The book emphasises on a deeper understanding of ageing in the society of today, viewing it as a precarious process, both at the individual and at the societal level. It takes into consideration the position of the aged within the family and in the society, and the changes that have come about over the last few decades. Effects of globalization, break-up of the joint-family system, and the growing materialism and commercialization of society make the elderly viewed only from the ßeconomicû perspective.
The book examines certain theories on gerontology, pointing out that the workable theories should focus more on application so that the aged can benefit from such theories. It analyses the literature on the old: how different scholars and specialists have viewed ageing and its different aspects like the impact of genetic influences and the environment on ageing. Based on a field study, involving elderly from all castes and religious groups both in urban and rural areas, it delves deep into the need for empowerment of the aged. It argues that religion, community and the institutional stay have a direct correlation with the empowerment and disempowerment process, which has more impact on the upper than the lower castes. It undertakes case studies and comes up with interesting and significant observation. Personal income is considered the main source of empowerment. It significantly views institutional care of the old in the context of empowerment and disempowerment, analysing factors that force the old to choose to live in the old-age homes.
The volume is a meticulous research work that will prove extremely relevant to scholars and students as a sociological study on ageing and the elderly especially in the Indian context.