1st Edition

Communication for Successful Aging Empowering Individuals Across the Lifespan

    164 Pages 13 Color & 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    164 Pages 13 Color & 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    164 Pages 13 Color & 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Biennial Jake Harwood Outstanding Book Award 2024

    National Communication Association Communication and Ageing Division, Outstanding Book Award 2023

    This essential volume explores the vital role of communication in the aging process and how this varies for different social groups and cultural communities. It reveals how communication can empower people in the process of aging, and that how we communicate about age is critically important to – and is at the heart of – aging successfully.

    Giles et al. confront the uncertainty and negativity surrounding "aging" – a process with which we all have to cope – by expertly placing communication at the core of the process. They address the need to avoid negative language, discuss the lifespan as an evolving adventure, and introduce a new theory of successful aging – the communication ecology model of successful aging (CEMSA). They explore the research on key topics including: age stereotypes, age identities, and messages of ageism; the role of culture, gender, ethnicity, and being a member of marginalized groups; the ingredients of intergenerational communication; depiction of aging and youth in the media; and how and why talk about death and dying can be instrumental in promoting control over life’s demands.

    Communication for Successful Aging is essential reading for graduate students of psychology, human development, gerontology, and communication, scholars in the social sciences, and all of us concerned with this complex academic and highly personal topic.

    1. Matters of Communication and Aging 2. Messages of Agism and Age Stereotypes 3. Age Identities: What Are They and How Do They Emerge? 4. The Ingredients of Intergenerational Communication 5. The Media, Agism, and Anti-Aging 6. Talking About Death – Or Not 7. Successful Aging and Communication 8. Conclusions and Vistas: Communicating Resilience, Hope, and Empowerment


    Howard Giles, PhD, DSc, is a Distinguished Research Professor in the Communication Department, University of California, Santa Barbara, and Honorary Professor in the School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

    Dr. Jessica Gasiorek
    is an Associate Professor in the Communicology program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, USA.

    Dr. Shardé M. Davis
    is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Faculty Affiliate of various research institutes at the University of Connecticut, USA.

    Jane Giles is a software consultant and author with a background in psychology and education.

    "An updated and transcendent extension of their previous book placing Communication at the core of our understanding of the aging process, the authors provide every aging scholar, practitioner, and individual with an empirically grounded and theoretically rich path to successful aging. Contextualized within the Covid pandemic, I highly recommend this book as the best source for all those managing a positive aging experience."

    - Jon F. Nussbaum, Liberal Arts Professor Emeritus of Communication Arts and Sciences and Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State University

    "Communication for Successful Aging provides a thoroughly engaging and incredibly concise understanding of the human aging process. It effectively conveys the centrality of communication to a successful old age, illustrating that communication provides both the context for and process by which we get older, using numerous (often very entertaining) examples. The book addresses difficult and understudied topics including, most notably, communication and death. Throughout, it emphasizes practical application: A textbook for a course about communication and aging, but equally a 'how to' guide for anybody who is getting older – which is, of course, all of us!"

    - Jake Harwood, Professor of Communication, University of Arizona

    "This volume is a timely resource on aging well for our post-pandemic world. The authors present high quality, up-to-date research on topics such as age stereotyping, intergenerational communication, cultural influences on aging, and empowerment – all delivered in an engaging style that includes real-life examples and illustrative figures. This is a book that holds insights on enhancing the experience of aging for both general and academic audiences."

    - Mary Lee Hummert, Professor Emerita, Communication Studies Department, University of Kansas

    "The Giles et al. volume offers a solid introduction to several topics on aging (e.g., successful aging, ageism, life course and lifespan), and the focus on communication across multiple scales is a welcome one. The authors deftly situate a person and the process of aging within a matrix of different relationships that can influence or are influenced by communicative interactions. They illustrate the cumulative nature of communicative events, big or small, on people’s understanding of aging and their own life course."

    -Journal of Anthropology & Aging