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date: 18 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

Global demographic trends, like increasing life expectancy and human longevity along with other factors that affect “aging” contemporary societies, have restructured age-old beliefs about later adulthood. This chapter focuses on community leadership in the later adult years. Recent research on concepts like successful aging, wisdom, mentoring, and the role of older adults in community leadership has uncovered many positive aspects of development in later adulthood. The chapter also focuses on nonattachment and aims to unravel cultural variations in understandings of both community leadership and nonattachment in later adulthood. Taking India as a case study, the chapter delineates traditional ideas of detachment and spiritual advancement in the human life span through the ashramadharma template. The complex developmental pathway of nonattachment from worldly pleasures (materialistic, self-related) alongside involvement in community development (other-oriented, service-driven) is explored. The influence of gender, caste, and social class are highlighted to explain these experiences in contemporary Indian society.

Keywords: later adulthood, civic engagement, volunteering, nonattachment, community leadership, mentoring, positive development, Hindu life course

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