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Theory of aging

Ageing or aging is the process of getting older.Age is commonly taken into account in social interaction and age differentiation is commonly a basis for allocating social roles and resources.A theory of aging or a formal intervention strategy, by its very nature as a human activity, always contains a story with implicit and explicit meanings or ontological images of human nature, its development and its teleology.

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This article focuses the social, cultural, and economic effects of ageing.

Aging is an important part of all human societies reflecting the biological changes that occur, but also reflecting cultural and societal conventions. Age is usually, but wholly arbitrarily, measured in years and a person’s birthday is often an important event. As a feature of social change and as an aspect of social stratification, ageing and age groups have been seriously neglected by sociological theory. To conceptualize age groups in a multi-dimensional model of stratification this considers ageing in relation to economic class, political entitlement, or citizenship, and cultural life-styles.

Theories given by many sociologists on aging are as follows:-

Modernization Theory

This is the view that the status of the elderly has declined since industrialization and the spread of technology.

Disengagement Theory

This is the idea that separation of older people from active roles in society is normal and appropriate, and benefits both society and older individuals.

Activity Theory

A view holding that the more active people are, the more likely they are to be satisfied with life.

Continuity Theory

The view that in aging people are inclined to maintain, as much as they can, the same habits, personalities, and styles of life that they have developed in earlier years.

Cognitive Theory

A view of aging that emphasizes individual subjective perception, rather than actual objective change itself, as the factor that determines behavior associated with advanced age.

Demographic Transition Theory

The idea that population aging can be explained by a decline in both birthrates and death rates following industrialization.

Exchange Theory

The idea that interaction in social groups is based on the reciprocal balancing of rewards depending on actions performed.

The impact of social and sociocultural conditions and social consequences of the process of aging is termed as social gerontology. Normal declines in all organ systems, usually occurring after age 30. (The period between Birth – 30 years is usually called “Development” or “Maturation”)

The future of public welfare with regard to older people is being questioned in all industrial societies, thus it is more important than ever to understand the relationship between old age and public policy. Older people have been expected to adjust to the reification of age into convenient social categories for the purposes of resource distribution and rationing. It is important in health and social welfare, the social and health deficits become translated into need, how need can be forestalled or optimum conditions created for its alleviation, and what can be done to promote the quality of life in old age by practical means.

We turn to mental health theorists to elaborate our definition of life satisfaction and well-being and then to psychological research to suggest how to prepare ourselves now for a good old age in the future. Many older people face many problems, without programs for the aging and the human services workers who help older people use them, many more would be in difficult circumstances.

As more and more elderly live longer life spans it is likely that many of those older individuals in their sixties and seventies may have surviving partners, which is a new phenomenon in our society. Many elderly people are healthy, vital, and in good financial circumstances. The term “young old” categorizes the health and social characteristics of the elderly rather than the very old. On the other hand, improvements in health care and the quality of life have made it possible for people to live longer.

On the other hand, for many older people survival into old age is not a blessing. Many suffer from poverty; isolation, and no productivity. The large population has become a problem for society, as we have not created channels for productive use of leisure time and means for old people to meet their own needs successfully. On the whole, our society is ill prepared to cope with the increasing number of older people.

To work successfully with older people, it is important to understand their social status today in relation to changes that have occurred in this century. In addition, it is important to understand the aging process and the strengths and weaknesses of people in the later phases of life in coping with their status and problems. In the eastern culture’s respect for old age, the elderly were given status and power of life and death over the young, perhaps old age was a better time of life than young adulthood. Many of these ancient values have transcended time and exist today in Eastern cultures, where the elderly are generally revered and, therefore, are well cared for by the society as a whole.

Aging is a disease that reaches all of us, but its symptoms can be postponed with the proper combination of diet, supplementation and exercise.

Reference:

1.         Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare:- By University of Connecticut School of Social Work, Western Michigan University College of Health and Human Services, Western Michigan University School of Social Work

2.         Enduring Questions in Gerontology By Debra J. Sheets, Dana Burr Bradley, Jon Hendricks

3.         Policies for an Aging Society By David L. Shactman

4.         Housing an Aging Society: Issues, Alternatives, and Policy By Robert J. Newcomer, Mortimer Powell Lawton, Thomas O. Byerts

5.         Aging Families and Use of Proverbs for Values Enrichment By Vera R. Jackson

6.         Ageing, Status Politics and Sociological Theory
Bryan S. Turner

 

 

 

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