable as an agent of "blame," as something "out there" and not within every one of us . If we continue to blame soc ie ty , whoever or whatever that i s , for the s i t u a t i o n fac ing older people, then we need take no personal r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for the part we play in so-ca l led ageism. The term, " s o c i e t y , " i s f requent ly used by academics, p ro fess iona l s , government personnel , and lay persons a l i k e as a genera l izable catch phrase, a box into which a l l i n s t i t u t i o n s and s o c i a l re la t ionsh ips can be p laced. In genera l , we speak of soc iety as the arena or stage upon which our d a i l y i n t e r a c t i o n s , p o l i c i e s , programs, and s o c i a l ru les are acted out. In t h i s sense, the use of the term soc iety ind icates the presence of a system of common l i f e at work. The term tends to be accepted as a given rather than to f l e s h out i t s various meanings in any given s i t u a t i o n . When gerontolo-g i s t s and the old use the term soc ie ty , I assume that they 1 2 7 r e f e r t o t h e i m m e d i a t e s o c i a l e n v i r o n m e n t s i n w h i c h o l d e r p e o p l e a n d o t h e r s c i r c u l a t e . T h e s e e n v i r o n m e n t s c a n i n c l u d e l o c a l c o m m u n i t y p l a c e s , f a m i l y a n d f r i e n d s , a n d t h e m o r e g l o b a l s e t t i n g s w h i c h r e a c h t h e m t h r o u g h t e l e v i s i o n , r a d i o , f i l m s , a n d r e a d i n g m a t e r i a l s . W h e n i n d i v i d u a l s w i s h t o e x c u s e t h e m s e l v e s f o r b e h a v i o u r w h i c h t h e y s u s p e c t m a y b e u n a c c e p t a b l e t o o t h e r s , t h e y i n v o k e t h e n o t i o n o f " s o c i e t y . " I n t h a t w a y , t h e y c a n s a y t h a t t h e y a r e a " p r o d u c t o f t h e i r s o c i e t y . " A t a m e e t i n g o f t h e d e l e -g a t e s t o t h e N a t i o n a l A d v i s o r y C o u n c i l o n A g i n g , t h e t o p i c o f ' h o w t o c h a n g e s o c i e t y ' s a t t i t u d e s t o w a r d s t h e o l d ' w a s r a i s e d . O n e o f t h e g r o u p e x p l a i n e d t h a t o l d p e o p l e h o l d t h e s a m e v i e w s a b o u t t h e m s e l v e s a s d o o t h e r s o c i e t y m e m b e r s , w h i c h c a u s e d a n o t h e r t o s a y : A n d w h y n o t , w e a r e m e m b e r s o f s o c i e t y t o o , a r e n ' t w e ? We a r e m e r e l y p r o d u c t s o f t h i s s o c i e t y ( F e b r u a r y 1 9 8 2 ) . T h i s i n f o r m a n t i n v o k e s t h e n o t i o n o f s o c i e t y a s a r a t i o n a l e f o r t h i n k i n g i n c e r t a i n w a y s ; i t i s ' s o c i e t y ' w h o i s r e s p o n s i b l e f o r h i s t h o u g h t s , a n d n o t h e . I n t h i s i n s t a n c e , a s i n s o m a n y o t h e r s , t h e " s o c i e t y " w a s t r e a t e d a s a g i v e n . A n o t h e r v i e w o f t h e o l d w h i c h g e r o n t o l o g i s t s r e i n f o r c e i s t h a t t h e y a r e p o o r . T h i s i s s a i d t o b e e s p e c i a l l y t r u e o f o l d e r w o m e n , w h o u r g e n t l y n e e d m o r e m o n e y , h o u s i n g , b e t t e r p u b l i c t r a n s p o r t a t i o n s y s t e m s a n d a d e q u a t e h e a l t h a n d s o c i a l s e r v i c e s . W o m e n , l i k e s o m e m e n , b u t f o r d i f f e r e n t 128 reasons, are poor in old age because: ...most of them have devoted th e i r l i v e s without pay to th e i r husbands and children ... Another reason e l d e r l y women are poor i s that they were discriminated against throughout their l i v e s (Dulude, 1978:95). I do not dispute that the incomes of so many older persons are such that they can be defined as poor. However, in terms of their expenditures and government subsidies for shelter, health care, and medications, the amount of money available is not necessarily an accurate indicator of 'poorness' or of wealth. What i s needed to be known i s how much i t actually costs each old person to l i v e a good l i f e , however they define i t . Many older people I have spoken with are pleased and proud of th e i r a b i l i t y to l i v e on what some might c a l l a 'limited income.' An informant from the UBC Summer Program for Retired Persons said: Well, you know, I l i v e d through two world wars and a depression. Money was always t i g h t , i t has always been scarce to me. I've always saved hard, shopped c a r e f u l l y and spent wisely. You say to me $5000 ain't much, but I t e l l you i t ' s plenty for me and them what's used to l i v i n g c a r e f u l l y . I'm real proud I can manage. I get what I put i n , no more, no l e s s . I don't want no government handouts, just what I put i n . Much of the data which provide income s t a t i s t i c s i s based upon survey type instruments which merely ask for incoming amounts and do not track down expenditures. This i s an inappropriate measure of a person's f i n a n c i a l l i f e . An i l l u s t r a t i o n of this 1 2 9 i s c o n t a i n e d i n t h e f o l l o w i n g f i e l d n o t e . I n t h e S p r i n g o f 1 9 8 0 , I w a s t e a c h i n g a c o u r s e o n t h e s o c i o l o g y o f a g i n g , e a c h s t u d e n t w a s i n v o l v e d i n c o n d u c t i n g r e s e a r c h i n t h e c o m m u n i t y . O n e o f t h e m f i r s t a d m i n i s t e r e d a s u r v e y t y p e q u e s t i o n n a i r e t o s e v e r a l o l d e r p e o p l e . O n e o f t h e q u e s t i o n s w a s " d o y o u h a v e s u f f i c i e n t i n c o m e f o r y o u r n e e d s ? " O n e r e s p o n d e n t h a d a n s w e r e d i n t h e a f f i r m a t i v e . A f e w w e e k s a f t e r s h e h a d c o m p l e t e d t h e q u e s t i o n n a i r e , s h e c a m e t o t a l k t o t h e c l a s s a b o u t h e r l i f e i n V a n c o u v e r . A t a p a r t i c u l a r p o i n t s h e t o l d a s t o r y a b o u t a p r o b l e m s h e e n c o u n t e r e d : W e l l , I l i k e v e r y m u c h t o w a l k d o w n G r a n v i l l e S t r e e t . I l i v e n o t t o o f a r a w a y f r o m t h e r e a n d i t i s a d e l i g h t t o l o o k i n t h e s h o p w i n d o w s . H o w e v e r , t o e n j o y t h i s p u r s u i t i s a l s o a p r o b l e m f o r m e b e c a u s e y o u s e e t h e r e i s t h i s v e r y g o o d S c o t t i s h b a k e r y . I w a s b o r n i n S c o t l a n d a n d h a v e a y e n f o r t h a t g o o d b r e a d . T h e p r o b l e m w i t h w h i c h I a m f a c e d i s a d i f f i c u l t o n e . S h o u l d I b u y t h a t g o o d l o a f o f b r e a d f o r t h e s u m o f o n e d o l l a r a n d c u t t h a t b r e a d v e r y t h i n l y s o t h a t i t w i l l l a s t m e o n e w e e k , o r b u y m y u s u a l d a y o l d l o a f w h i c h o n l y c o s t s s e v e n t y - f i v e c e n t s a n d a l s o b u y a c h o c o l a t e b a r ? T h i s , a s y o u c a n i m a g i n e , i s q u i t e a p r o b l e m f o r m e . A l i t t l e l a t e r i n h e r s t o r y t h i s w o m a n , a r e t i r e d " e n u n c i a t i o n t e a c h e r " ( c a u s i n g s o m e a l a r m a m o n g s t t h e s t u d e n t s w h o t h e n p h r a s e d v e r y c a r e f u l l y e v e r y s i n g l e q u e s t i o n w h i c h t h e y a s k e d h e r ) , a l s o t o l d t h e f o l l o w i n g s t o r y : Y o u a s k m e h o w I m a n a g e w i t h m o n e y . W e l l , I m a n a g e v e r y w e l l . H o w e v e r , t h e r e a r e t h e l i t t l e e m e r g e n c i e s f o r w h i c h o n e i s n o t p r e p a r e d . F o r e x a m p l e , l a s t y e a r w h i l e c r o s s i n g t h e r o a d I s l i p p e d a n d f e l l . A s m y b o d y h i t t h e r o a d w a y m y 130 g l a s s e s f e l l f r o m m y f a c e a n d t h e l e n s s h a t t e r e d . T o r e p l a c e t h e s e g l a s s e s I w a s a s k e d t o p a y t h e s u m o f e i g h t y d o l l a r s , a n a w f u l p r i c e f o r s u c h a t h i n g . A s m y f u n d s a r e v e r y c a r e f u l l y b u d g e t e d d a y t o d a y I o b v i o u s l y c o u l d n o t a f f o r d t o m a k e t h i s e x p e n d i t u r e . M y s o l u t i o n ? T o n o t e a t a n y m e a t p r o d u c t s f o r o n e w h o l e y e a r . I n t h i s w a y I w a s a b l e t o r e p l a c e m y b r o w n s p e c t a c l e s . I n b o t h t h e s e s t o r i e s , t h i s i n f o r m a n t p r o v i d e d e x a m p l e s w h i c h w o u l d i m p l y t h a t h e r i n c o m e w a s i n s u f f i c i e n t f o r h e r n e e d s , a n d n o t s u f f i c i e n t , a s s h e h a d p r e v i o u s l y r e p l i e d o n t h e q u e s t i o n n a i r e . W h e n I a s k e d a b o u t t h i s s e e m i n g d i s c r e p a n c y s h e s a i d : Y e s , I s u p p o s e t h a t i s s o . H o w e v e r , e v e n t h o u g h m y i n c o m e i s s l i g h t I m a n a g e v e r y w e l l . A s a s i n g l e w o m a n I w a s a l w a y s a w a r e o f t h e f a c t t h a t I w o u l d h a v e t o s a v e f o r m y o l d a g e b e c a u s e I w o u l d n o t h a v e a h u s b a n d t o c a r e f o r m e f i n a n c i a l l y . I n t h e n o r m a l c o u r s e o f e v e n t s m y i n c o m e i s i n d e e d a d e q u a t e a n d t h i s i s h o w I r e p l i e d t o t h e q u e s t i o n n a i r e . W h e n I c o n d u c t e d r e s e a r c h o n t h e n e e d s o f o l d e r p e r s o n s i n 1 9 8 1 , o n e o f t h e q u e s t i o n s a s k e d h a d t o d o w i t h i n c o m e . N o r m a l l y , p e o p l e r e s p o n d e d w i t h a s i m p l e " y e s , " i t w a s a d e q u a t e , o r " n o , " i t w a s n o t . W h e n I t o o k t h e q u e s t i o n n a i r e t o t h e U B C P r o g r a m f o r R e t i r e d p e r s o n s a n d a s k e d t h e m t o c o m p l e t e i t , o n e w o m a n s u g g e s t e d t h a t i t w a s a n i n a d e q u a t e m e a s u r i n g i n s t r u m e n t o f o l d e r p e o p l e ' s n e e d s a n d s u g g e s t e d a n a l t e r n a t i v e m e t h o d f o r c o l l e c t i n g t h i s i n f o r m a t i o n . S h e i n v i t e d s o m e f r i e n d s a n d m y s e l f t o h e r h o m e w h e r e w e d i s c u s s e d i n a n i n f o r m a l w a y , t h e q u e s t i o n s o n t h e s u r v e y s h e e t . I n t h i s 1 3 1 w a y , I w a s a b l e t o c o l l e c t a m o r e d e t a i l e d a c c o u n t o f t h e s e i n d i v i d u a l s ' i n c o m e s a n d e x p e n d i t u r e s . M y i n f o r m a n t a l s o a s k e d e a c h o f h e r f r i e n d s t o k e e p a d a i l y a c c o u n t o f t h e i r s p e n d i n g s f o r o n e w e e k , w h i c h t h e y d i d a n d s e n t t o m e . W h a t t h i s e x p e r i e n c e d i s p l a y e d i s t h a t w h e n s p e a k i n g a b o u t i n c o m e s o f t h e o l d , r e s e a r c h e r s m u s t b e m o r e a c c u r a t e a n d r e a l i s t i c i n a t t e m p t s t o d e f i n e t e r m s l i k e " r i c h " a n d " p o o r " b a s e d u p o n p e o p l e ' s i n d i v i d u a l i n c o m e s a n d e x p e n s e s . O t h e r n o t i o n s o f o l d a g e , w h i c h g e r o n t o l o g i s t s r e i n f o r c e t h r o u g h t h e i r r e s e a r c h a n d p u b l i c a t i o n s , a r e t h a t t h e o l d a r e u n h a p p y a n d l o n e l y . L o n e l i n e s s i s c i t e d a s a p r i m e f e a t u r e o f a g i n g . " i t i s p a r t o f t h e e t i o l o g y o f d e p r e s s i o n " ( S c h w a r t z a n d P e t e r s o n , 1 9 7 9 : 7 6 ) . T h e a s s u m p t i o n s b e h i n d t h i s n o t i o n a r e b a s e d o n t h e i d e a t h a t a s p e o p l e g r o w o l d e r t h e i r s e n s e a n d e x p e r i e n c e o f l o s s i s g r e a t e r t h a n a t a n y o t h e r a g e , n o t o n l y i n t e r m s o f d e a t h o f f a m i l y a n d f r i e n d s , b u t a l s o i n t e r m s o f s e n s o r y a b i l i t y a n d s o c i a l r o l e s s u c h a s w o r k e r , s p o u s e , a n d r e l a t i v e . W h e r e a s t h e s e l o s s e s a r e u n d o u b t e d l y t h e c a u s e o f u n h a p p i n e s s , l o n e l i n e s s , a n d d e p r e s s i o n f o r s o m e o l d e r p e o p l e , t h e r e a r e m a n y o t h e r s w h o w e l c o m e a n d a c c e p t t h e c h a n g e s w h i c h c o m e w i t h l a t e r l i f e . A s o n e i n f o r m a n t s a i d : T o m e a g i n g i s a c h a l l e n g e . I h a v e a l w a y s t o c o m e u p w i t h s o m e t h i n g n e w t o d o , t h e r e ' s s o m u c h m o r e t o l e a r n . I e n j o y i t . I r e a l l y d o . G r o w i n g o l d i s l o v e l y i n s p i t e o f s o m e o f i t s h a r d s h i p s ( 1 9 8 0 ) . B e n W e i n i n g e r i n A g i n g I s A_ L i f e l o n g A f f a i r s p e a k s o f 132 lone l iness in t h i s way: I seldom f e e l lone ly now, hut that i s not because I l i v e with many people. We are a l l , e s s e n t i a l l y alone in t h i s universe . We may touch each other temporar i ly , but never complete ly . . .Every person needs to recognize that h is center of l i f e , h i s s p i r i t u a l center, and his fee l ings of community i s h is aloneness. This i s the door through which we must pass, and we keep avoiding that door (1978:34). If the geronto log ica l construct ion of r e a l i t y portrays the old as i l l , poor, as a s o c i a l problem, unhappy, l one ly , and depressed, i t i s probably not helping them, nor achieving goals for s e l f determination by the aged. Who would want to become old i f these v i s ions of old age were the only ones ava i lab le? The old are as var ied a group of i n d i v i d u a l s as any other age group such as teenagers, c h i l d r e n , newly marrieds, and the middle aged. This d i v e r s i t y of human types could be described more f u l l y in the geronto log ica l enterpr i se . Rather than dwell on the negative aspects of aging, research could also provide examples of the r ichness and p o s i t i v e joys some people experience in growing o lder . Gerontological forums, focusing on t h e i r more negative aspects of aging, may r e f l e c t the problem so lv ing agenda of profess iona l a s s o c i a t i o n s . In t h i s way, "problems" or "troubles" are ra ised as issues of concern for the p r o f e s s i o n a l , indeed t h e i r very ra ison d 'et re depends on the presence of t h i s required focus . A r e t i r e d adult educator who used to be responsible for planning courses and conferences on 133 gerontology at the Un ivers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia noted: Our programs were i n i t i a t e d by people who c a l l e d into the o f f i c e with problems: profess iona ls in the mental health area, e s p e c i a l l y those deal ing with the problem of s e n i l i t y ; people who worked in the housing area; people with e l d e r l y parents in t roub le . We had l o t s of c a l l s from people who ran boarding and nursing homes. We geared our courses, workshops and conferences to addressing these problems, for people to share experiences and create s o l u t i o n s . Cer ta in ly t h i s i s a b i g th ing which geronto logists do when i t comes to problem so lv ing (Taped interview, October 23, 1980). As t h i s account shows, deal ing with "problems" i s seen as an appropriate strategy for planning conferences and workshops which deal with old age re lated i ssues . Much of the work which gerontology produces becomes mater ia l for the media, which tends to portray the old in negative ways for a v a r i e t y of reasons having to do with the general a t t i tudes of a community in genera l . In t h i s way, the media can be said to 'mi r ror ' the images of the old which already e x i s t . An ex-Gray Panther now l i v i n g in V i c t o r i a spoke of the media's port raya l of the old in the fo l lowing way: The negative images which we see on t e l e v i s i o n , hear on rad io , see in f i lms and read in the newspapers r e a l l y has to do with how soc iety at large f e e l s about old people. In the U.S. , Media Watch, which i s an advocate group out of the Gray Panthers, did research which asked viewers i f the images of the old worked for them and why. Most of the people bel ieved the negative images because they mirrored t h e i r own b e l i e f s . Having worked in the adver t i s ing business in New York I remember the old saying 'In the media, bad news i s good news, i t ' s the 134 o n l y news.' I am convinced t h a t the media w i l l p o r t r a y only negative images u n t i l the o l d e r people i n Canada do as we d i d i n the U.S.A., complain, remind the a d v e r t i s i n g agencies and media people how important we are as consumers and most i m p o r t a n t l y , r e f u s e to watch, l i s t e n and read t h e i r products ( I n t e r v i e w , March 1982). This informant's s u g g e s t i o n t h a t "had news i s good news" i n the media, e s p e c i a l l y with r e s p e c t to s t o r i e s and items about the o l d , has been supported by some of my own e x p e r i e n c e s , as the f o l l o w i n g i l l u s t r a t i o n s from my f i e l d notes show. In 1979, I conducted r e s e a r c h on crime a g a i n s t the e l d e r l y . The o b j e c t i v e s of t h i s work were to i d e n t i f y the types of crimes a g a i n s t s e n i o r s , the frequency with which they occurred and to o f f e r crime p r e v e n t i o n techniques f o r s a f e - g u a r d i n g o n e s e l f and one's p r o p e r t y from such crimes (Auger and Gaurino, 1979). In r a d i o and t e l e v i s i o n t a l k s on t h i s s u b j e c t , I s t r e s s e d the d e s i r e to concentrate on p r e v e n t i o n techniques, y e t the i n t e r v i e w e r s c o n s t a n t l y t r i e d to change the t o p i c to v i c t i m i z a t i o n of the o l d . The media i n t h i s way chooses i t s own focus of a t t e n t i o n from the m a t e r i a l s which g e r o n t o l o g i s t s produce i n order to perpetuate a w e l l - i n g r a i n e d image. The producer of a Canadian B r o a d c a s t i n g C o r p o r a t i o n e a r l y morning t a l k show program contacted me e x p l a i n i n g t h a t " s e n i o r s are v e r y newsworthy these days" and t h a t " i s s u e s l i k e t h i s get great p u b l i c r e a c t i o n . " When I s t r e s s e d the wish to focus a t t e n t i o n on p r e v e n t i o n techniques and not the a c t u a l crimes, I was informed t h a t the "audience needs to hear the 135 w h o l e s t o r y . " I w a s , a s i t w e r e , ' s e t u p ' l i k e a s t a g e p r o p t o e x p l o i t a c e r t a i n p e r s p e c t i v e o r s c e n e , t h a t i s , c r i m e p r e v e n t i o n i n a n o t h e r m o r e n e w s w o r t h y w a y , t h a t i s , c r i m i n a l v i c t i m i z a t i o n o f t h e o l d . I n a s e n s e , t h e s c e n e s e t w a s n o t m i n e , b u t t h a t o f t h e s h o w p r o d u c t i o n s t a f f . T h e h o s t o f t h e p r o g r a m b e g a n b y s a y i n g t h a t I h a d " u n c o v e r e d s o m e a t r o c i o u s c r i m e s a g a i n s t t h e o l d . " A s a n a s i d e h e a d d e d , " w i l l o u r t e r r i b l e t r e a t m e n t o f t h e o l d n e v e r e n d ? " I n t h i s w a y , t h e w o r k o n c r i m e a n d t h e e l d e r l y w a s p a c k a g e d b y t h e m e d i a a s y e t a n o t h e r n e g a t i v e a s p e c t i n t h e a g i n g p r o c e s s . O n a n o t h e r o c c a s i o n , I s p o k e o n t h e s a m e t o p i c o n a l o c a l V a n c o u v e r r a d i o s t a t i o n , w h i c h , u n l i k e t h e C B C , s e l l s a d v e r t i s i n g t i m e a s i t s m a i n s o u r c e o f r e v e n u e . I n t h i s i n s t a n c e , t h e s t o r y w a s n o t o n l y a " n e w s w o r t h y " o n e , b u t a l s o a s a l e a b l e o n e . T h e h o s t s a r g u e d t h a t t h e d e s c r i p t i o n o f c r i m e s a g a i n s t t h e o l d w o u l d b e u s e d m e r e l y a s a " h o o k " t o g e t t h e a u d i e n c e l i s t e n i n g . O n c e t h e " h o o k " h a d b e e n c a u g h t b y t h e l i s t e n e r , w h o w o u l d b e " h a n g i n g " w h i l e w a i t i n g f o r a c o m m e r c i a l t o e n d , t h e n h e o r s h e w o u l d b e s u r e t o r e m a i n l i s t e n i n g a f t e r t h e a d v e r t i s e m e n t s w e r e o v e r . I n s h o r t , t h e m e d i a c a n d i s t o r t , o r a t l e a s t r e - f o c u s p o t e n t i a l l y p o s i t i v e a s p e c t s o f t h e a g i n g e x p e r i e n c e i n t o m o r e " n e w s w o r t h y " o n e s . W h e r e a s g e r o n t o l o g i c a l w o r k p o s i t s t h e " s o c i a l p r o b l e m " o f t h e o l d a s r e q u i r i n g p r o f e s s i o n a l a n d c o m m u n i t y h e l p i n s o l v i n g , t h e m e d i a r e i n f o r c e s t h i s n o t i o n , a n d b y s o d o i n g , 1 3 6 s u p p o r t s t h e f i n d i n g s o f 1 e x p e r t s b y h i g h l i g h t i n g s o m e o f t h e " p r o b l e m " a r e a s . I t a l s o e n l i s t s l i s t e n e r s , v i e w e r s a n d r e a d e r s , a s s e e m i n g h e l p - m a t e s b y p o i n t i n g o u t i s s u e s o f i n e q u a l i t y b e t w e e n t h e o l d a n d o t h e r a g e g r o u p s . T h i s p r o c e s s i s a n o t h e r e x a m p l e o f h o w " s o c i e t y , " t h e a m o r p h o u s " w e , " i s h e l d r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t h e p l i g h t o f t h e o l d . C o n s u l t i n g A s H e l p A n o t h e r w a y t h a t g e r o n t o l o g i s t s a r e s a i d t o h e l p t h e a g e d i s t h r o u g h c o n s u l t a t i o n s . C o n s u l t a n t s a r e o f t e n e m p l o y e d b y a g e n c i e s o r s e r v i c e p r o v i d e r s w h o h a v e a l r e a d y d e c i d e d w h a t t h e i r e x p e c t a t i o n s o f a p o p u l a t i o n , f a c i l i t y , s e r v i c e , o r p r o g r a m c o u l d b e . C o n s u l t a t i o n s e r v i c e s a p p e a r t o g i v e a p p r o v a l o r c r e d i b i l i t y t o a p r o j e c t w h e t h e r a c o n s u l t a n t r e s p o n d s p o s i t i v e l y t o i t o r n o t . T h e f a c t o f h a v i n g c o n s u l t e d a g e r o n t o l o g i s t s e e m s t o w a r r a n t a c c e p t a n c e o f a p r o j e c t . T h e f o l l o w i n g i l l u s t r a t i o n s f r o m m y f i e l d n o t e s p r o v i d e e x a m p l e s o f h o w t h i s p r o c e s s w o r k s . I w a s a s k e d b y a n a r c h i t e c t u r a l f i r m i n 1 9 8 0 , t o a c t a s a c o n s u l t a n t o n t h e r e - b u i l d i n g o f a f a c i l i t y t o h o u s e o l d e r p e o p l e . S p e c i f i c a l l y I w a s a s k e d t o c o n s u l t w i t h s e n i o r s a n d t h e a r c h i t e c t a s t o s u i t a b l e l e i s u r e s p a c e w i t h i n t h e b u i l d i n g . W h e n I s u g g e s t e d t h a t d i s c u s s i o n s w o u l d b e e n h a n c e d b y o b s e r v a t i o n s o f h o w r e s i d e n t s c u r r e n t l y c r e a t e d l e i s u r e s p a c e w i t h i n t h e f a c i l i t y , I w a s i n f o r m e d t h a t t h i s w o u l d b e " t o o t i m e c o n s u m i n g a n d t o o c o s t l y . " I t a p p e a r e d t h a t I w a s 1 3 7 m e r e l y t o " s i t i n o n t w o m e e t i n g s , a n d c o n s u l t w i t h u s a f t e r a n d s i g n t h e C M H C ( C a n a d i a n M o r t g a g e a n d H o u s i n g C o r p o r a t i o n ) s h e e t s a y i n g t h a t y o u w e r e t h e s o c i o l o g i c a l c o n s u l t a n t . " I f g e r o n t o l o g i s t s h e l p t h e a g e d b y c o n s u l t i n g w i t h o t h e r s o n t h e i r b e h a l f , t h e n t h e y h a v e t o c h a n g e n o t o n l y t h e c o n s u l t a n t s e e k e r s ' a t t i t u d e s t o w a r d s t h e o l d , b u t a l s o t o w a r d s t h e i r r o l e i n t h e e n t e r p r i s e . A g e r o n t o g i c a l c o n s u l t a n t s a i d i n a d i s c u s s i o n w h i c h w e h a d o n t h i s t o p i c : A t f i r s t I f u l l y i n t e n d e d t o a r g u e a n d t o p u t f o r w a r d t h e r e a l f a c t s o n i n s t i t u t i o n s a s I ' v e e x p e r i e n c e d t h e i r p l a n n i n g . G r a d u a l l y I ' v e s t o p p e d f i g h t i n g t h e m . I t ' s t o o b i g , t h e y ' l l k e e p o n d o i n g i t t h e w a y t h e y w a n t a n y w a y . I h a v e t o f i n d o t h e r w a y s t o d o m y b i t w h i c h e n d s u p b e i n g s o m u c h w o r k t h a t I w o n d e r w h y I s t i l l d o i t ( M a r c h 1 9 8 2 ) . A l t h o u g h n o t a l l g e r o n t o l o g i c a l c o n s u l t a n t s m a y e x p e r i e n c e t h e i r w o r k i n s u c h f r u s t r a t i n g w a y s , i t i s r a i s e d f r e q u e n t l y e n o u g h t o b e w o r t h y o f n o t e . T h e c o n s u l t a t i v e p r o c e s s i s o f t e n o n e w h e r e i n m u l t i p l e r e a l i t i e s a n d h i d d e n a g e n d a s a r e a t w o r k . O f t e n a J c o n s u l t a n t i s c a l l e d i n t o p r o v i d e t h e a p p e a r a n c e o f t h e " e x p e r t " p r o c e s s a t w o r k , w h e n h e o r s h e i s i n v i t e d t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n o r d e r t o m e r e l y f u l f i l l f u n d i n g r e g u l a t i o n s . A r e g i s t e r e d n u r s e a t S h a u g h n e s s y H o s p i t a l p r o v i d e d t h e f o l l o w i n g a c c o u n t o f h e r r o l e a s a c o n s u l t a n t t o t h e n e w l y b u i l t G r a c e H o s p i t a l i n V a n c o u v e r : 1 3 8 T h e y a s k e d m e i n a s a c o n s u l t a n t t o s u p e r v i s e a n d a p p r o v e t h e w a r d p l a n s . T h e y t o l d m e o r i g i n a l l y I h a d a l l t h e t i m e i n t h e w o r l d t o c o m p l e t e m y w o r k . T h e n t h e y s a i d I h a d t w o w e e k s t o e x a m i n e t h e d r a w i n g s b e c a u s e t h e M i n i s t r y ( o f H e a l t h ) w o u l d n o t a p p r o v e m o r e f u n d s u n t i l t h e y w e r e a c c e p t e d . I t r i e d t o c o n v i n c e t h e m t h a t t w o w e e k s w a s f a r t o o l i t t l e t i m e f o r a j o b o f t h i s s o r t . T h e y s a i d t h a t i f I c o u l d n ' t d o i t , t h e n t h e n u r s e s ' a s s o c i a t i o n w o u l d h a v e t o a p p o i n t s o m e o n e e l s e . T h e y d i d a b i g n u m b e r o n h o w I h a d b e e n e s p e c i a l l y r e c o m m e n d e d f o r t h i s c o n s u l t a t i o n . I r e a l l y w o r k e d m y b u n s o f f t o f i n i s h t h a t j o b ( J u n e 1 9 8 2 ) . A s t h i s a c c o u n t s h o w s , t h e h i d d e n a g e n d a o f t h e h o s p i t a l a d m i n i s t r a t i o n w a s t o r e c e i v e m o r e f u n d s f r o m t h e " m i n i s t r y " w i t h i n t w o w e e k s . T h e r e a l i t y o f t h e s i t u a t i o n a s s h e h a d o r i g i n a l l y u n d e r s t o o d i t , t h a t s h e c o u l d " t a k e a l l t h e t i m e i n t h e w o r l d " t o e x a m i n e t h e w a r d p l a n s i n t e r m s o f e a s e o f a c c e s s t o b o t h s t a f f , v i s i t o r s , a n d p a t i e n t s , w a s u n d e r s t o o d d i f f e r e n t l y b y t h o s e w h o h i r e d h e r . T h e g e r o n t o l o g i c a l c o n s u l t a n t , l i k e o t h e r s w h o a l s o o f f e r t h e s e s e r v i c e s , i s t h u s c a u g h t i n a d o u b l e b i n d s i t u a t i o n w h e r e t h e y c a n e i t h e r a c c e p t t h e p r o b l e m s w i t h i n t h e c o n s u l t a t i o n p r o c e s s w h i c h m a y r e s t r i c t t h e i r a b i l i t y t o a d v i s e e f f e c t i v e l y , o r r e f u s e t o p a r t i c i p a t e w i t h i n i t a n d p e r h a p s , a s i n t h e c a s e o f t h e p r e v i o u s i n f o r m a n t , l o s e f a c e o r t h e f u n d i n g s o u r c e b y t h i s r e f u s a l . W h e n s e r v i c e a g e n c i e s , h o s p i t a l b o a r d s , a r c h i t e c t u r a l f i r m s , g o v e r n m e n t s a n d c o m m u n i t y g r o u p s , t o n a m e b u t a f e w , r e q u e s t t h e c o n s u l t a t i v e s e r v i c e s o f g e r o n t o l o g i s t s a n d o t h e r s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s t h e y , a n d t h o s e w h o a c c e p t , f u r t h e r a l i e n a t e 139 the old from decis ions which a f fec t them. It i s rare to see older people inv i ted to consult with planners and organizers on the phys ica l set t ings and a c t i v i t i e s provided to them. Research As Root To Informed Help Akin to the ro le of consultant i s that of researcher. M i l l i o n s of d o l l a r s each year are spent on the aging, as the catalogues of funding agencies w i l l show. In 1981, in a report e n t i t l e d Vancouver 1s Older C i t i z e n s : What Their Needs  Are And How They Are Met, I noted: Although most of the research reviewed offered recommendations for act ion and for change, no such act ion seems to have been taken, nor any fo l low up studies or pressure by the authors placed on any governmental or serv ice a g e n c y . . . I f we take the research data ava i lab le on older persons as a p ic ture of t h e i r l i v e s we see a rather i n t e r e s t i n g image of the s t e r e o t y p i c a l poor old person, in i l l hea l th , l i v i n g in below average housing with few r e c r e a t i o n a l , sexual , s p i r i t u a l and p o l i t i c a l a c t i v i t i e s . In some ways then, we researchers re in force some of the very stereotypes which we also seek to remove from common t h i n k i n g . Our focus on the poorer, s i c k e r , l ess wel l housed and badly fed e l d e r l y , no matter how sincere our motives or how r e a l t h e i r need, has caused some persons to view our e f f o r t s in less than p o s i t i v e ways (Auger, 1981:17). Another ra t iona le which geronto logists use in seeing t h e i r work as h e l p f u l to the old i s in t h e i r ro le as providers of "expert" knowledge. However, i t i s not only they who see themselves in t h i s way. As the fo l lowing f i e l d note shows, lay members also share t h i s view: 140 Occasion; Family and friends dinner at Christmas time, December 23, 1980. Apartment in North Vancouver. Present are two families and Gladys aged eighty-four who i s the maternal grandmother of each family. Also present are two friends and the researcher. Diane: (one of the daughters). How y'doing jeanette, Figured out how to stop me getting older yet? Researcher: Wish I could but we don't learn how to do that at UBC. Diane: Look at Glad (her mother). Who'd think she was eighty-four? I think she's r e a l l y up tonight (Gladys has been medically diagnosed as manic/depressive and i s subject to mood swings talked about by family members as "ups" and "downs"). I love her dearly but does she ever drive me crazy. I wish that she was l i k e Bea (her s i s t e r ' s husband's mother). She's so good, never gives us any trouble. Now that's how to get o l d . You're a gerontologist, why can't you t e l l me what to do about my mother? You're the expert, aren't you? Researcher: Well, I don't know how to handle your sort of sit u a t i o n and even i f I did what would my being a gerontologist have to do with i t ? Diane : I thought that they gave you courses in a l l t h i s . Don't they teach you how to deal with this sort of thing, to deal with old people? What good i s i t , well, what good i s i t i f you can't use what you've learned to give people l i k e Ann and me advice? The previous piece of interaction also displays members' theories of successful aging, when Diane says "I wish that she (Gladys) was l i k e Bea, she's so good." Therefore, i t i s not only gerontologists who attempt to explain the notion of 'successful aging' but also family members as well. 141 T h e v i e w t h a t g e r o n t o l o g y o u g h t t o b e ' p r o b l e m s o l v i n g ' w a s a d d r e s s e d i n a s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t w a y o n t h e s a m e o c c a s i o n . A n a r g u m e n t h a d t a k e n p l a c e b e t w e e n F r e d a ( o n e o f G l a d y s ' g r a n d - d a u g h t e r s ) a n d D i a n e ( F r e d a ' s a u n t ) o v e r G l a d y s . F r e d a e x p r e s s e d t h e o p i n i o n t h a t G l a d y s s h o u l d n o t h a v e t o l i v e i n a n i n s t i t u t i o n w h e n s h e h a d f a m i l y t o t a k e c a r e o f h e r . D i a n e t o o k e x c e p t i o n t o s u c h a n i d e a . W h i l e t h e t w o w o m e n a r g u e d , t h e r e s t o f t h e g a t h e r i n g w a t c h e d a n d o c c a s i o n a l l y j u m p e d i n t o t h e a r g u m e n t v o i c i n g t h e i r o w n o p i n i o n s . I s a t o n a c h a i r a w a y f r o m t h e l a r g e g r o u p o b s e r v i n g t h e s i t u a t i o n . A f t e r a s h o r t w h i l e , I w a s j o i n e d b y M a r g , a l s o a n o n - f a m i l y m e m b e r . T h e f o l l o w i n g i n t e r a c t i o n t o o k p l a c e b e t w e e n u s : M a r g : I b e t y o u s e e t h i s s o r t o f f i g h t a l l t h e t i m e e h ? I t m u s t b e v e r y i n t e r e s t i n g f o r y o u r s t u d i e s . G o o d i n f o r m a t i o n f o r y o u r r e s e a r c h t o o I g u e s s . I s u p p o s e y o u r g e r o n t o l o g y c o m e s i n u s e f u l a t a t i m e l i k e t h i s . Y e s , i t m u s t b e v e r y i n t e r e s t i n g , e h ? R e s e a r c h e r : Y e s , i t i s . B u t w h y d o y o u t h i n k I w o u l d h a v e s e e n i t b e f o r e ? D o y o u t h i n k t h a t t h i s i s w h a t g e r o n t o l o g y i s a b o u t s o m e h o w ? M a r g : W e l l , i t ' s a b o u t o l d p e o p l e , i s n ' t i t ? A n d I g u e s s t h a t t h e y m u s t p r e p a r e y o u f o r a l l s o r t s , o f s i t u a t i o n s . S t i l l , i t m u s t b e d e p r e s s i n g . I t m u s t b e n i c e n o t t o g e t i n v o l v e d . I ' m g l a d I ' m o u t o f i t , a r e n ' t y o u ? I s u p p o s e d o i n g a l l t h o s e g e r o n t o l o g y c o u r s e s a n d t h i n g s h e l p y o u c o p e w i t h t h i s s o r t o f t h i n g , t h i s s o r t o f t r o u b l e a l l t h e t i m e . H o p e y o u ' l l h e l p m e w i t h m y f a m i l y i f I e v e r n e e d i t . A g a i n , a s w i t h t h e p r e v i o u s e x a m p l e , t h i s i l l u s t r a t i o n 142 s u g g e s t s t h a t l a y p e r s o n s h a v e a c o m m o n s e n s e v i e w o f g e r o n t o l o g y a s a p r o b l e m s o l v i n g d i s c i p l i n e . T h e e x a m p l e a l s o s u g g e s t s t h a t a s t u d e n t i n t h e d i s c i p l i n e o f g e r o n t o l o g y c a n b e e x p e c t e d t o b e a n " e x p e r t " o n t h e s u b j e c t . A n o t h e r i n t e r e s t i n g n o t i o n t h i s p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r a c t i o n d i s p l a y s i s M a r g ' s c o m m e n t s w h i c h e x p r e s s h e r k n o w l e d g e o f w h a t i t i s t h a t s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s d o , e . g . " i t m u s t b e v e r y i n t e r e s t i n g f o r y o u r s t u d i e s . G o o d i n f o r m a t i o n f o r y o u r r e s e a r c h t o o . " I n d e e d , o n t h i s o c c a s i o n , t h e a c t i v i t i e s o f t h e s e t t i n g d i d p r o v i d e d a t a t o m e , w h i l e m o s t o f t h e o t h e r a c t o r s o n t h i s s c e n e w e r e t h e r e t o p e r f o r m ' f a m i l y 1 b u s i n e s s . W h i l e F r e d a a n d D i a n e w e r e a r g u i n g o v e r w h e t h e r G l a d y s s h o u l d " l i v e i n a h o m e o r w i t h h e r f a m i l y , " G l a d y s w a s p r e s e n t a n d d i d n o t e n g a g e h e r s e l f i n t h e c o n v e r s a t i o n e v e n t h o u g h i t w a s h e r l i f e w h i c h w a s b e i n g d i s c u s s e d . A t o n e p o i n t i n t h e a r g u m e n t , s h e t u r n e d t o m e a n d s a i d : W h y i s F r e d a s o u p s e t ? T e l l h e r n o t t o w o r r y a b o u t m e , I h a v e s p e n t t o o m a n y y e a r s t r y i n g t o t e l l m y d a u g h t e r s t h a t I w o u l d r a t h e r l i v e w i t h t h e m . i t d o n ' t w o r r y m e n o n e a n y m o r e , s o t e l l F r e d a n o t t o w o r r y f o r m e . I n t h e s e c o m m e n t s , G l a d y s r a i s e s t h e n o t i o n o f a t h e m e c o m m o n t o b o t h g e r o n t o l o g i c a l w o r k a n d ' f a m i l y ' w o r k , t h a t o f d e c i s i o n s a b o u t w h e r e t h e o l d m i g h t l i v e , a n d w h o m a k e s t h e m . T h e s e a r e s o m e o f t h e w a y s g e r o n t o l o g i s t s d i s p l a y t h e n o t i o n o f h e l p i n g t h e o l d a s p a r t o f t h e i r i d e o l o g i c a l s t r u c t u r e . 143 C H A P T E R F I V E ; T H E B O U N D A R I E S O F G E R O N T O L O G I C A L K N O W L E D G E G e r o n t o l o g i s t s c o n t r i b u t e t o t h e s o c i a l c o n s t r u c t i o n o f a g e d n e s s i n w a y s d i f f e r e n t f r o m t h o s e o f l a y m e m b e r s . P a r t o f t h i s c o n t r a s t i n g w a y o f s e e i n g h a s t o d o w i t h t h e d e f i n i t i o n a n d p e r c e p t i o n o f t h e n o t i o n s o f e x p e r t i s e a n d p r o f e s s i o n a l i s m b y w h i c h g e r o n t o l o g i s t s , t h e o l d , a n d o t h e r l a y m e m b e r s m a k e c l a i m s t o k n o w i n g a b o u t o l d a g e . I n t h i s p r o c e s s , i t c a n b e s e e n t h a t t h e r e c a n b e d i f f e r e n t c r i t e r i a f o r j u d g i n g o n e s e l f a n d o t h e r s a s " e x p e r t s " o n a g i n g . I m p l i c i t i n t h e k n o w l e d g e w h i c h g e r o n t o l o g i s t s p r o d u c e i s a n i d e o l o g y w h i c h s u g g e s t s t h a t t h e i r w o r k i s h e l p f u l t o t h e o l d . I h a v e q u e s t i o n e d t h e w a y s i n w h i c h t h i s n o t i o n o f h e l p , a s p e r h a p s a m e t a p h o r f o r s o m e t h i n g e l s e l i k e r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n o f a c t i o n s , c o n t r o l o v e r t h e o l d , j u s t i f i c a t i o n o f c e r t a i n m e t h o d s , o r v a l i d a t i o n o f p e r s o n a l b e l i e f s , i s d e a l t w i t h b y b o t h g e r o n t o l o g i s t s a n d t h e o l d . I n o r d e r t o p u r s u e t h e s e i s s u e s i n m o r e d e p t h , I s h a l l n o w t a k e t h e r e a d e r i n t o t h e g e r o n t o l o g i c a l w o r l d t o m a k e s e n s e o f s o m e o f t h e a c t i v i t i e s o f i t s p r a c t i t i o n e r s . I n o r d e r t o e x a m i n e t h e q u e s t i o n o f w h a t c o n s t i t u t e s g e r o n t o l o g i c a l k n o w l e d g e , t h r e e i n t e r - r e l a t e d i s s u e s n e e d t o b e e x p l o r e d : a ) W h a t i s g e r o n t o l o g y i n t e r m s o f h o w p e o p l e s p e a k , w r i t e , a n d d o i t ? b ) W h a t t y p e s o f k n o w l e d g e a b o u t o l d a g e d o g e r o n t o l o g i s t s p r o d u c e ? c ) F o r w h o m i s t h e k n o w l e d g e p r o d u c e d , t h a t i s , w h o m a k e s u s e o f o r b e n e f i t s f r o m i t ? 1 4 4 T h e q u e s t i o n " w h a t i s g e r o n t o l o g y ? " d o e s n o t n e c e s s a r i l y i m p l y t h e s e a r c h f o r a d e f i n i t i v e a c c o u n t . I d o n o t e x p e c t t o l o o k a n d d i s c o v e r t h a t i t i s a n " X " s o r t o f t h i n g w h i c h c a n b e u n d e r s t o o d i n s p e c i f i c t e r m s e v e r y t i m e t h e w o r d i s u s e d . I n s t e a d , I a m i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e a c t i v i t e s , t h e t a l k , a n d t h e w r i t t e n m a t e r i a l s w h i c h a r e r e c o g n i z e d b y l a y m e m b e r s a s g e r o n t o l o g y g e t t i n g d o n e . I n a s k i n g w h a t i t i s , I l o o k t o h o w d i f f e r e n t t y p e s o f p e r s o n s w i t h d i f f e r i n g e n g a g e m e n t s w i t h t h e t o p i c , i n v o k e t h e n o t i o n — h o w t h e y u s e t h e c o n c e p t t o e x p l a i n , p r e d i c t , e x c u s e , r a t i o n a l i z e , o r a c c o u n t f o r a s p e c t s o f a g i n g i n a c e r t a i n w a y a s o p p o s e d t o s o m e o t h e r . G e r o n t o l o g y b e c o m e s a m e a n s b y w h i c h t o s p e a k o f t h e o l d , f a m i l y l i f e , a " g o o d " s o c i e t y , a n d s o o n . G e r o n t o l o g y i s t h e f r a m e w o r k , t h e i d e o l o g y o r b o u n d a r y w i t h i n w h i c h t a l k a n d a c t i o n s a r e s h a p e d a n d s t r u c t u r e d . T h e u s e o f t h e n o t i o n o f g e r o n t o l o g y a s a r e s o u r c e w a s i n d i c a t e d i n i n t e r a c t i o n s w h i c h o c c u r e d d u r i n g t h e s u m m e r o f 1 9 8 2 w h e n I p l a n n e d a n d c o - o r d i n a t e d t h e F e s t i v a l C e l e b r a t i n g A g i n g i n B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a . M o s t o f t h e s e n i o r s I w o r k e d w i t h k n e w m e i n m y r o l e a s a n e m p l o y e e p a i d t o c o - o r d i n a t e a c t i v i t i e s i n w h i c h t h e y w e r e i n t e r e s t e d . I n t h i s s e n s e , I w a s s e e n a s s u b s e r v i e n t t o t h e i r w i s h e s . A t o n e m e e t i n g I t o l d a g r o u p o f e l d e r s t h a t I w a s a l s o w o r k i n g o n a P h . D . i n s o c i o l o g y w i t h a s p e c i a l i n t e r e s t i n g e r o n t o l o g y . T h e y a l s o c a m e t o l e a r n o f m y o t h e r g e r o n t o l o g i c a l a c t i v i t i e s . A s a r e s u l t o f t h i s k n o w l e d g e t h e i r t a l k a b o u t m e c h a n g e d f r o m 145 "Jeanette i s our co-ordinator" to "Jeanette i s a gerontolo-g i s t , she's only doing t h i s job part-t ime while she works on her t h e s i s . " The geronto log ica l vers ion of me became a resource for some groups of i n d i v i d u a l s when i t came to dec is ion making. At one point during the planning of the f e s t i v a l there was a s p l i t in the group (natural enough in any large gathering of over one hundred people) over program content. People observed "Wel l , Jeanette i s a geronto log is t . Let her choose," or "Jeanette, you know what old people should do because of your studies in gerontology." In these ways, a gerontologist was seen as someone knowledgeable about the old in not just t h e o r e t i c a l terms but also p r a c t i c a l , everyday ones. The notion of gerontology in these examples did the work of g iv ing me an author i ty over people 's a c t i v i t i e s which they considered to have more relevance worthy of recogn i t ion . Fortunately , in t h i s p a r t i c u l a r case, because of the nature of the task, there were just as many older people who f e l t that a gerontologist was the least l i k e l y person on earth to know what i s "good" for older people, yet they too made use of the term as a resource. In t h i s way, gerontology i s not just a word, a concoction of ideas, not ions, and concepts; i t a lso does work in the s o c i a l world when i t i s used in s p e c i f i c ways, such as the ones I have spoken of here. C o n f l i c t about what gerontology i s abounds in the l i t e r a t u r e which addresses i t s e l f to the topic of old age. On the one hand, some p r a c t i t i o n e r s view i t as a d i s t i n c t l y 146 separate d i s c i p l i n e which i s "an organized body of knowledge, i d e n t i f i a b l e by a set of p r i n c i p l e s and a series of tested concepts" ( T i b b i t t s , 1960:3). Further, i t i s also said to be a d i s c i p l i n e which, on the other hand includes only ideas about old age which can be tested; "thus, s o c i a l gerontologists use observations and ideas about old age which can be tested" (Atchley, 1972:19). A less p o s i t i v i s t i c d e f i n i t i o n of gerontology holds that i t represents a combination of interested scholars from f i e l d s of inquiry already well established in the s o c i a l s c i e n t i f i c m i l i e u : Social gerontology i s nothing but a mixture or a c o l l e c t i o n of findings made by the older established d i s c i p l i n e s , each of which has i t s own methods and theories, which allows i t to deal with some problems in human ageing. These scholars i d e n t i f y themselves as psychologists or s o c i o l o g i s t s ; they are not gerontologists by trade ( P h i l i b e r t , 1965:9). Although some authors ponder the question of whether gerontology exists at a l l , as does Levine in a guest e d i t o r i a l in The Gerontolog i s t (1981:2-3), others are more concerned with the nature of the gerontological task and whether i t s pra c t i t i o n e r s can be viewed as professionals or members of a s p e c i f i c d i s c i p l i n e . H i r s c h f i e l d and Peterson suggest that i f gerontology were to become a d i s c i p l i n e , "knowledge would be the basis for i t s existence." They regard d i s c i p l i n e s as organized bodies of knowledge which " f i t some l o g i c a l taxonomy, which have a specialized vocabulary and basic 1 4 7 l i t e r a t u r e , w h i c h i n c l u d e s o m e t h e o r y a n d t e c h n i q u e s f o r t h e o r y t e s t i n g , a n d w h i c h g e n e r a l l y h a v e a g r e e d u p o n m e t h o d o l o g y . " T h e y s t a t e t h a t i f g e r o n t o l o g y w e r e t o b e c o m e a d i s c i p l i n e , " t h e g e n e r a t i o n a n d v e r i f i c a t i o n o f k n o w l e d g e w o u l d b e t h e p r i m a r y c o n c e r n o f i t s p r a c t i t i o n e r s " ( 1 9 8 2 : 2 1 5 ) . A f t e r d e c i d i n g t h a t g e r o n t o l o g y i s " n o t a d i s c i p l i n e " a n d f u r t h e r , t h a t i t i s " u n l i k e l y t h a t i t w i l l b e c o m e o n e , " t h e a u t h o r s g o o n t o d e f i n e i t a s a p r o f e s s i o n w h e r e s e r v i c e i s t h e m o t i v a t i o n , n o t k n o w l e d g e . P r o f e s s i o n a l s " a r e c o m m i t t e d t o a p p l y i n g k n o w l e d g e i n a w a y w h i c h w i l l a i d i n t h e s o l u t i o n o f i n d i v i d u a l a n d s o c i a l p r o b l e m s " ( 1 9 8 2 : 2 1 5 ) . W h a t t h e s e a u t h o r s d o n o t t e l l u s i s w h o a r e t h e " i n d i v d u a l s " a n d w h a t a r e t h e " s o c i a l p r o b l e m s " t o w h i c h t h i s k n o w l e d g e w i l l b e u s e d t o " a i d " a n d t o p r o v i d e " s o l u t i o n s . " I n m o r e t r a d i t i o n a l p r o f e s s i o n s s u c h a s l a w , m e d i c i n e , e n g i n e e r i n g , a n d e d u c a t i o n , i t i s p e r h a p s e a s i e r t o r e c o g n i z e w h o t h e c l i e n t s o r c o n s u m e r s a r e t h a n i n t h i s c a s e . T h a t i s t o s a y , l a w y e r s c a n i d e n t i f y t h e i r c l i e n t s a s p e r s o n s s e e k i n g l e g a l c o u n s e l a n d a d v i c e . M e d i c a l p r a c t i t i o n e r s t r e a t p e r s o n s w h o a r e e i t h e r u n w e l l o r w h o r e q u i r e a s s i s t a n c e w i t h h e a l t h m a i n t e n a n c e . E n g i n e e r s d e s i g n a n d c o n s t r u c t d w e l l i n g s , r o a d s , a n d i n s t r u m e n t s t o e n a b l e p e o p l e t o l i v e a n d w o r k i n m o r e a d e g u a t e w a y s . E d u c a t o r s p r o v i d e i n f o r m a t i o n a n d s k i l l s t o p e o p l e w h o p r e s u m a b l y d o n o t a l r e a d y h a v e t h e m . I n e a c h o f t h e s e c a s e s , t h e c o n s u m e r o f t h e s e r v i c e c a n b e i d e n t i f i e d u s u a l l y b e c a u s e h e o r s h e h a s s o u g h t o u t t h e a s s i s t a n c e o f t h e 148 p r o f e s s i o n a l . In the case of gerontology, the consumer of the serv ice i s less v i s i b l e . In general , the old do not approach geronto log ists for the i r profess iona l expert ise , and yet i t i s they who are said to most benef i t from the work of t h i s group. As the resu l t of a survey conducted using members of both the Gerontological Society of America and the Western Gerontological Society , the two authors concluded (1982:219) that the major ity of t h e i r respondents, namely s i x t y percent, viewed gerontology as a p ro fess ion . Prom the point of view of those interviewed for t h i s research, geronto logists are a lready, or are becoming profess iona ls in the f i e l d of aging. By t h i s , they p o s i t i o n gerontology s o l i d l y in a wel l recog-nized debate, thus l e g i t i m i z i n g i t as an important body of work. While some authors argue over the type of e n t i t y which gerontology represents, whether i t i s a d i s c i p l i n e or a pro fess ion , whether i t i s a unique body of knowledge or an amalgamation of several bodies of knowledge, others agree that there i s something genera l ly accepted and understood as gerontology. Their i n q u i r i e s and c r i t i c i s m s take them into the content of the knowledge i t s e l f . In t h i s way, the questions these authors ask are not to do with semantic and conceptual d i f f e r e n c e s , but rather with the methods of c o l l e c t i n g i n f o r -mation, and the production of the types of knowledge which the data y i e l d s . What geronto logists do seems to be more i n t e r e s t i n g to them; what types of work are being done seems 149 to be the i r way of identifying the scope of the f i e l d i t s e l f . As Marshall notes: The s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n of a newly emerging d i s c i p l i n e has influenced the d e f i n i t i o n of what s h a l l be taken to be important research questions, acceptable methodologies and legitimate theoretical perspectives (1980:3). Bromley shares Marshall's d e f i n i t i o n and goes further in attempting to propose a possible c l a s s i f i c a t i o n system of the main tasks of gerontology, which he sees as t h e o r e t i c a l , methodological, and applied: The theoretical task i s to confirm and extend the conceptual systems which integrate and explain the observed facts of ageing. The methodological task i s to develop suitable research procedures and to examine c a r e f u l l y the logic of arguments about the nature of ageing. The applied or p r a c t i c a l task i s to prevent or reduce the adverse effects of ageing ( 1966 :16). Bromley argues for a more rigorous approach to old age fa c t - f i n d i n g , in p a r t i c u l a r through the method of theory construction, and suggests that one reason why more s o c i a l theories of aging are not proposed i s due to the fact that the sciences, from which i t i s derived, do not go far enough in the d i r e c t i o n of theory construction per se. Although Bromley stresses the need for gerontologists to construct theories about the aging process and to find ways of "preventing or diminishing the adverse consequences of aging," he does not outline for whom the knowledge w i l l be used. 150 Atchley, on the other hand, suggests that t h i s information i s of most use to the p r a c t i t i o n e r : In gerontology there i s a necessary i n t e r -r elationship between knowledge and practice, and perhaps more than in any other f i e l d of inquiry, gerontology researchers have remained sensitive to the information needs of pr a c t i t i o n e r s (1980:6). While part of the gerontological enterprise may be, as Atchley claims, to provide information and resources to health and service p r a c t i t i o n e r s , i t i s also a "quest for knowledge for i t s own sake which has always played a part in science," and thus i t has an " i n t r i n s i c fascination" (1980:9). For Atchley and some of the other authors already c i t e d , the need for gerontology arose out of the s o c i a l and personal problems of the aged, and for him i t was out of these conditions that a science of aging emerged: The sheer press of p r a c t i c a l problems can force the development of science, and in the area of s o c i a l gerontology there i s a conspicuous over-abundance of problems in need of solutions (1980 :9 ) . An interesting point which can be raised here, with respect to Atchley's analysis that " p r a c t i c a l problems" create the "development of science," i s who determines when the problems become "pressing" enough, and on whom they must press in order to warrant a " s c i e n t i f i c " examination. Other authors argue that old age i s a continual l i f e - l o n g process. One of these, Johnson, in disagreement with Atchley, 1 51 sees the major task of gerontology as recogniz ing and r e i n f o r -cing t h i s l i f e path continuum: Soc ia l gerontology w i l l hide from view so much of the r i c h f a b r i c of old age i f i t p e r s i s t s in seeing l a t e r l i f e as an event or a stage rather than the continuing of an i n t r i c a t e pattern of l i f e careers (1978:111). The Internat ional Counci l on Soc ia l Gerontology, i n a b r i e f presented to the United Nations World Assembly on Aging in Vienna (August 1982), supported Johnson's concern that aging be recognized as an on-going process: The manifestations of aging do vary not only from time to time but also from culture to c u l t u r e , and from person to person. Consequently the area of gerontology i s not only of in terest to b i o l o g i c a l and medical sc iences . In add i t ion , behavioural and s o c i a l sciences of fer knowledge about many aspects relevant to the proper understanding of ag ing . . .The study of aging must adopt a comprehensive and eco log ica l approach (1982:10). In these quotations, various authors are involved in a discourse which focuses on attempts to define the boundaries of a school of thought which they c a l l gerontology. These comments do the work of producing an acceptable (to t h e i r peers) state of the art of t h e i r f i e l d . They are also usefu l in e s t a b l i s h i n g core c u r r i c u l a and assoc iat ions whose terms of reference need to be spel led out for prospective students or members. It i s through t h i s discourse that any r e f l e x i v e work i s done by geronto log is ts . 152 In the winter of 1981, the Western Gerontological Association^ conducted a symposium on gerontology, i t s past, present, and future. The association asked a panel of "leaders in the gerontology f i e l d " to discuss some of the issues sur-rounding the gerontological enterprise. Some of the concerns raised included the formulation of p o l i c i e s which have "never been focused on the most seriously disadvantaged aged to eliminate their worst problems of sur v i v a l " (Binstock 1981:5). The lack of gerontological focus on the old as products of the s o c i a l services system was invoked by Estes in the following way: "everytime I hear the term 'aging process' I feel we need a counterterm 'the processing of the aged.' We have f a i l e d to distinguish how the aging process i s created by the processing of the aged" (1981:6). Kerschner pointed out the relevance of cross c u l t u r a l studies on aging: "I would l i k e to see the gerontological community begin to take a larger view than just the United States, and take a look at what's happening worldwide, in energy or employment or hunger" (1981:5). These authors participated in a discussion forum where they were engaged in i n t e r a c t i o n , yet i t i s clear from some of the things they said that they regard the nature of th e i r j o i n t enterprise, namely gerontological work, in very d i f f e r e n t ways and from a variety of d i f f e r e n t perspectives. In the issue of the journal Generations (previously c i t e d ) , in which the forum on gerontology was recorded, an a r t i c l e e n t i t l e d "Radical Changes in Gerontology" by John 1 5 3 W e a k l a n d t o o k t h e p r e v i o u s d i s c o u r s e i n t o t h e r e a l m o f r e f l e c -t i v e t h i n k i n g a n d e v e r y d a y a c t i o n : H o w d o w e b e g i n n e w a n d d i f f e r e n t w a y s o f t h i n k i n g a b o u t , a n d p o t e n t i a l l y d e a l i n g w i t h , p r o b l e m s o f a g i n g , t h e s t u f f o f g e r o n t o l o g i c a l w o r k ? W h a t w o u l d r a d i c a l c h a n g e i n g e r o n t o l o g i c a l t h i n k i n g l o o k l i k e , a n d h o w , i f a t a l l , c o u l d i t b e b r o u g h t a b o u t ? L o o k i n g a t g e r o n t o l o g y i n t h i s w a y c a n b e u s e f u l a n d c l a r i f y i n g ( 1 9 8 1 : 2 4 ) . A f t e r s u g g e s t i n g s o m e o f t h e w a y s i n w h i c h g e r o n t o l o g i c a l w o r k c o u l d b e i m p r o v e d , m a i n l y w i t h r e s p e c t t o t h e p r o v i s i o n o f s e r v i c e s i n a s s e s s i n g , d e f i n i n g , a n d s u p p l y i n g o l d e r p e r s o n s ' n e e d s i n t e r m s o f h o w t h e y , a n d n o t " b u r e a u c r a t s " s p e a k o f t h e m , W e a k l a n d s u g g e s t e d t h a t t h e s o c i a l w o r k p r o f e s s i o n a l s w o u l d b e n e f i t f r o m s u c h a c h a n g e b e c a u s e t h e y " a n d t h e i r s u p e r v i s o r s w o u l d b e e x h o r t e d t o a n d p a i d f o r r e d u c i n g t h e i r d i r e c t s e r v i c e s w h i l e e l d e r l y l i f e q u a l i t y s h o w e d g a i n o r n o d e t e r i o r a t i o n " ( 1 9 8 1 : 2 5 ) . W e a k l a n d n o t e s t h a t c h a n g e i s " f r i g h t e n i n g " t o m o s t p e o p l e , b u t t h a t t o n o t c h a n g e i s t o " m a k e a c l e a r d e c i s i o n t o s t i c k w i t h m o r e o f t h e s a m e t h a t d o e s n ' t w o r k , " a n d h e u r g e s h i s c o l l e a g u e s a n d p e e r s t o a t t e m p t c h a n g e s i n t h e i r w o r k a n d c o n s e g u e n t l y i n s o c i e t a l a t t i t u d e s a n d b e h a v i o u r t o w a r d s t h e o l d . A s t h e p r e v i o u s q u o t a t i o n s s h o w , t h e r e i s v e r y l i t t l e a g r e e m e n t a m o n g g e r o n t o l o g i s t s w i t h r e s p e c t t o t h e k n o w l e d g e a b o u t o l d a g e w h i c h t h e y a r e , i n p a r t , i n t h e b u s i n e s s o f p r o d u c i n g . A l t h o u g h s o m e s i m i l a r t h e m e s a r e p r e s e n t i n w h a t 1 5 4 they say about the need for a science of aging, l i t t l e common ground i s reached by them in t h e i r wr i t ten explanations of t h e i r work. In 1980, the American Gerontological Soc iety , in co l l aborat ion with the Assoc iat ion for Gerontology in Higher Education, conducted research into the types of knowledge deemed to be e s s e n t i a l to those involved in geronto log ica l work..2 The respondents to t h i s research were one hundred persons who met the fo l lowing c r i t e r i a : Panel is ts must be recognized within the geronto log ica l community for outstanding work in research, p r a c t i c e , or education. The panel must include persons from a wide range of d i s c i p l i n e s and professions (Johnson e_t a l , 1980:10). Those chosen were asked to d iscuss , in small group sess ions , issues relevant to an "adequate curriculum" for gerontology programs. The core model which these pane l i s ts agreed upon included the "psychology of aging, health and aging, b io logy of aging and understanding aging as a normal experience" (1980:20). These f ind ings prompted the authors to conclude that the data reveal a "c lear consensus about the existence of a common body of knowledge necessary for e f f e c t i v e work in gerontology, however agreement about the core i s l im i ted to a few very broad areas" (1980:38). As t h i s i l l u s t r a t i o n shows, geronto log ists are very busy in t h e i r attempts to c l a r i f y t h e i r goals and object ives as to what t h e i r knowledge base could be. A lack of c r i t i c a l th ink ing by geronto logists about t h e i r 155 work has prompted several authors such as Estes (1979), Mar-sh a l l and Tindale (1978), and Novak (1978), among others, to raise concern about the nature of gerontological work and how i t i s viewed by those thought to be recipients of i t . p h i l i -bert (1974, 1977) epitomizes t h i s dilemma in the following way: The f i r s t d i f f i c u l t y encountered by ge r o n t o l o g i s t s . . . l i e s in ide n t i f y i n g the knowledge which is to be imparted. This i s no mean task given the amount of written material on gerontology which has accumulated during the l a s t few years. In r e a l i t y , however, much of thi s material i s worthless, and our f i r s t task w i l l be to separate what i s excellent from what i s merely good and what i s downright bad ( 1977 :30) . P h i l i b e r t not only recommends questioning and c l a r i f y i n g what is known and the ways by which i t i s recognized, but also that gerontologists be cognizant of the uses to which knowledge may be put. Like Gouldner (1970), P h i l i b e r t reminds researchers that ways of work are the same phenomenon, the same driving force of i n t e r e s t , action, and motivation as ways of l i v i n g : Gerontology today has become an instrument of power over nature and over man, and as such i t is profoundly ambivalent. It must at no time overlook i t s s o c i a l , and therefore p o l i t i c a l o r i g i n and character. Gerontology as a science must look beyond i t s e l f for rules by which to govern i t s own behaviour (1977:31). The ambivalence of gerontology of which P h i l i b e r t and others speak has implications for the kind of image of s e l f which gerontologists put forward in the world, and for how they are 1 5 6 p e r c e i v e d b y o t h e r s . R e c e n t l y ( O c t o b e r 1 9 8 2 ) , t w o g e r o n t o l o -g i s t s f r o m t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s o f A m e r i c a w e r e i n V a n c o u v e r . D u r i n g t h e m e e t i n g s o f t h e A m e r i c a n G e r i a t r i c A s s o c i a t i o n , a s m a l l g r o u p d i s c u s s e d g e r o n t o l o g y a s a t o p i c a n d h o w i t d i f -f e r e d i n d e f i n i t i o n a n d i n a c t i o n i n t h e U . S . A . a n d C a n a d a . O n t h e s u b j e c t o f g e r o n t o l o g i c a l a m b i v a l e n c e , o n e A m e r i c a n o b s e r v e d : W e l l , w e a r e a s t r a n g e t y p e o f f i s h . I n e v e r k n o w w h e t h e r I d o b e t t e r t o p a s s m y s e l f o f f a s a p l a n n e r , w h i c h I a m , o r a s a g e r o n t o l o g i s t . T h e g e r o n t o l o g y l a b e l e l i c i t s b l a h s , t h e p l a n n e r o n e g e t s ' a h s . ' A s I a m h i r e d a s a s t a t e a g e n c y g e r o n t o l o g i s t , i t i s d i f f i c u l t t o k n o w h o w , a n d i n w h a t r o l e t o c o m e o n a s . T h i s i n f o r m a n t ' s u n c e r t a i n t y a s t o h o w t o p r e s e n t h i m s e l f a t p u b l i c g a t h e r i n g s w h e r e a s p e c i f i c t y p e o f i n f o r m a t i o n i s e x p e c t e d t o b e f o r t h c o m i n g i s t y p i c a l . I n t h i s s m a l l g r o u p d i s c u s s i o n a b o u t t h e d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n A m e r i c a n a n d C a n a d i a n g e r o n t o l o g y , w e a g r e e d t h a t t h e r e i s m o r e o f w h a t o n e p e r s o n c a l l e d " d i v e r s i t y o f p e r s p e c -t i v e s " i n A m e r i c a n g e r o n t o l o g y , w h i c h h a s b e e n a r o u n d l o n g e r , t h a n i n t h e C a n a d i a n e q u i v a l e n t . T h e g e n e r a l f e e l i n g s e e m e d t o b e , a s e x p r e s s e d b y a n A m e r i c a n , t h a t : I n t h e U . S . , t h e g o v e r n m e n t i s p r e p a r e d t o s p e n d m o n e y o n f u n d i n g g e r o n t o l o g y p r o g r a m s a n d s e r v i c e s . We a l s o h a v e q u i t e a f e w u n i v e r s i t y a n d c o l l e g e p r o g r a m s . C a n a d a s e e m s l e s s w i l l i n g t o s p e n d t h e s e k i n d o f d o l l a r s o n g e r o n t o l o g i c a l t r a i n i n g o r r e s e a r c h a n d w e d o u b t i f y o u w i l l e v e r g e t a r e a l l y g o o d p r o g r a m g o i n g h e r e . 1 5 7 I f t h e d e f i n i t i o n a n d p r e s e n t a t i o n o f s e l f a s g e r o n t o l o -g i s t i s a p r o b l e m a t i c o n e , i t i s e q u a l l y d i f f i c u l t f o r o t h e r s , e s p e c i a l l y t h e o l d t o u n d e r s t a n d . I n a l e t t e r r e g a r d i n g g e r o n -t o l o g y , a s e n i o r s ' a d v o c a t e w r o t e : F o r t h e m o s t p a r t , m o s t o l d e r p e o p l e h a v e n o i d e a w h a t a g e r o n t o l o g i s i s . I c a n u n d e r s t a n d a s o c i o l o g i s t , p s y c h o l o g i s t , p o l i t i c a l s c i e n t i s t , t h e o l o g i a n , b u t n o t a g e r o n t o l o g i s t a s a s e p -a r a t e e n t i t y i n t h e s c i e n t i f i c s e n s e ( O c t o b e r 1 9 8 2 ) . E v e n t h o u g h t h i s i n f o r m a n t h a d d i f f i c u l t y u n d e r s t a n d i n g w h a t a g e r o n t o l o g i s t i s , h e d i d c o n c e d e t h a t s u c h a p e r s o n w a s v i e w e d b y o t h e r s a s " e x p e r t . " H e c o n c l u d e d t h a t t h i s w a s s o f o r t h e f o l l o w i n g r e a s o n s : a ) b e c a u s e t h e y a c t t h a t w a y ; b ) t h e y h a v e a c o r n e r o n i n f o r m a t i o n w h i c h t h e y h a v e a s s e m b l e d i n a p a r t i c u l a r w a y , e i t h e r c r e a t i v e l y o r t h r o u g h c a t a l o g u e f a s h i o n . A s t h e b i o ' a n d p h y s i c a l s c i e n t i s t s e x p l o r e t o d i s c o v e r a n d t h e o r i z e a b o u t t h e t a n g i b l e , t h e s o c i a l a n d b e h a v i o u r a l s c i e n t i s t s c a n o n l y m a n i p u l a t e w o r d s . A l t h o u g h t h e y m a y n o t a l l b e a s a c t i v e i n s e n i o r s ' a f f a i r s , o r a s r e f l e c t i v e , a r t i c u l a t e , a n d k n o w l e d g e a b l e a b o u t g e r o n t o l o g i s t s a s t h i s i n f o r m a n t , m a n y o l d e r p e r s o n s d o p r o -d u c e t h e i r o w n d e f i n i t i o n s . I m p l i c i t i n t h e i r d e f i n i t i o n s i s a c o m m o n n o t i o n t h a t t h e s e p e o p l e h a v e s o m e t h i n g t o d o w i t h o l d a g e r e l a t e d i s s u e s . I n o r d e r t o h a v e a n i d e a o f h o w o l d e r p e o p l e p e r c e i v e d g e r o n t o l o g y , I p r o d u c e d a b r i e f q u e s t i o n n a i r e w h i c h a s k e d t h e f o l l o w i n g , a m o n g o t h e r s : 1 5 8 T o b e o l d i s . . . . T o b e o l d i s n o t R a t i o n a l e G e r o n t o l o g y i s G e r o n t o l o g y i s n o t . . . R a t i o n a l e . . . I d i s t r i b u t e d t h i s q u e s t i o n n a i r e t o t w o g r o u p s o f o l d e r p e o p l e : o n e g r o u p a t t e n d i n g t h e U B C S u m m e r P r o g r a m f o r R e t i r e d P e o p l e i n 1 9 8 0 ; t h e o t h e r g r o u p f r o m t h e C o m m i t t e e o n A g i n g o f t h e S o c i a l P l a n n i n g a n d R e v i e w C o u n c i l o f B . C . i n 1 9 8 1 . T h e f o l l o w i n g a r e a f e w o f t h e r e s p o n s e s f r o m e a c h s a m p l e , w i t h r e s p e c t t o t h e i t e m s d e a l i n g w i t h g e r o n t o l o g y : 1 . G e r o n t o l o g y i s t h e b r a n c h o f s c i e n c e d e a l i n g w i t h t h e p h e n o m e n a a n d p r o b l e m s o f o l d a g e . G e r o n t o l o g y i s n o t i m p r o v i n g o r s o l v i n g t h e p r o b l e m s o f t h e a g e d . 2 . G e r o n t o l o g y i s t h e s t u d y o f a g i n g i n o l d e r p e o p l e . G e r o n t o l o g y i s n o t a d i s e a s e . 3 . G e r o n t o l o g y i s a s t u d y o f t h e o l d e r p e o p l e , t h e i r n e e d s , l i m i t a t i o n s , a n d p o t e n t i a l s . G e r o n t o l o g y i s n o t r e s t r i c t e d t o a s t u d y o f s e n i l i t y a n d d e p e n d e n c y o f a g e d p e o p l e . 4 . G e r o n t o l o g y i s a s c i e n c e a b o u t w h e r e a p e r s o n i s i n a s i t u a t i o n w h e r e e n d i n g s f i g u r e m o r e s t r o n g l y t h a n b e g i n n i n g s . G e r o n t o l o g y i s n o t a b o u t p e r s o n s w h o h a v e m e r e l y r e a c h e d a c e r t a i n a g e . 1 5 9 5 . G e r o n t o l o g y i s a n o t h e r w a y f o r s c i e n c e t o e x a m i n e s o m e t h i n g e l s e a n d t o g e t p a i d t o d o i t . G e r o n t o l o g y i s n o t d o i n g m u c h f o r t h e o l d , b u t t h e y o u n g s e e m t o b e g e t t i n g a l o t o u t o f i t . 6 . G e r o n t o l o g y i s a n u i s a n c e . I t m a k e s o l d p e o p l e i n t o s o m e t h i n g t h e y a r e n o t . G e r o n t o l o g y i s n o t t h e b e - a l l a n d e n d - a l l o f o l d p e o p l e . T h e y c a n h a v e s o m e t h i n g t o s a y a b o u t t h e m s e l v e s t o o . A s c a n b e s e e n f r o m t h e s e a n s w e r s , t h e t w o s a m p l e s o f r e s p o n d e n t s d i d s h a r e s o m e c o n s e n s u s i n t h e i r r e p l i e s . M a n y s e e m u n i m p r e s s e d w i t h w h a t t h e y p e r c e i v e g e r o n t o l o g i s t s t o d o , a s i n r e s p o n s e s n u m b e r s 5 a n d 6 . T h e n o t i o n o f " s c i e n c e " w a s i n v o k e d a s a r e s o u r c e f o r e x p l a i n i n g t h e u s e l e s s n e s s t h e y a t t r i b u t e d t o i t . I n t h i s w a y , " s c i e n c e " i s s e e n a s s o m e s o r t o f m a k e - w o r k p r o j e c t w h i c h " e x a m i n e s s o m e t h i n g e l s e " i n o r d e r t o " g e t p a i d f o r i t . " A l t h o u g h w e m i g h t e x p e c t g r e a t e r a w a r e n e s s o f t h e t e r m " g e r o n t o l o g y " i n t h e s e g r o u p s , d e v o t e d a s t h e y a r e t o e x a m i n i n g g e r o n t o l o g i c a l i s s u e s , i t h a s b e e n m y e x p e r i e n c e t h a t m a n y s e n i o r s ' g r o u p s a r e m u c h m o r e a w a r e o f t h i s e n t e r p r i s e . W h e n I c o n d u c t e d r e s e a r c h o n t h e h i s t o r y o f g e r o n t o l o g y i n B . C . ( 1 9 8 0 ) , s e v e r a l p e o p l e r a i s e d t h e i s s u e o f a m b i v a l e n c e w i t h i n t h e d i s c i p l i n e w i t h r e s p e c t t o b o t h d e f i n i t i o n a n d t h e t y p e s o f a c t i v i t i e s u n d e r t a k e n . A n i n f o r m a n t w h o p l a n s p r o g r a m s f o r p r o f e s s i o n a l s w h o w o r k w i t h t h e a g e d , n o t e d : 1 6 0 I s t a r t e d o u t n o t b y w o r k i n g w i t h t h e o l d b u t w i t h p r o f e s s i o n a l s , w h o w o r k d i r e c t l y w i t h t h e m . I d i d n o t t h e n , I d o n ' t n o w , c a l l m y s e l f o r t h i n k o f m y s e l f a s a g e r o n t o l o g i s t . . . H a l f t h e t i m e t h e p e o p l e w h o a r e w o r k i n g w i t h t h e e l d e r l y d o n ' t p e r c e i v e t h e m s e l v e s a s b e i n g g e r o n t o l o g i s t s . I d o n ' t t h i n k t h e s e p e o p l e d i s c u s s g e r o n t o l o g y a t a l l , e s p e c i a l l y t h e a i d e s a n d l o n g t e r m c a r e p e o p l e , a s a w o r d o r d e f i n i t i o n o f t h e i r w o r k . T h e i r w o r k i s s i m p l y d i r e c t s e r v i c e s t u f f , t h e i r j o b s a r e t o c a r e f o r a n d a s s i s t t h e o l d t o l e a d n i c e r l i v e s . G e r o n t o l o g i s t s s e e m m o r e t o d i s c u s s a n d t h e o r i z e a b o u t t h e l i v e s o f t h e o l d . ( T a p e d i n -t e r v i e w , O c t . 2 1 , 1 9 8 0 ) . T h i s p a r t i c u l a r i n f o r m a n t s e e m s t o b e p r e s e n t i n g a d i f f e r e n t " s t a t e - o f - t h e - a r t o f g e r o n t o l o g y " t h a n t h e a u t h o r s p r e v i o u s l y c i t e d . F o r h e r , t h e r e i s a d i f f e r e n c e b e t w e e n " w o r k i n g " w i t h t h e o l d t o p r o v i d e t h e m w i t h " d i r e c t " s e r v i c e s , w i t h " a s s i s t i n g t h e o l d t o l e a d n i c e r l i v e s , " a n d g e r o n t o l o g i c a l w o r k w h i c h s h e h a s d e f i n e d a s " t h e o r i z i n g . " T h i s i n f o r m a n t a l s o s e e m s t o d i s t i n g u i s h b e t w e e n t h o s e s h e c a l l s " p r o f e s s i o n a l s , " n a m e l y t h o s e w h o p r o v i d e " d i r e c t s e r v i c e , " a n d t h o s e w h o a r e g e r o n t o l o g i s t s i n t h e " a c a d e m i c c o m m u n i t y . " A g a i n , t h e d i f f e r e n c e i s r e l a t e d t o t h e a c t u a l n a t u r e o f t h e w o r k : " I d o n ' t t h i n k t h a t t h e s e p e o p l e , e s p e c i a l l y t h e a i d e s a n d l o n g t e r m c a r e p e o p l e , d i s c u s s g e r o n t o l o g y a s a w o r d o r d e f i n i t i o n o f t h e i r w o r k . " I t i s c l e a r w h i c h t y p e o f w o r k s h e s e e s a s w o r t h w h i l e . A s o c i a l w o r k e r i n t h e l o n g t e r m c a r e f i e l d w h o m I i n t e r v i e w e d f o r t h e h i s t o r y o f g e r o n t o l o g y r e s e a r c h i d e n t i f i e d h e r w o r k i n t h e f o l l o w i n g w a y : 161 At the Extended Care unit, we work with the ol d . Most of our people are sick and need special health care. Although some of my people (st a f f ) have had training in gerontology, mainly in the States, I don't hear people talking much about i t . When there are GABC (Gerontology Association of B r i t i s h Columbia) meetings, one of the s t a f f might talk a b i t about gerontology. Or when someone might take a course, something l i k e that, then you might hear the word. But otherwise, we are just long term care people doing our normal jobs. The gerontology term i s much more used by academics, I think, but then they are so much more concerned with having a specialty than we are in the health care f i e l d . (Taped interview, Oct. 29 , 1980) . This informant l i k e the one previously cited does not favor the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with gerontology. She also raises the seeming imperative for s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s to s p e c i a l i z e in the way that they do. A s o c i a l worker who has been involved in many seniors' organizations since the late 1950's made a s p e c i f i c separation between what she calle d "the study of aging" and gerontology: I see the study of aging as the sort of thing that we are a l l doing now. The sort of action, everyday stuff l i k e health care and p o l i c y and things l i k e that. That's what i t was then, too, in the early f i f t i e s . Gerontology i s a d i f f e r e n t sort of thing. It's academic. You teach i t , but you don't do i t (Nov. 20, 1980). This informant views gerontology as a t h e o r e t i c a l , non-action oriented e n t i t y which i s performed in s p e c i f i c settings, such in the "classroom" and in the "academic community." She also views working with the old as the "study of aging." For her the study of aging included the following: We w o u l d i d e n t i f y t h i n g s t h a t w e r e b e y o n d t h e r e a l m o f o u r o w n b a i l e y w i c k . We d i d s o m e r e s e a r c h , l e i s u r e s e r v i c e s , p r a c t i c e a n d e x p e r i m e n t s i n c o m m u n i t y s e r v i c e s , o r g a n i z i n g n e i g h b o u r h o o d p r o g r a m s , a n d c h u r c h p r o g r a m s a n d v o l u n t e e r e f f o r t s a n d s o o n . We a l s o l o o k e d a t t h i n g s l i k e p e n s i o n s a n d i n t e r m e d i a t e c a r e ; w e w r o t e b r i e f s ; w e p r e p a r e d s t u f f f o r c o n -f e r e n c e s , e t c . T h e a b o v e m e n t i o n e d a c t i v i t i e s i n c l u d e d s o m e t h i n g s s u c h a s " r e s e a r c h a n d e x p e r i m e n t s " w h i c h c o u l d a l s o b e d o n e b y a c a d e m i c g e r o n t o l o g i s t s . H o w e v e r t h e y w e r e b e i n g p e r f o r m e d b y p a r t o f t h e " s t u d y o f a g i n g " g r o u p : We w e r e h e a l t h c a r e p r o f e s s i o n a l s , s o c i a l w o r k e r s , v o l u n t e e r c o - o r d i n a t o r s a n d s o m e v e r y v e r y w i s e , s m a r t o l d p e o p l e w h o h a d g r o w n o l d i n t h e s o c i a l s e r v i c e s . T h e y w e r e v e r y s m a r t a b o u t w h a t w a s n e e d e d a n d w e r e a b l e t o e x p r e s s i t f r o m t h e o l d p e r s o n ' s p o i n t o f v i e w . T h e s e w e r e t h e e x p e r t s i n t h e f i f t i e s a n d s i x t i e s , b e f o r e t h e g e r o n t o l o g i s t s t o o k i t o v e r . T h e w o r k o f t h e " s t u d y o f a g i n g " g r o u p i n v o l v e d d e a l i n g w i t h e v e r y d a y p r a c t i c a l m a t t e r s s u c h a s p r o v i d i n g d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l s e r v i c e s t o t h e o l d . M o r e o v e r , a n d m o s t i m p o r t a n t l y t h e o l d t h e m s e l v e s w e r e p a r t o f t h i s s o c i a l r e a l i t y . A s s u c h , t h e y w e r e a m o n g t h e s o - c a l l e d " e x p e r t s " o n o l d a g e r e l a t e d i s s u e s . I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t o n o t e t h a t t h e o l d p e o p l e i n v o l v e d i n t h i s p r o c e s s w e r e , a c c o r d i n g t o t h i s i n f o r m a n t , " v e r y , v e r y w i s e , s m a r t o l d p e o p l e . " S h e s e e m e d t o b e t r y i n g t o e m p h a s i z e t h a t t h e s e p a r t i c u l a r p e o p l e r e a l l y w e r e k n o w l e d g e a b l e a b o u t w h a t w a s g o i n g o n i n t h e a r e a o f s o c i a l s e r v i c e s , w h e r e a s s o m e p e r h a p s l e s s s m a r t o l d p e o p l e m i g h t n o t . T h i s d i s p l a y s , o n t h e 163 o n e h a n d , a n e e d t o r a t i o n a l i z e t h e n o n - p r o f e s s i o n a l i n v o l v e m e n t . O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , i t v a l i d a t e s t h e n o t i o n o f c o n s u m e r i n p u t i n t o d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g p r o c e s s e s w h e r e " t e a m " a p p r o a c h e s a r e f a v o u r e d . I n r e s p o n s e t o t h e q u e s t i o n ' w h a t d o y o u s e e a s t h e f u t u r e o f g e r o n t o l o g y i n B . C . ? , ' t h e s o c i a l w o r k e r n o t e d : W e l l , I t h i n k f o r m e , t h e h i g h p r i o r i t y i s t h e v e r y o l d , a n d I h o p e , I p e r s o n a l l y w o n d e r a b o u t t h i s w h o l e b u s i n e s s o f h a v i n g a t e r m " g e r o n t o l g y " b e c a u s e i t s e e m s t o m e t o e x c l u d e s o r t o f n o n - a c a d e m i c p e o p l e w h o d o a l s o w o r k w i t h t h e o l d . I t h i n k t h a t t h e t e r m " g e r o n t o l o g y " s e p a r a t e s u s a r t i f i c i a l l y a n d t h a t t h a t i s a n e g a t i v e t h i n g . A l l s o r t s o f p e o p l e w o r k w i t h t h e o l d w h o d o n o t u s e t h e t e r m g e r o n t o l o g y w h e n t a l k i n g a b o u t t h e i r w o r k . S o m e t i m e s t h e y d o n o t l i k e w h a t i t s t a n d s f o r — a c a d e m i c s , a n d n o t d i r e c t l i n e e l d e r c a r e w o r k e r s . S a y i n g t h a t o n e i s a g e r o n t o l o g i s t i s c o n s i d e r e d b y m a n y w o r k e r s , a n d I s u s p e c t m u c h b y t h e o l d , a s a s n o b b i s h t h i n g t o s a y , b e c a u s e r e a l l y y o u a r e s a y i n g , ' l o o k a t t h e d e g r e e s I h a v e . ' A g a i n , t h e d i v i s i o n i s b e i n g m a d e b e t w e e n " w o r k e r s " a n d " a c a -d e m i c s " w h e r e t h e w o r k d o n e b y t h e l a t t e r i s n o t m a d e v i s i b l e i n t h e e v e r y d a y w o r l d . T h e n u r s e , s o c i a l w o r k e r , a n d a c t i v i t y a i d e a r e v i s i b l e t o u s i n s e t t i n g s w h e r e o l d e r p e o p l e c o n -g r e g a t e o n a d a i l y b a s i s ; t h e " a c a d e m i c " i s n o t . I t i s i n a s e n s e " s e c r e t " k n o w l e d g e a b o u t t h e o l d w h i c h m a y n e v e r s e e t h e l i g h t o f d a y o u t s i d e o f c a m p u s w a l l s . T h e k n o w l e d g e i s " s e c r e t " i n t h a t i t i s a v a i l a b l e o n l y t o t h o s e w h o , f i r s t , k n o w o f i t s e x i s t e n c e , a n d s e c o n d , k n o w h o w t o f i n d i t , w h e r e t o l o o k , a n d w h o t o a s k f o r c l a r i f i c a t i o n . 164 G i v e n t h e s e v i e w s , t h e i n f o r m a n t d i s c u s s e d w h a t s h e c o n s i -d e r e d i m p o r t a n t t a s k s f o r t h e f u t u r e : I t h i n k t h e r e a r e s o m e a g e r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s a m o n g p e o p l e a n d t h a t t h e r e i s s o m e t h i n g t o b e s a i d f o r t r y i n g t o s e a r c h t h a t o u t . T h e w h o l e b u s i n e s s o f h o w m u c h l o s s o n e e x p e r i e n c e s i n l a t e r l i f e , a n d h o w o n e d o e s , o r d o e s n o t h a n d l e i t , o r h o w i t m i g h t b e h a n d l e d b y s o c i e t y i s r e a l l y u n i q u e t o o l d a g e . Y o u k n o w t h e s e n s e s i n g e n e r a l d o d e c l i n e a n d y o u r f r i e n d s d o d i e a n d y o u r a b i l i t y t o m o v e o r t o b e c o n t i n t e n t o r t o h a v e s e x i s o n t h e d e c l i n e , a n d t h o s e k i n d s o f t h i n g s a r e u n i v e r s a l , a n d o t h e r t h i n g s t h a t h a p p e n t o p e o p l e , t h e s k i n , t h e h a i r , t h e e y e s , t h e c e l l s . I t h i n k t h a t t h e s e s o r t s o f c h a n g e s b e g s o m e e x t r a a t t e n t i o n . I t h i n k t h a t i n t h e s e s o r t s o f a g e -r e l a t e d t h i n g s w e c o u l d d o b e t t e r . S o t h e r e ' s s o m e a d v a n t a g e i n s e p a r a t i n g t h a t o u t I t h i n k , b u t n o t m a y b e t o t h e e x t e n t w h e r e w e ' r e d o i n g i t n o w , m a k i n g a f e t i s h o r a f a d o u t o f g e r o n t o l o g y . N o w i t ' s a c a s e o f t h o s e w h o k n o w a c a d e m i c s u b j e c t s i n t e r p r e t i n g t h e w o r l d f o r t h o s e w h o d o n ' t , a n d t h e y a r e b e i n g b e l i e v e d . A c c o r d i n g t o t h i s i n d i v i d u a l t h e r e i s w o r k w h i c h n e e d s t o b e d o n e b y s o m e o n e , e v e n i f n o t b y g e r o n t o l o g i s t s w h o m s h e d e n e g r a t e s a s " m a k i n g a f e t i s h o r a f a d " o u t o f a g i n g . T h i s w o r k w o u l d i n v o l v e d o c u m e n t i n g , r e s e a c h i n g a n d a n a l y z i n g t h e u n i v e r s a l , g e n e r a l i z a b l e a t t r i b u t e s o f g r o w i n g o l d , a n d t h e a g e r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s " a m o n g p e o p l e . " i t i s n o t , a s s h e e m p h a s i z e s " t o i n t e r p r e t t h e w o r l d " o f t h e o l d i n t o s o m e o t h e r k i n d o f s o c i a l r e a l i t y . I n t e r e s t i n g l y , i t c o u l d b e d e b a t e d t h a t s h e h e r s e l f h a s d o n e a v e r s i o n o f t h e i n t e r p r e t i n g a g a i n s t w h i c h s h e a r g u e s . S h e s u g g e s t s t h e v e r y i s s u e s w h i c h h e r o w n d i s c i p l i n e w o u l d d e e m i m p o r t a n t . T h e p e o p l e I h a v e j u s t q u o t e d a l l e x p r e s s e d a m b i v a l e n c e 1 6 5 a n d u n c e r t a i n t y a b o u t t h e n a t u r e o f t h e g e r o n t o l o g i c a l e n t e r -p r i s e . T h e y s h a r e w i t h t h e a c a d e m i c s c i t e d e a r l i e r t h e s e n s e t h a t g e r o n t o l o g y w o r k s i n t h e s o c i a l c o n s t r u c t i o n o f i d e a s a n d k n o w l e d g e a b o u t o l d a g e , b u t t h e n a t u r e o f t h i s r e a l i t y i s e i t h e r n o t c l e a r o r i s u n a c c e p t a b l e t o t h e m . T h e r e i s a l s o t h e s e n s e , a s d e s c r i b e d b y t h e p r e v i o u s l y c i t e d i n f o r m a n t t h a t s o m e t h i n g s c o u l d b e d o n e " b e t t e r " a n d t h a t o t h e r i s s u e s d e s e r v e " g r e a t e r a t t e n t i o n " t h a n t h e y a r e n o w g i v e n . O n e p o i n t s t a n d s o u t f r o m t h e m a t e r i a l s c i t e d t o p u r s u e t h e q u e s t i o n o f ' w h a t i s g e r o n t o l o g y ? ' T h i s i s t h e i n v o l v e m e n t o f o l d e r p e o p l e w i t h i n t h i s e n t e r p r i s e . I n a l e t t e r e n t i t l e d " A S e n i o r L o o k s A t G e r o n t o l o g y " ( N o v e m b e r 1 9 8 2 ) , t h e P r e s i d e n t o f t h e O l d A g e P e n s i o n