According to the US Census Bureau, about 40 million Americans will be age 65 or older in 2010. By the year 2040, the population of older adults in the United States (US) will double to about 80 million, with the greatest rate of increase in those aged 85 years and older. This population-ageing trend is likely to parallel the increase in the incidence of disability and chronic conditions and to bring about challenges to late life well-being. Despite advances and popularity of science and technology over the past century, national surveys have consistently recorded high rates of religious or spiritual involvement in the US, especially among older persons and disadvantaged populations. In the past decade, scientific investigation in the protective effects of faith on physical and mental health has surged. Yet, how faith factors precisely influence health-related functions and well-being in late life remains under-investigated. Clearly, more comprehensive research evidence is needed to meet ageing Americans' spiritual needs.
The chapters in this book explore common topics during the later part of life, including disability, declining functioning, nursing home residency, death-and-dying, terminal illness, heart failure, major medical operation, vision impairment, and exercise and fitness. In our interdisciplinary investigations, contributors include gerontologists from various disciplines and professions (i.e., psychology, sociology, social work, theology, public health, and medicine). All these empirical studies are based on social science theories. To meet the needs of a broad array of various audiences, they also offer some evidence-based implications for practices.