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Gerontology (New York, N.Y.)
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Aging Successfully [electronic resource]: The Psychological Aspects of Growing Old

Developmental psychologists Paul and Margret Baltes proposed a model of adaptive competence for the entire life span, but the emphasis here is on old age. In this program, the Baltes illustrate their SOC (selection, optimization, and compensation) model with engaging vignettes of senior citizens leading fulfilling lives, including writers Betty Friedan and Joan Erikson and dancer Bud Mercer. Segments of the cognitive tests used in assessing the mental abilities of older people are shown as the Baltes discuss personality components that generally lead to positive aging experiences.

On Old Age II [electronic resource]: A Conversation With Joan Erikson at 92

In this program, Joan M. Erikson describes her search for a better living situation for her frail husband, Erik H. Erikson, and then presents a poignant recounting of his subsequent death. She uses these experiences to suggest strategies to meet the physical and emotional needs of the fragile elderly and to support those who work with them. With a personal understanding of the challenges of old age, Mrs. Erikson revisits the eighth stage of the life cycle and proposes a new ninth stage for the changes that face the extremely elderly. The program concludes with Mrs. Erikson describing the difficulties of living into one's 90s without losing what she calls one's indomitable core.

These Vital Years [electronic resource]: A Conversation With Betty Friedan at 76

Betty Friedan, who originally gained fame for her pivotal role in the Women's Movement of the 1960s and '70s, continued to be an insightful and outspoken social critic for the rest of her life. In this program, Friedan discusses the research she did about the myths and realities of aging and her personal experience of being over 70. Her zesty style of speaking and her sharp analysis of long-accepted yet mistaken beliefs about aging make this video a stimulating and provocative experience.

Older Brains, New Connections [electronic resource]: A Conversation With Marian Diamond at 73

Marian Diamond's research indicates that given the right conditions, the brain continues to grow all during life and not just in the early years. In this program, Dr. Diamond presents a summary of her research and its practical implications in her cordial, accessible manner. Topics include research into the genetic components of Alzheimer's disease, the exciting discoveries that the brain can generate new neurons, her research into the brain's role in autoimmune disorders, and data from longitudinal studies of aging nuns. In addition, she provides suggestions for applying this knowledge and shares her own fitness plan to keep her body - including her brain - healthy.

On Old Age 1 [electronic resource]: A Conversation With Joan Erikson at 90

"Wisdom and integrity are something that other people may see in an old person, but it's not what that old person is feeling." In this program, Joan M. Erikson offers a frank and personal reexamination of the last stage of the life cycle - a stage she believes that she and her husband, Erik H. Erikson, tended to romanticize when they formulated their eight-stage life cycle theory decades earlier. With grace, humor, and some feistiness, Mrs. Erikson takes on a range of topics, including forgetfulness, coping with physical limitations, and facing death. The video is a thought-provoking experience for everyone interested in developmental psychology and for all who live or work with an older person.