Joseph E. Davis and Paul Scherz at The New Atlantis:
At other times and in other places, traditional ways of life, social classification, and metaphysical order gave shape and coherence to the course of life, providing a picture of aging well. Each period of life had its activities, duties, and forms of flourishing.
The periods of aging, decline, and the approach of death were especially critical. They involve some of the most complex and unsettling aspects of human experience, and so the need for a strong community to provide direction and meaning is most acute. Many social and cultural practices, such as kinship cohorts, rites of generational transition, filial duties to ancestors, hierarchies that honor wisdom, social customs that guide in grieving, and arts of suffering and dying, provided support for this time of life.