Older women run their own businesses. Older women go to aerobics classes. Older women fall in love. In fact, older women have active lives and make a major contribution to the community despite the the public assumption that they are past their use-by date.

A Certain Age explores the public and private worlds of older women. Challenging the emphasis on declining health in other studies of ageing, it looks at the interactions between older women and family, friends and the community, as well as their work and leisure activities. The authors discuss the factors that are important in older woman's lives such as home, menopause, fitness, learning, widowhood and intimacy. They show that many older women maintain good health and an independent lifestyle while others experience barriers that prevent them from continuing to be active members of their community.

A Certain Age is valuable reading for anyone who works with older people, develops programs or policies for older people, or is interested in the experience of growing older.

Contributors v

Preface ix

1 Positioning Older Women 3

2 Policy's black box: mass media, women and ageing 17

3 Meanings of home in the lives of older women (and men) 36

4 Mauve is an old woman's colour: women's visual representations of menopause 56

5 Learning at the end of your life: A pedagogy of relocation 73

6 It's a lovely feeling: older women's fitness programs 87

7 Pebbles and Hugs: Older women in small business 101

8 The improvised careers of older women: gendered ageism at work? 117

9 Social capital, volunteerism and older women 134

10 Making the most of my life: a conversation with Dot Peters 155

11 No more dinners only lunches': Older widowed women relating to the world 165

12 The ache of frequent farewells 182

13 The expectation of love in older age: towards a sociology of intimacy193

Index 209