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Mental Health in Later LifeTaking a Life Course Approach$
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Alisoun Milne

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781447305729

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447305729.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Mental Health in Later Life

Alisoun Milne

Policy Press

Despite much emphasis on mental illness in later life, limited work has focused on mental health. This book aims to address this deficit by exploring, and explaining, mental health outcomes in later life through the lens of critical social gerontology and via the conduit of life course analysis. It adopts an approach underpinned by a commitment to understanding, and making visible, the role of lifecourse, and age related inequalities in creating or amplifying risks to mental health, as well as exploring those issues that afford protection. It aims to offer a critical review of existing discourse and disrupt the ‘taken for granted’ paradigm, including in the dementia arena. This approach not only recognises that mental health in later life is a complex multi-dimensional issue that cuts across time, cohort, social categories and individual experiences but that it is affected by a wide range of lifecourse and age related issues. It also encourages the development of understanding that adopts a wide lens of analysis and of policy and service related responses that reduce risks to mental health during the lifecourse and in later life itself. Further, it engages with the potential to learn from older people’s perspectives and lives.

Keywords:   Mental health in later life, Life course analysis, Critical gerontology, Lifecourse and age related inequalities, Older people’s perspectives

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