The greying of society has taken on global dimensions with the increasing absolute and relative numbers of elderly in the world. All countries, regardless of their level of development, are being forced to address the issues caused by the world's changing population patterns and to develop solutions which reflect their own unique culture. For the nations of the third world, this task is critical because modernization not only increases the number of aged, but affects community attitudes and the elderly's own self-image.

Two of the challenges which must be met are the maintenance and development of roles which allow the elderly· to effectively integrate into society by being contributing productive members and the provision of social welfare services which effectively protect and sustain the aged. Key to their success is the development of long-term care facilities for those lacking family and other traditional support and the provision of recreation services designed to make life meaningful for those who are no longer socially important or who do not know how to function autonomously in modern society.

A study of four nursing homes in Egypt and Cuba revealed that the problems facing the elderly residing in developing nations differ only by degree and not by kind from those found in industrialized nations. Although both have established some type of nursing home system and have allocated resources toward the provision of leisure services, placing a growing emphasis on community-based programs, much remains to be accomplished. The allocation now of time, energy, and resources to study the relationship of aging and modernization is essential if the future elderly are to be assured a satisfying and rewarding life.