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Sociological Theories of Aging Lecture 7 – Chapter 9 There are many ways to grow old… Some are better than others.

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Presentation on theme: "Sociological Theories of Aging Lecture 7 – Chapter 9 There are many ways to grow old… Some are better than others."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sociological Theories of Aging Lecture 7 – Chapter 9 There are many ways to grow old… Some are better than others

2 Top Grade: Ms. Granados = = 100!!!! 2 nd Ms. Langeliers = = 98 3 rd Ms. Lee & Mr. Scott = = st Exam = Mean Score = 70+3 Exam 2 = !!!! Good Job Class!!!! Let’s shoot for higher on Exam 3

3 Sociological Theories:  the roles and social habits of individuals in society Explanation of the changes in social relationships that occurs in late adulthood Optimal way for older adults to relate to their environment What determines successful aging

4 Role Theory (Cottrell, 1942) Individuals play variety of social roles in their lifetimes … how many roles do you have? Such roles identify and describe a person as a social being and are the basis of self-concept How well individuals adjust to aging is assumed to depend on how well they accept the role changes typical of later years Successful Aging

5 Roles change during the life span Successful aging depends on how well individuals accept changing roles Age Norms: Beliefs that a person “ought to act a certain way” Formally Expressed Informally Expressed Role Theory Policy, laws, etc. Social groups Age Grading: Using age as a criterion to decide what role is appropriate

6 Normative Timetables “All of us carry around a system of temporal reckoning” Role Theory Every society conveys age norms  individuals learn to perform new roles, adjust to changing roles, relinquish old ones, and thereby become integrated into society

7 18 24 F M Complete high school Begin college Marriage First Child Career Building Child Rearing Children leave home Grandparenthood Retirement Normative Timetable for Major Roles: A1 = any age A2 = 18 & up A3 = over 16 A4 = any age A1 = 24 & up A2 = 18 & up A3 = 24 A4 = 23 & up A1 = A2 = A3 = 24 A4 = 20-30’s A1 = any age A2 = 70 A3 = 18+ A4 = any age

8 Feb. 20, 2006 Janice Wulf 62-year-old great-grandmother from Redding, CA gave birth to a 6 lb baby boy grandmother to 20 and the great-grandmother of 3

9 Basic Roles (dependence) Child Friend Student Worker Spouse Parent Grandparent (dependence) Older adults must deal with role losses; these can lead to an erosion of social identity and self-esteem

10 Types of Social Structures Age differentiatedAge Integrated Source: Riley, M.W. & Riley, J.W. 2000: Age Integration: Conceptual and Historical Background. The Gerontologist, 40, Leisure Work Education Old Age Middle Young EducationWorkLeisure

11 New Roles for Women in Retirement Years Worker Financial Planner

12 Activity Theory Havighurst & Colleagues, 1963 The more activity older adults engage in, the greater the life satisfaction. Self concept is related to roles then previous roles must be replaced with new ones to remain active Older adults deny the existence of old age – fight the aging process

13 Statistics for the increase come from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Plastic surgeon Dr. Sheldon Sevinor specializes in nipping and tucking older adults. recovery took almost three weeks. But she says she'd do it all again -- in a heartbeat. "I'd say to everyone -- go for it. Anyone who wants it, you go for it. It's like traveling. You do it as long as you're able." surgical techniques modified face-lift/thinning hair: the incisions placed to better camouflage the scars may choose to have earlobes reduced at the same time Longer recovery tummy tucks- elasticity issues eye lid – less tissue removal, dry eye Gladie Sargeant eye-lift, a face-lift, a nose job, and a chemical peel "I was so excited I couldn't wait to do it. As they were wheeling me down to the O.R. I said to myself, 'Boy this is the greatest adventure of my life.'" 65 yrs & older 121,000 in 1997 more than 425,000 in 2001

14 Activity Theory of Aging Attempted to answer how older adults adjust to age-related changes, such as retirement, poor health, and role loss….step further then role theory Based on Robert Havighurst’s analyses of the Kansas City Studies of Adult Life (1963, 1968)

15 June 13, 2005 (Scotland) Fauja Singh oldest ever marathon relay team five-man team named “Sikhs in the City” combined age of 397 years came in 730th of the 912 teams (4hr 16min 24sec) World’s Oldest Marathoner, 94, Leads Team of Seniors in Scotland

16 The 60+ Fight Song Tune: The Sheik CSU we’re here for you; To help with what you do. Doré, the gym, the rose; The birds, the crowds, who knows? Having fun, we learn, we shine; We sing, we laugh, we dine. Despite the freeze, the fry, We’re young until we die. (second-half music, Gilbert & Sullivan style) We’re not idle conversation, Nor afraid of perspiration; Education, recreation, in this section Of the nation. Sixty-plus’ll cut the mustard, And we’re never, ever flustered. We’re young until we die!! founded in 1986 partnership between the university & community of retired persons Member-motivated & member governed Purpose: provide personal enrichment, educational opportunities, volunteer challenges, and social activities in a campus environment utilizing the resources of the university and experience of its members. There are no educational requirements to join and participation in club activities is voluntary. The interest groups meet at various locations and different times of the month throughout the academic year. CSUB’s 60+ Club

17 Aug. 30, 2004 George Brunstad oldest person to swim the English Channel raised $11,000 for an orphanage in Haiti completed the 21 mi. in 15 hrs and 59 min George Brunstad Conquers English Channel at 70

18 The Meaning of Activity Everyone looks for meaning in life. Activities that people do are made meaningful based upon their values and cultural backgrounds. The environment/context in which an activity takes place also adds meaning to the activity in question.

19 The Meaning of Activity Outcomes of engaging in activity also impact meaning – for example: –Satisfaction of participant –Increased Self-esteem –Pragmatic (getting the job done) –Altruistic goal met

20 Activity Theory the well-adjusted older adult  takes on larger #’s and variety of productive roles through activities in voluntary work, churches, leisure organizations The more active, the greater life satisfaction, positive self-concept, and adjustment in late-life

21 Empirical Support Positive Correlation between activity & life satisfaction (LS) (Lemon et al., 1972: just activity with friends & Knapps et al., 1977: # of hrs spent with friends & LS) Negative Correlation between activity & life satisfaction… (Knapps et al., 1977: formal activity)

22 Empirical Evidence Against Activity Theory of Aging Melillo, K.D. (1980). Informal activity involvement and the perceived rate of time passage for an older institutionalized population, Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 6(7),

23 Melillo (1980) Hypothesis: positive relationship between # of hrs of informal activity involvement and the perception of time passing swiftly among an older institutionalized population. Rationale: Involvement in meaningful informal activity (social interaction with relatives/friends/neighbors) is important for protecting an older adult’s individual sense of well- being and can be measured using the perception of time passing swiftly

24 Melillo (1980) interviews with 30 residents of 200-bed, non-profit NH. Melillo (1980) Results: failed to support the hypothesis of a swifter perceived rate of time passage for institutionalized subjects involved in planned activity involvement of an informal nature

25 Melillo (1980) What happen? Implications for institutionalized Captive Audience…Informal activity instigated by staff, family, or peer insistence…not something they really wanted to so…conflict may present itself in a slower perceived rate of time passage Allowing individual choices related to all aspects of health care essential, including activity programs

26 Differences in personality Differences in physical function just want to do nothing! what’s the major problem with activity theory? Control over social situation Socioeconomic effects Cultural effects

27 Withdrawal from society Decreased interaction Disengagement Theory Cummings & Henry, 1961 older adults withdraw from participation in activity elders disengage emotionally from others and from events

28 Disengagement Theory “aging is an inevitable, mutual withdrawal or disengagement, resulting in decreased interaction between the aging person and others in the social system he/she belongs to.” beneficial for both the aging individual and society that such disengagement takes place in order to minimize the social disruption caused at an aging person's eventual death

29 Disengagement Theory Older people decrease their activity levels, seek more passive roles, interact less frequently with others, and become increasingly preoccupied with their inner lives; thus, disengagement viewed as adaptive behavior

30 Disengagement Theory - positives People can become more reflective about their lives People can become less constrained by social roles People become more discerning about relationships, which can help them adjust to increasing frequency of serious illness and death among their peers

31 Carl Gustav Jung (1875 – 1961) Swiss Psychiatrist extroverted and introverted personality, archetypes, and the collective unconscious Older persons have a duty and a necessity to devote serious attention to themselves  find meaning in inner exploration and the afterlife “ After having lavished its light upon the world the sun withdraws its rays in order to illuminate itself”

32 Problems Disengagement Theory Supports Ageist attitudes towards older adults Little empirical support (physical & social stress  disengage) Doesn’t take into account changing definitions “aging” Doesn’t take into account variation in personalities

33 Continuity Theory Atchley, 1989 Shortcomings with other theories led to… Substitutes similar roles for lost ones Continue to maintain similar adaptation strategies As we age we become more of what we were Past HX counts - basic personality, attitudes, and behaviors remain constant throughout the life span Each person provides their own standard for successful aging

34 Continuity Theory Elders attempt to continue with important activities Elders perceive activities as continuous Successful aging is characterized by how much continuity the elder has with activities 3 general categories of continuity (Atchley, 1989): 1.“Too little” : unpredictable 2.“Optimum” : pace of change is consistent with personal preferences & social demands …in line with capacity to cope with change 3. “Too much” : too predictable

35 Continuity Theory (Atchley)… Intuitive appeal… Problems with Theory???? Differences in personality Differences in physical function just want to do nothing! Control over social situation Socioeconomic effects Cultural effects

36 Subculture of Aging (Rose, 1965) A theoretical perspective based on the belief that people maintain their self-concepts and social identities through their membership in a defined group (subculture) Two significant consequences: Identification of themselves as old/distant from rest of youth-oriented society Growing group consciousness that may create possibility of political influence and social action

37 Examples of Subcultures of Aging Maggie Kuhn, activist Gray Panthers in 1970 response to her forced retirement at age 65 worked for social and economic justice

38 35 million members AARP is the leading nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization age 50 and over in the US informs members and the public on issues important to this age group Advocating on legislative, consumer and legal issues Promoting community service Offering a wide range of special products and services to members Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus retired high school principal founded AARP in 1958 need of retired teachers for health insurance. Vision "A society in which everyone ages with dignity and purpose and in which AARP helps people fulfill their goals and dreams." Mission "AARP is dedicated to enhancing quality of life for all as we age. We lead positive social change and deliver value to members through information, advocacy and service."

39 "The Red Hat Society began as a result of a few women deciding to greet middle age with verve, humor and elan. We believe silliness is the comedy relief of life, and since we are all in it together, we might as well join red-gloved hands and go for the gusto together. Underneath the frivolity, we share a bond of affection, forged by common life experiences and a genuine enthusiasm for wherever life takes us next." must be a woman of 50 or over (or may be a Pink Hatter under 50) You must attend functions in full regalia (red hat, purple outfit, 50 and over, pink hat lavender outfit under 50) NOT wear purple/red until THE BIRTHDAY “This adds an element of fun to aging, which we think is invaluable to women in our society who have learned to dread aging and avoid it at all costs. We believe that aging should be something anticipated with excitement, not something to dread.”


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