These stereotypes, however, are very far from the truth about what occurs during the late adulthood stage. They stem from a form of prejudice referred to as ageism (Berger, 2008). Gerontologists define ageism as “A form of prejudice used to categorize and judge individual based on their chronological age only” (Berger, 2008, p. 615). The issue of ageism can promote patronizing treatment toward persons in the late adulthood stage and even foster discrimination. For example, people in the West unconsciously process
Gerontology as a field of scientific study can be traced back to the late 1800s; a time when research primarily focused on the negative attributes of aging, such as health decline. It wasn 't until the introduction of social gerontology in 1983 that researchers began to more rigorously study the psychological and social aspects of aging. In recognizing that “successful aging depends not just on the prevention of disease and disability, but also on the attainment of peak physical and psychological functioning,” (Quadagno,
Modern society view’s aging as a form of sickness and the elderly as persons who are closer to dying and death. This is what is often portrayed in our mass and social media. When considering issues of aging sociologists have found that more positive characteristics are often said for persons under sixty five years than for over sixty five years.
Aging and being old was dominated by negative characteristics and conditions such as illness, depression, and isolation for a long time (Eibach, Mock, & Courtney, 2010). At first glance the terms “success” and “aging” seem to be in conflict to each other. When asking people about aging, their answers have many facets that are also found in psychological definitions: successful aging is seen as health, maturity and personal growth, self-acceptance, happiness, generativity, coping, and acceptance of age-related limitations. In the psychological sense successful aging is also often seen as the absence of age-associated characteristics (Strawbridge, Wallhagen, & Cohen, 2002). It seems that successful aging means is not aging.
According to the recent studies the older people as compared to the youth are becoming more economically and demographically attractive. However, there are costs of an aging population that the society bears as a whole. (Andrews, 2009)
Many sociologists believe that, like childhood, the age status is socially constructed. Many discussions about old age are negative and stereotypical, therefore it is constructed as a problem. People have different critical stereotypes of elderly people, they see them as, slow, old fashioned, complaining all the time and many other traditional stereotypes. An example of this would be the Griffiths Report. This report claimed that the care of the elderly was pushing society to facing the problem of meeting the growing costs that health and social care needs in order to help the growing number of elderly people. There has also been a recent fear of the ‘pension time bomb’ this has also caused some negative attitudes and concerns that the ageing population creates a
Aging is a universal phenomenon and humans are no exception. Gerontology deals with the psychological, social and biological aspects of aging process. A recent study shows that people aged 85 years and older are expected to augment from 5.3 million people to 21 million as the world reach 2050. In today’s world Gerontology has an enormous role to play so that the senior citizens could be analyzed and their needs may be addressed with compassion and empathy.
Another supporter of changing the way aging is conveyed is author, Margaret Cruiksbank, of the book, Learning to be Old. In her book she is a proponent of changing the way the aging process is described. Her position is that the underlying meaning of popular terms to describe aging weakens its value. She denotes that the term “successful aging” is a false phrase for the elderly as it “masks both the wish to continue mid-life indefinitely and the white, Middle-class, Western values of researchers, causing them to emphasize productivity, effectiveness and independence” (Cruiksbank, 2009, p. 2). She also concludes that the term “productive” aging symbolizes “economic usefulness and social conformity” (Cruiksbank, 2009, p. 2), especially for the female gender. More importantly, these terms can be used to measure. This ability to measure is subjective to the questioner and an individual’s self-worth. She suggests the term “aging comfortably” as it signifies easiness, and a “faint hint” of pleasurable self-indulgence which may not have been possible in younger years (Cruiksbank, 2009, p. 3).
This week as usual some fascinating fact was brought up. It is funny how unaware we are about things happening around us. Before ageism was discussed in class, I did not know that the elderly population were discriminated against. When a certain issue is brought to mind, your human conscious begins to notice. For examples opening some site on the internet, the first thing that pops up is the new aging cream made by different companies, a special one for the eyes, the wrinkles on the forehead, the nose, the sagging neck. It is as if they are calling the elderly population “ugly” and you are only beautiful if you are young. There are also different types of ageism; personal, intentional and unintentional but even if ageism can be seen an unintentional,
The observation that I take out of this finding is that some older adults have positive views on the way they are aging, making them adoptive to the aging process and they are able to cope better as life continues to go on. According to S. Wurm and Y. Benyamini, authors of Optimism buffers the detrimental effect of negative self-perceptions of ageing on physical and mental health (2014), “Positive [self-perception of aging (SPA)] were found to be related to better health behaviours over two decades” (833). Again, older people who go through life normally will crave the stereotypes on ageing because younger people who are on the outside looking in will pick up on a certain vibe from the older adults and see that they are comfortable in their skin. The younger people will get to understand that ageing is not so bad after all. They will see that they should respect the elderly because getting older is part of wisdom and power, and these young people should take note of that so they can one day live to see 65 to 85. Seeing the way that older people are living longer and carrying themselves will make the young people think to themselves that this is the way ageing should be, and if ageing looks like this then there is no doubt in their minds that it would not be an issue for them to go through this journey. They note how healthy living through
Ageism as defined by Merriam-Webster (2016), “prejudice or discrimination against a particular age-group and especially the elderly”. A study conducted by Nelson (2016), studied the effect of ageism and negative stereotypes which older adults
The sociological aspects of aging are defined by the activities an individual engages in while transitioning to old age. To age well, a person needs to take part in social activities that deal with family or the community. For instance, joining a members club or offering to volunteer in certain activities aid in ageing well. It is, however, important to note that social perspectives of aging are diverse across different cultures. For instance, a 40-year-old individual in the United States may not have similar ageing aspects as a person living in Africa or parts of Europe. Gerontologists have on many occasions provided a number of reasons to explain the essence of aging, yet such perspectives can comprehensively be understood
Gerontology is the study of the social, psychological, cognitive, and biological aspects of aging in humans. I have come to understand through this course that the study of gerontology includes various tributary investigators and practitioners within the fields of biology, sociology, psychiatry, public health, political science, economics, pharmacy, anthropology, in addition. They contribute information and knowledge that would enable the society to effective, envision, plan, care for and empower the aging population. Additionally, I have come to understand and appreciate the major myths and stereotypes associated with aging.
Knowing and having an understanding of what ageing stands for, remains an important step, growing-up or growing older and ageism are theories about older individuals. Ageism includes preconceptions that elderly are categorized for their age and perceived as weak, and incapable of performing tasks and needy of others (Quadagno, 2014). Another view about elderly individuals is the way they are looked down on by the younger society, i.e. elderly are not as intelligent as their younger competitive working force. People fear what they do not know and do not understand. Age transpires as something that must be lived through in order to understand what ageing means; looking back on one’s life and seeing accomplishments made,