Presentation on theme: "Health, Ageing and the Life Course Chapter 11. Main points Old age and ill health are not synonymous, with the majority of older people living fit, healthy."— Presentation transcript:
Main points Old age and ill health are not synonymous, with the majority of older people living fit, healthy and active lives. Older people may be subject to ageist stereotyping and this can impact on identity and sense of self. It is important to understand ageing as taking place in biographical and historical time. Experiences across the life course strongly influence the health of older people.
An overview of ageing Ageing is not a simple biological process. Ageing emerges out of the interplay of society, biology and psychology. Experiences and perceptions of ageing are mediated by society and culture. Contemporary western society can offer highly negative images of older age.
Ageism Bytheway and Johnson (1990) offer an interrelated two-part definition of ageism: A set of beliefs originating in biological variation related to the ageing process …The actions of corporate bodies and their agents and the resulting views of ordinary people.
Theories of ageing (a) Disengagement theory: a functionalist theory which argues that older people relinquish their roles as they go through life so as to minimise social disruption on their retirement and eventual death. Dependency theory: focuses on the economic restriction and lack of access to social and cultural resources that face older people.
Theories of ageing (b) Third Age Theory: states that old age can be a golden age, full of self-realisation, personal growth and the fulfilling of lifetime ambitions. The Third Age is made possible by older people having higher disposable incomes and access to consumer culture.
Life cycle or life course? Life cycle implies a static set of phases that are passed through by everyone and that are outside their control. Life course implies a fluid approach to passing through life where the individual has more agency to act and do as they want.
Health and the life course Older peoples health is affected by how the following affect their life course. Historical time: the circumstances in which they lived and the attitudes they hold; Biographical time: the events and experiences that shaped their particular life. Good and bad experiences are recorded on the body.
Painful and disabled joints Normal part of biography for older people. As a consequence of old age and/ or personal history. Aspiration to positive ageing result in playing down of symptoms. (Sanders et al. 2002)
Dementia and social death The body without the self Clinically/ biologically defined life but a socially accepted death An end of narrative? Three groups: –Lengthy fatal illness –Deeper old age –Loss of personhood (Sweeting and Gilhooly 1997)
Dementia and social death Responses of carers to social death: –Accepting but not behaving –Accepting and behaving –Not accepting and not behaving An increasing trend?