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ABOUT THE BOOK A silver tsunami is sweeping across Asia. In western countries, the rising tide of population aging took 100 years to alter the face of societies, but Asia is experiencing comparable changes in not much more than a quarter of a century. Contributors to the Handbook of Asian Aging describe the magnitude of these changes and their effects on the aged and on societies attempting to adapt to the dramatic improvements in life expectancy brought on by rapid economic and social transformations. Asia encompasses a vast reach from Pakistan and India to Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia, and in this book including Australia. In any single country, a complex medley of cultural and ethnic differences must be accommodated in the formulation of aging policies and practices. Strong moral traditions rooted in Buddhism, Confucianism, and Islam have commingled with Christianity to play a tangible role in idealized views of the elderly. The Handbook provides a framework for making sense of the meeting between reverential views of the elderly and contemporary priorities as Asia arrives at a crossroads. The need for innovative approaches to social policy and personal practices is nowhere more evident than in Asian countries, where modern market economies have forced hard political choices. The economic tigers of the Asian Pacific region experienced the aging of their populations ahead of other Asian countries, but solutions reached during times of financial boom are being reexamined as economies come back to earth, with hard or soft landings. The Handbook of Asian Aging provides an atlas of the far reaching changes that are afoot and that will become even more pronounced in the very near future.
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