Old Age in Modern Society: A textbook of social gerontology by Christina R. Victor

By Christina R. Victor

Old age is part of the lifecycle approximately which there are many myths and stereotypes. to provide an overstatement of in general held ideals, the previous are portrayed as based members, characterised via an absence of social autonomy, unloved and missed through either their rapid friends and family; and posing a danger to the dwelling criteria of more youthful age teams by way of being a 'burden' that consumes with no generating. Older everyone is perceived as a unmarried homogeneous staff, and the test of getting old characterised as being an identical for all contributors, without reference to the variety in their situations earlier than the onset of previous age. during this booklet, specific statistical fabric is used to painting the circum­ stances of older humans in smooth society in an try and evaluation the appropriateness (or differently) of the foremost stereotypes of later lifestyles. This quantity doesn't deal with growing old from a mental or micro-social in keeping with­ spective. particularly, we don't discover significant concerns with regards to previous age. particularly we suppose that, from the large choice of surveys taken with the aged, we will supply a context during which person eld­ erly humans should be studied from extra anthropological or biographical perspectives.

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The third, and more recent, approach to the definition of old age has been via the development of a political economy of old age. This approach rejects the individualistic perspective to the study of ageing and seeks to examine the social construction of old age and dependency within the wider arenas of the economic and political structures and interests of society. This approach considers that the experience of ageing and later life can best be understood by looking at the position of the elderly in relation to the labour market and the relationships and social structures that this produces.

Berger and Luckmann (1967) argue that individuals experience society as both objective and subjective reality. In the process of social interaction, the individual is both an actor and a reactor. Through the communication of symbols individuals learn the values and meanings of their culture and therefore ways of acting from others. Essential to the interactionist perspective is the view that individuals construct realities or social worlds in a process of interaction with others. Meanings are socially defined but the social actor defines the social world as well as being defined by it.

Older persons should be rated in terms of a middle-age set of values and ageing is a continuous struggle to remain middle-aged. According to exponents of this view, any behaviour exhibited by older people that would not be appropriate for the middle-aged should be considered as maladjustment. Lemon, Bengtson and Peterson (1972) isolate the two central assumptions of activity theory. 1. 2 Morale and life satisfaction are related to social integration and high involvement with social networks. Role losses such as widowhood or retirement are inversely correlated with life satisfaction.

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