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Aging and the Elderly Macionis, Sociology, Chapter Fifteen.

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Presentation on theme: "Aging and the Elderly Macionis, Sociology, Chapter Fifteen."— Presentation transcript:

1 Aging and the Elderly Macionis, Sociology, Chapter Fifteen

2 2 Graying of United States Seniors now 12.4 percent of the populationSeniors now 12.4 percent of the population Soon, baby boomers (born after WWII-mid-60’s) will number 75 millionSoon, baby boomers (born after WWII-mid-60’s) will number 75 million The elderly populations of rich nations is increasing most rapidlyThe elderly populations of rich nations is increasing most rapidly By 2030By 2030 –20 percent will be over age 65 –About half the population will be over the age of 40

3 3 Aging Population Increase Birth rate: going down –Decreased infant mortality –Children are a major expense –Advances in birth control Life expectancy: going up –Improved housing, nutrition and increased wealth Baby Boomer reaching old age –Medical advances –Almost eliminated infectious diseases –Treat cancer and heart disease

4 4 Sociological Impact Cultural change –Elderly more visible “Young-old” and “old-old” –Younger elderly Independent with good health and financial security –Older elderly past age 75 Dependent on others –Over age 85 fastest growing segment Women outnumber men

5 5 Biological Changes Gerontology –Study of aging and the elderly –Attitude toward aging depends on societal values –In America, a dim view of such changes is taken Biological and physical changes –Predictable graying of hair, wrinkles, loss of height and weight, decline in strength and vitality and sensory changes –Odds of chronic illnesses and life-threatening conditions rise steadily Reality we overestimate physical problems –A majority of those over 65 report good health –“Well-to-do” people have it better since they can afford preventive care

6 6 Transitions and Challenges of Aging Finding meaning Social isolation Retirement Aging and poverty Care giving Ageism The elderly: a minority?

7 7 Table 15-1 Living Arrangements of the Elderly, 2007

8 8 Social Isolation Isolation is common among elderly Retirement, limited mobility, and negative stereotypes close off sources of social interaction Death of significant others: Three-fourths cite loneliness as serious problem Older people value independence Family members are major source of social support. Daughters more than sons

9 9 Retirement Work is an important part of personal identity To minimize loss of prestige –New activities and interests –Volunteer work can fill time voids –Part-time work can offer additional monies Staged retirement –Working at a reduced level When or whether we retire –83% of men and 91% of women are no longer in the labor force at age 65 in the united states

10 10 Poverty Home mortgage is usually paid off, some costs rise for the elderly –Medical care, household help and utilities Social security is the major source of income –Those elderly who fall below the poverty line at age 65 equals 9.8% of U.S. Population –Median individual income for women is $11,789 and men $20,527

11 11 Care Giving 80% of caregivers are family members, daughters make up 75% –Married, with children and a job Informal and unpaid care provided to a dependent person by family members, other relatives, or friends Elder abuse

12 12 Ageism Prejudice and discrimination Blatant ageism –Deny people due to age Subtle ageism –Ways which culture perpetuates stereotypes of the elderly. Negative images and jokes Should the elderly be given “minority group” status?

13 13 Theoretical Perspective Structural-functionalism –Disengagement theory Society enhances its orderly operation by disengaging people from positions of responsibility as they reach old age Symbolic interaction –Activity theory A high level of activity enhances personal satisfaction in old age Social conflict –Inequality based on age categories Different opportunities and access to social resources, creating a system of age stratification

14 14 Death and Dying Historical patterns of death Modern separation of life and death Ethical issues: confronting death –Death occurs when an irreversible state takes place –Right to die debate Living wills Euthanasia

15 15 The Future Increasing numbers –By 2050, more elderly than people in the U.S.A. In 1900 Need to review support services for the elderly –Availability and sufficiency The elderly should experience a better quality of life –Medical technology –Financial strength Changes in how death is viewed –Death will again become a natural part of the life cycle – no longer social taboo

16 16 "Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. The courage to continue is what counts." Winston Churchill


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