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Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.

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Presentation on theme: "Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved."— Presentation transcript:

1 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

2 Chapter 5: Aging: Social Problems of Growing Old

3 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. Demographics Ageism Prejudice and discrimination based solely on age U.S. Census Bureau defines elderly population as 65 and older

4 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. Continued U.S. Census Bureau projections: Nation will be more racially and ethnically diverse, as well as much older, by the mid-21st century 2030 Baby boomers (babies born from approximately 1946 to 1964) are 65 or older, nearly one in five U.S. residents will be considered elderly This age group will increase to 88.5 million in 2050, more than doubling since 2008 (38.7 million) 85-and-older population will more than triple from 5.4 million to 19 million between 2008 and 2050

5 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. Continued Why the big changes? People are living longer Sociologists generally divide elderly into different categories: The “young old” and the “old old” “Young old” range in age from 65 to 75 Generally healthy and comprise an active group of senior citizens Tend to have fewer social problems “Old old” are over age of 75 Tend to have more problems and need more social support

6 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

7 Ageism Ageism likely to become more prevalent due to growing population of older individuals David Certner, Legislative Policy Director for the American Association of Retired Persons People are healthier, living longer, and have more economic reasons to stay in workforce On employment side, greater demand for experienced (older) workers America values youth

8 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. International Life Expectancy Common belief is that medical advances have increased life expectancy Studies show medical science accounts for only 3% of increase in life expectancy from 1900 to 1970 Thomas McKeown Increase in life expectancy due to two factors: Improvements in standard of living Improvements in hygiene Life expectancy remains low in non-industrialized nations

9 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. Problems Face an Aging Population

10 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. Current Influences on Ageism Media – especially TV – has huge impact on spread of ageism Older generation often depicted as hunched- over and wrinkled, with gray hair and liver spots Depictions reinforce negative stereotypes that lead to ageism and distort perceptions of growing older

11 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. The History of Ageism Real problem of aging rooted in history Thomas R. Cole The Journey of Life “Revolt against hierarchical authority and the rise of Victorian morality” cultivated negative view of aging Ageism is product of mid-19th century health reformers who believed individuals were healthy by nature and disease caused by some offense of natural law This philosophy “harbored evasive and hostile attitudes about the realities of aging”

12 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. Income and Poverty As we age, more difficult to work and ability for self-support through income decreases One in ten seniors currently lives in poverty Social Security is one of main reasons why percentage is low as it is 2007, 16.1% of elderly lived at 125% of poverty threshold Just barely above poverty line Age stratification is problem for society with increasing number of elderly members

13 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

14 Safety and Security Problem related to aging is elder abuse Comes in many forms: Physical Sexual Psychological Financial Neglect Abandonment – desertion Exact number of elder abuse incidents unknown because many cases unreported No federal guidelines for structuring elder abuse laws, and only some states mandate reporting procedures

15 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. Housing and Residential Care Most seniors decide to stay in their own homes “Aging in Place” Research suggests seniors not ready to be “put out to pasture” because they’ve gotten old At times, elderly cannot take care of themselves at home Other residential options exist to support elderly who require more assistance

16 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. Continued Senior Care: Behind Closed Doors Quality of care varies depending on who funds the nursing home (Non-profit facilities) state run nursing homes (For-profit facilities) private insurers or resident funded State-funded homes provide poorer care than those that are privately funded Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) Highlighted abuse and neglect of residents in nursing homes across United States 25% of nursing homes cited for quality problems that would harm residents or put them at risk of death Follow-up inspections showed nearly half of homes did not make efforts to improve

17 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

18 Special Problems for the Elderly Home-Health Care Medical care provided for patients who cannot leave their homes but have possibility of improving Hospice Care Short-term aid only available to patients with six months or less to live Does not take measures to prolong life nor does it try to prematurely end a person’s life

19 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. Functionalism: Disengagement Theory Disengagement Theory Suggests that reduced interaction between elderly persons and other members of society is unavoidable, mutual, and acceptable Also suggests that remaining members of society are freed from having to see painful side of aging, death, and dysfunction To avoid disrupting the social system, society disengages aging individuals Makes room for younger people to fill their roles

20 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. Continued By disengaging the elderly, society can move forward Process is desirable for the young and for aging Allows older individuals to prepare themselves for the end of their lives Frees them from the expectations of their previous life Critics of disengagement theory Dispute process is functional Do all seniors willingly retire, or are some “forced out” Does society pay the cost of losing their wisdom

21 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. Symbolic Interactionism: Activity Theory Each individual experience process of aging differently Depending on affect of environment and individual relationships Sociologist Charles H. Cooley People develop a sense of “self” through personal interactions with others Social interaction is still important for seniors

22 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. Continued Successful aging is a “multifaceted phenomenon that encompasses not only health but also psychological wellbeing, role integration, and social engagement”. Activity Theory States that life satisfaction depends on maintaining societal involvement by developing new interests, hobbies, roles, and relationships Seniors still engaged in some form of work are happiest and have greatest expressed life satisfaction

23 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. Continued Growing old is difficult transition for many seniors Could cause depression or dissatisfaction in life Robert Atchley Continuity Theory Older people seek out familiar areas of their lives and strive to keep those constant as they age Becomes a strategy for adaptation to the challenges of growing old Research suggests spirituality serves to help people adapt and cope with problems of aging

24 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. Conflict Theory Conflict theory suggests those with power use it to their advantage, exploiting those with few options Companies Pay close to minimum wage will hire retirees because they can pay them low wages and receive work experience of a person who has long history of maintaining a job Situations like these potentially exploit the elderly This form of ageism penalizes the old and desperate

25 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. Continued Retirement allows companies to save money by replacing older, more expensive workers with a younger, cheaper workforce Melissa Fodor “When people work out of desperation and not choice, it carries little dignity.”

26 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. Specific Problems of Aging Social Security Government-run social insurance program paid to retired workers Government mandates Social Security, and American workforce funds it through payroll taxes With large number of workers preparing for retirement, question of system’s lack of sustainability Without major changes to system, it will no longer be able to pay benefits in full by the year 2037 Administration warns citizens to save for retirement through other avenues as well

27 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. Continued Medicare Government-run social insurance program that provides health coverage for people 65 and older Similar to Social Security, projections of continuing coverage for future generations look problematic Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees Problems facing Medicare are actually more severe than those of Social Security because of the rising costs of medical care

28 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. Continued Death and Dying Most wish death to be quick, peaceful, and free of pain Topic of worldwide debate centers on physician-assisted suicide (PAS) and euthanasia PAS Terminally ill receive prescriptions for self- administered lethal medications from physicians Euthanasia divided into two subgroups Passive, or allowing a person to die Active, or doing something to assist suicide Taking away a patient’s life-sustaining medication Physician directly administers a lethal medication

29 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. Euthanasia in Action Maurice A. M. de Wachter, Director of Maastricht Institute for Bioethics Although active euthanasia technically illegal in Netherlands, physicians are protected but adhere to three conditions: Voluntariness: The patient’s request must be persistent, conscious, and freely made Unbearable suffering: The patient’s suffering cannot be relieved by any other means Consultation: Attending physician must consult with a colleague regarding patient’s condition, genuineness, and appropriateness of request for euthanasia

30 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. Death With Dignity Active euthanasia illegal in the US for people 1997, Oregon Death with Dignity Act Terminally ill patients may seek physician- assisted suicide Patients can voluntarily self-administer a lethal drug prescribed by their physician State of Washington passed similar law in November 2008

31 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved. Continued Few physicians willing to follow through with procedure Universal stigma attached to death and dying weighs heavily on society today Laws such as Death with Dignity are slow to be legislated 2005 opinion poll of 1,010 U.S. adults,79% surveyed in favor of law that would “allow doctors to comply with the wishes of a dying patient in severe distress who asks to have his or her life ended”


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