The 21st century is certainly one of major change. The issues confronting society are the reason that having a solid grounding in research and theory about adult development and aging is essential even for understanding news events. The health care debate of 2009 brought many issues to the fore, including Medicare, end-of-life issues, and longev­ity. Other news stories about genetic breakthroughs, stem cell research, new brain-imaging techniques for studying cognition, and the latest breakthrough in treating dementia were reported quite frequently. To understand why these issues are so critical, one must understand aging in a broader context. That is why Adult Development and Aging is now in its sixth edition.

The first few decades of this century will witness a fundamental change in the face of the popula­tion—literally. Along with many countries in the industrialized world, the United States will experi­ence an explosive growth in the older adult popula­tion due to the aging of the baby-boom generation. Additionally, the proportion of older adults who are African American, Latino, Asian American, and Native American will increase rapidly. To deal with these changes, new approaches will need to be created through the combined efforts of people in many occupations—academics, gerontologists, social workers, health care professionals, financial experts, marketing professionals, teachers, factory workers, technologists, government workers, human service providers, and nutritionists, to mention just a few. Every reader of this book, regardless of his or her area of expertise, will need to understand older adults in order to master the art of living.

This sixth edition of Adult Development and Aging continues to provide in-depth coverage of

XII the major issues in the psychology of adult develop­ment and aging. The sixth edition adds numerous topics and provides expanded coverage of many of the ones discussed in earlier editions.