This series of books showcases the major outputs from the ESRC Growing Older programme. They also provide research insights which can be used to improve policy and practice and enhance extended quality of life for older people.

It is well-known that people are living longer but very little attention has been given to the factors that determine the quality of life experienced by older people.

This important new series will be vital reading for a broad audience of policymakers, social gerontologists, nurses, social workers, sociologists and social geographers as well as advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students in these disciplines.

To order any of the books below, search for the ISBN or book title on the McGraw Hill Open University Press website.

Growing Older - Quality of life in old age

Edited by Alan Walker

This volume introduces the work of the Growing Older research programme. It focuses on ways in which quality of life can be extended for older people, and offers short research based summaries of key findings on a variety of core topics. This book is suitable for use as a recommended text on advanced undergraduate and postgraduate courses on social gerontology, sociology and social policy. It will also be of interest to professionals working with older people, including social workers, gerontology nurses and community support workers.

September 2004 192pp
0 335 21507 6 Paperback £23.99
0 335 21508 4 Hardback £65.00


Sara Arber; Madhavi Bajekal; David Blane; John Bond; Ann Bowling; Jabeer Butt; Lynda Clarke; Joanne Cook; Kate Davidson; Murna Downs; Zahava Gabriel; Ini Grewal; Catherine Hagan Hennessey; Caroline Holland; Gill Hubbard; Leonie Kellaher; Charlotte MacDonald; Tony Maltby; Jo Moriarty; Joan Murphy; James Nazroo; Sheila M. Peace; Chris Phillipson; Ceridwen Roberts; Sasha Scambler; Thomas Scharf; Allison Smith; Susan Tester; Christina Victor; Alan Walker; Lorna Warren.


Introducing the Growing Older programme - Quality of life: older people’s views - Ethnic inequalities - Environment and identity - Social exclusion - Lonliness in later life - Older men - Older women and participation - Social support - Grandparenting - Frailty and institutions - Conclusion - Index.

Growing Older in Europe

Edited by Alan Walker

This book provides a European dimension, examining and comparing the quality of life as experienced by older people in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK. Detailed case studies by well-known European authors consider key quality of life indicators such as income, housing, employment, physical and mental health, and family and social support. Examples of good practice are provided from each region, and recommendations are made for future priorities. A comparative introduction by the editor draws out key similarities and differences between the countries studied, and sets the context for the case studies. This book is aimed at advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students of social policy, social gerontology and sociology. It will also be of interest to academics and policy makers.

December 2004 192pp
0 335 21513 0 Paperback £24.99
0 335 21514 9 Hardback £65.00


Lars Andersson, Beitske Bouwman, Kees Knipscheer, Giovanni Lamura, Annemarie Peeters, Francesca Polverini, Monika Reichert, Alan Walker, Carol Walker, Manuela Weidekamp-Maicher.


Introduction - Part I: Quality of life: socio-economic status - Germany - Italy - The Netherlands - Sweden - UK - Part II: Quality of life: participation and social support - Germany - Italy - The Netherlands - Sweden - UK - Annex - Index.

Understanding quality of life in old age

Edited by Alan Walker

This book considers key findings from the Growing Older research programme and presents these in a lively thematic format. It discusses topics such as environment, family, bereavement, identity, and social interaction and describes key concepts and measures. Using data drawn from a range of different research projects, the book illustrates considerable methodological diversity to capture a broad picture of quality of life. Key implications for future research on quality of life in older age are then proposed. The book is a companion volume to Growing Older - Quality of Life in Old Age edited by Catherine Hennessy and Alan Walker. It will be recommended reading on a range of Masters level courses including social gerontology, social work, sociology and social policy.

May 2005
0335 215238 paperback £21.99
0335 215246 hardback £60.00


Alan Walker; Catherine Hagan Hennessy; Ken Gilhooly; Mary Gilhooly; Ann Bowling; Paul Higgs; Martin Hyde; Sara Arber; David Blane; Elizabeth Breeze; James Nazroo; Dick Wiggins; Caroline Holland; Leonie Kellaher; Sheila Peace; Thomas Scharf; Jane Gow; Lynda Clarke; Maria Evandrou; Peter Warr; Kate Davidson; Lorna Warren; Mary Maynard; Christina Victor; Kevin McKee; Murna Downs; Susan Tester; Fiona Wilson; Christopher McKevitt; John Baldock; Jan Hadlow; Jo Moriarty; Jabeer Butt; Peter Speck; Kate M. Bennett; Peter Coleman; Marie Mills; F. McKiernan; Philip T. Smith; Georgina M. Hughes.


Investigating Quality of Life in the Growing Older Programme - Quality of Life: Meaning and Measurement - Dimensions of the Inequalities in Quality of Life in Older Age - Getting Out and About - Family and Economic Roles - Social Involvement: Aspects of Gender and Ethnicity - Social Isolation and Loneliness - Frailty, Identity and the Quality of Later Life - Identity, Meaning and Social Support - Elderly Bereaved Spouses: Issues of Belief, Well-being and Support - Conclusion: From Research to Action.

Ageing well

What is quality of life?
What is quality of life in older age?
How can quality of life in older age be improved?

This book explores concepts of quality of life in older age in the theoretical literature and presents the views of a national sample of people aged 65+. Both quantitative and qualitative findings are presented. These data are of interest to academics, practitioners and policy makers who are concerned with extending the quality of life of older people.

October 2005
0335 215092 paperback
0335 215106 hardback

About the author

Ann Bowling is a social scientist and is Professor of Health Services Research in the Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences at University College London.

Ageing in the city - Everyday life in poor neighbourhoods

This book sets out to address key issues associated with the experience of ageing in Britain's deprived urban neighbourhoods, considering issues such as poverty, crime, social problems, community and local services. It draws upon original empirical research including detailed interviews with 130 older people living in deprived neighbourhoods. This rich data will be supplemented where appropriate with findings drawn from a survey of an additional 600 older people in the same communities.

October 2006
0335 215157 paperback
0335 215165 hardback

About the authors

Thomas Scharf is Senior Lecturer in Social Gerontology at the Centre for Social Gerontology at Keele University where Chris Phillipson is Professor of Applied Social Studies and Social Gerontology and Allison Smith is Research Assistant.

Environment and identity in later life

Throughout life self-identity is influenced by everyday interactions with the macro and micro environment. This will involve the material environment; the social environment and the psychological environment. In later life, people bring to this relationship a lifetime’s experience that will make certain associations more or less significant.

This book explores the relationship between environment and identity for older people. Much has been written about the experiences of older people living in ‘special’ age-segregated settings. This book is unique as it involves people of different ages, gender, and cultures at the turn of the century living across a range of accommodations and locations – ‘ordinary and special’ housing; semi–rural, urban and metropolitan in south-east England. Through a detailed ethnographic study we hear older people talking in depth about their situations and experiences of space and place. This research enables us to understand how they manage to balance their needs with their contextual life.

Many are able to achieve a life of quality as they engage and re-engage with their immediate and peripheral environments. Understanding this experience allows greater clarification of what it means to move towards the end of life. The discussion of how environmental complexity influences people in developing and maintaining their identity is essential for those involved in planning, designing, caring and supporting people as they age in 21st century Britain.

August 2005
0335 215114 paperback
0335 215122 hardback

About the authors

Sheila Peace is Senior Lecturer in the School of Health and Social Welfare at the Open University. She is both a human geographer and a gerontologist with research interests in environment and ageing; residential care services and the regulation of care services. Founder member with Leonie Kellaher of CESSA (Centre for Environment and Social Studies in Ageing), London Metropolitan University.

Leonie Kellaher is Director of CESSA. An anthropologist and gerontologist. Her most recent research included the ESRC funded study of ‘Cemetery as garden’.

Caroline Holland is a Research Associate in the School of Health and Social Welfare at the Open University where she undertook doctoral work on housing histories. She is also a geographer and gerontologist. She has previously worked with local authorities and housing associations, and her main research interests are housing, environment and the life course. Sheila Peace and Caroline Holland edited ‘Inclusive Housing in and Ageing Society' for Policy Press in 2001.

Women in later life - exploring race and ethnicity

This volume draws on feminist, participatory research with older women from White British, Afro-Caribbean, Polish and Asian backgrounds to identify the positive dimensions of their lives as well as their needs; what is shared and what is different in their needs and aspirations across differing cultural backgrounds; and what is found to be empowering and what is not.

January 2007
0335 215254 paperback
0335 215262 hardback

About the authors

Haleh Afshar is Professor in the Politics Department at the University of York.

Myfanwy Franks is a researcher in the Social Work Research and Development Unit, University of York.

Mary Maynard is Professor of Social Policy in the department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York and was formerly Director of the Centre for Women's Studies.

Sharon Wray is Senior Lecturer in Health and Sports Studies at the University of Huddersfield. in the School of Health and Social Welfare at the Open University where she undertook doctoral work on housing histories. She is also a geographer and gerontologist. She has previously worked with local authorities and housing associations, and her main research interests are housing, environment and the life course. Sheila Peace and Caroline Holland edited ‘Inclusive Housing in and Ageing Society' for Policy Press in 2001.

Family, work and quality of life for older people

Recent socio-economic and demographic changes, such as increasing female labour force participation, rises in the age at which children leave home and improvements in longevity are all likely to increase the number of people ‘caught in the middle’ – that is, individuals juggling paid work and caring responsibilities, while still supporting their own children. This is the first book in Britain to explore the changes in economic and social roles in Britain over the last 20 years and to investigate the relationship between such roles and a range of indicators of quality of life, including economic resources, health and social activities. The implications for policy makers, especially in the area of pensions and welfare benefits, are discussed.

November 2006
0335 215173 paperback
0335 215181 hardback

About the authors

Maria Evandrou is Reader in Gerontology at the Institute of Gerontology, King’s College London and Director of the ESRC SAGE Research Group. She has carried out research on a wide range of issues concerning the lives of older people and their carers, including health, dependency, pensions, financial resources, formal and informal sources of support; the retirement prospects of future cohorts of elders; access to health and social services; and the health and socio-economic position of minority ethnic elders in Britain. She has written widely on these issues.

Karen Glaser is a Senior Lecturer in Gerontology at the Institute of Gerontology, King’s College London. She received her PhD from the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She has conducted comparative research on family support among older people in Britain, Europe and Latin America.

The social world of older people

This book provides a detailed account of loneliness and social isolation as experienced by older people living in Britain. The authors consider the incidence and effects of isolation and loneliness, identifying the factors which lead to such experiences and considering potential interventions. This is an important area as both loneliness and social isolation are negatively associated with both quality and quantity of life whilst the maintenance of social relationships is seen as a key component of 'successful ageing'.

February 2007
0335 215211 paperback
0335 21522X hardback

About the authors

Christina Victor is Professor in the School of Health and Social Care at Reading University.

John Bond is Professor in the School of Population and Health Science and Director of the Centre for Health Services Research at the University of Newcastle.

Ann Bowling is a social scientist and is Professor of Health Services Research in the Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences at University College London.

Older women's lives and voices

This book draws upon the voices and experiences of older women from different ethnic groups to examine the intersection of ageism, racism and sexism and how this impacts on older women's quality of life. The book is designed to address gaps in the current literature, to dispel the myth of older women as passive agents in the process of ageing and as passive recipients of services, and to examine their desires to get their voices heard and overcome the age, gender and racial discrimination that they frequently face in their everyday lives. This book directly supports recent policy initiatives such as the Better Government for Older People Programme and the National Service Framework for Older People which highlights the fact that older people are not a homogenous group and that older people from black and minority ethnic groups can be particularly disadvantaged.

January 2007
0335 21519X paperback
0335 215203 hardback

About the authors

Joanne Cook is Senior Research Fellow in the European Research Area on Ageing at the University of Sheffield.

Tony Maltby is Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Birmingham.

Lorna Warren is Lecturer in Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield.