Age by eR6NNeiq


									Social Problems
    Aging and Ageism
The Social problem of Ageism
Concept of the Life Course
   A patterned sequence of experiences
    influenced by aspects of age such as
    maturity, decline, generation, survival, and
    the life cycle
   There are expected and experienced life
    courses in every society
   We follow known age related patterns
   May be a gap between the two > can be
    cause of distress or disappointment
Problems Over the Life Course
The Life Course…

1. Childhood:
   Poor children have more problems
   Increased obesity among all children

2. Adolescence:
   Early teens cannot do legally what later teens can
   Poor teens less likely to have a job or be in school
   Young people are staying at home much longer
    delaying the next stage
Problems (cont.)
3. Young Adulthood
 Traditionally the time to get established, but
  now is more difficult, if not postponed

4. Middle Age
 Income and prestige are at the peak, but
  signs of physical aging begin, e.g., wrinkles,
  stiffness, decline of senses, etc.
 This is the “sandwich generation”
 Problems (cont.)
5. Late Maturity and Old Age
 Older people are an increasing percentage of the
 Young-old (65-74 yrs) are very active

 Middle-old (75-84 yrs)

 Old-old (85+ yrs)
     Although majority not lonely, living in an institution, or poor, a
      significant number are experiencing problems
     In U.S. in 2005, 70,000 centenarians (Anguera, 2005)
     Canada: 4,600 in 2007
Suicide and the Life Course
    Around the world older people have a much
       higher suicide rate than do younger people
    In Canada:
     Men: rates rise from teen years, decline to
       later maturity, and rise a little for 75+ yrs
     Women: have lower rates with a high point at
       45-59 yrs
     While there is a gender difference, and
       suicide does tend to increase for elderly
       men, no age seems significantly more
Suicide by Age…
(Kendall et al. 2008)
Attitudes toward Aging
   Many other cultures revere the elderly, but
    Western culture worships youth
   Eg. What were the results of your IAT??
   Our social institutions, especially the media,
    help to create negative stereotypes toward
    aging and the aged
   This is ageism
   Ageism negatively affects those who are
    discriminated against
Changing the Stereotype:
The Zimmers
   The Zimmers and My Generation
   See also:
Some “Zimmer Facts”…

“* In 2000, there were 600 million people aged 60
and over; there will be 1.2 billion by 2025 and 2
billion by 2050.
* Today, about two thirds of all older people are
living in the developing world; by 2025, it will be
* In the developed world, the very old (age 80+) is
the fastest growing population group.
* Women outlive men in virtually all societies;
consequently in very old age, the ratio of
women/men is 2:1.”
Ageism as a Social Problem
   Ageism: prejudice and discrimination against
    people on the basis of age

   Chronological Age: based on date of birth

   Functional Age: observable individual
    attributes such as physical appearance,
    mobility, strength, mental capacity, etc. used
    to assign people to age categories
Age-Based Stereotypes*

   Young children: “rug rats”
   Old people: “greedy geezers”
   Inverted U curve: older and younger are rated lower
    in status than younger and middle-aged adults
   *For more on age based stereotypes of the elderly,
    especially in media, see “Attacking Ageism in
    Advertising” by Robert Wood at
   *Or watch: “Images Of Aging: Stereotypes And
    Ageism In Society” (2005) with Joaquin Anguera,
    Ph.D., Professor, Department of Gerontology at San
    Diego State University (You can also find it by
    searching for “Successful Aging: Images of Aging” on
    Google Video)
Societal Examples of Ageism
   Lack of focus on elder issues
   Invisibility of older members of society
   Elder products, including media articles
    relegated to “specialty sections”
   Paternalistic treatment of the elderly
   Focus on shortcomings, illness rather than
    stregths and contributions of the elderly
   (from Anguera, 2005)
Consequences of Ageism
   Stereotypes become self-fulfilling prophecy
       (one experiment shows that being treated in stereotypical
        manner can affect physical health and appearance as well
        as psychological well being of elderly)
   Forced to conform to stereotypes
   Loss of freedom and efficacy in many areas leads to
    more rapid aging
   Lowered self esteem and personal happiness
   Exclusion from normal social interaction and social
    relationships leads to loss of essential social support
Age Stratification Theory
Age Stratification: the inequalities, differences,
  segregation between age groups.
 Focus on the role of social structures in the process
  of aging and the stratification of people by age.
 Also analyzes the movement of age cohorts over
  the life cycle
 Canada has an aging population

 Factors related to an aging population:
     emigration of young people
     an influx of seniors
     low birth rates
Problems Related to Age
   Workplace discrimination: younger workers are
   Retirement:
       Debate – should there be a mandatory retirement age?
       No longer in Ontario and some other provinces
       But many people, e.g., small business owners, women
        working part-time, may not have pensions
Are There Economic Problems
Related to Aging Population?
   Traditional thinking:
       societies with a high proportion of very old people
        face a special problem because the elderly
        consume a high proportion of the national
        economy in the form of supports
   However, new research and thinking
    contradicts this traditional thought:
       Ageing and elderly people may be a social
        resource rather than a drain…
He ain't heavy, he's my boomer
(Andrew Chung, The Toronto Star, May 27, 2007)
   “…A new international study forcefully argues
    against this idea and tries to put the lie to some of
    the many doomsday scenarios that have floated
    around for the last 20 years about our aging
    populace. In fact, there is a growing line of defence
    around the seniors and the almost-seniors, which
    regards as shaky the desperate claims of future tax
    bills spiking to meet their public spending and health
    care requirements…”
   Read the full article at:
Older workers a drain? Not a
chance, study finds
(Virginia Galt, Globe and Mail May 23, 2007)

   “Meet the new tax gusher: the golden-age
    employee. Working Canadians between the ages of
    60 and 79 contribute more than $2.2-billion each
    year in tax payments on employment income - and
    there is every indication that the populous baby
    boom generation coming up behind them intends to
    stay even more connected to work, HSBC Bank
    Canada said yesterday in issuing the results of a
    global survey conducted by Oxford University's
    Institute of Ageing…”
       Source:
Social Problems Related to Aging
   The elderly in Canada are less destitute than
    those in other countries, but many continue to
    face economic strain
   Feminization of aging: older women tend to
    have fewer resources
   Family Problems and Social Isolation:
       Many seniors live alone
       Suffer from loneliness, boredom
       Problem of the “tea-and-toasters”
       But many, especially women, have networks of
        family and friends
Social (cont.)
   During downturns in the economy, employers
    often target elderly workers in order to cut
   Elderly people often face job discrimination as
    they are still expected to retire at age 65
   For instance, a recent article in the Globe and
    Mail refers to older workers as “a pain”:
       Baby Boomers a pain to work with, say young'uns
        (by Virginia Galt, Globe and Mail,
Social (cont.)
   Victimization: on the whole, although seniors are less
    likely to be victims of crime, scams involving elderly
    people and elder abuse are often in the news.
   An example, from the Globe and Mail:
       “Teen arrested in beating of 97-year-old (by Armina
        Ligaya, May 24, 2007) Burnaby RCMP have arrested an 18-
        year-old man in connection with the home invasion and
        assault of a 97-year-old woman who lived alone….”
   Incidents like the one above lead to fear,
    powerlessness and a loss of sense of control
Health Problems Related to Aging

   Physical and mental abilities tend to deteriorate
   Transition to elderly status often a difficult one
       Can result in depression leading to further problems
   Elder abuse is another concern
       Physical, sexual, emotional and/or psychological
        abuse have become social problems that endanger
        the health of the elderly
   Self-neglect and a fear of being victimized are
    other notable problems
Use of Health Care
    Most seniors living at home report good
    Seniors account for one-third of health
     care spending in Canada, but they are
     not likely to bankrupt the system
    Again, see “He ain't heavy, he's my
     boomer” by Andrew Chung at
Housing Patterns and Long-Term-
Care Facilities
    Maintaining one’s home is increasingly costly,
     especially for single or widowed seniors
    7% of seniors live in institutions
    Some long-term-care facilities are excellent,
     but some depersonalize individuals
    Some institutions may be sub-standard
    Increasing reports of elder abuse in
Social Support for Aging and
Elderly People
   Higher life satisfaction for the elderly linked to
    better health
   Factors related to life satisfaction:
       Social and family support
       Marital status
       High levels of religious activity
Sociological Perspectives
Disengagement Theory:

   Older people want to be released from social
   Permits transfer of responsibilities to the next
   Critique: Many older people disengaged because of
    rules, not by choice. The consequence is that they
    are removed from positions of power and influence.
    Many elderly wish to and do continue to work in paid
    and volunteer jobs.
Perspectives (cont.)


   Conflict theorists argue that ageism is a form
    of inequality plied by the younger majority to
    further their own interests
   We are losing a valued resource by
    marginalizing the elderly
Perspectives (cont.)
   symbolic interactionists focus on how socially
    constructed definitions of age and aging affect a
    person's experience of growing old

Activity Theory:
 Older people who are active are happier and better
  adjusted, and older people find meaningful
  substitutes for previous roles
 Critique: Older may not wish or be able to maintain
  active lifestyles
Perspectives (cont.)
Senior women have
 Much lower incomes than senior men
       Should improve with women in the labour force
   More disability than senior men
   Feminist theories stress that aging has more
    negative consequences for women than it
    does for men
Improving Quality of Life…
   Tepperman et al. suggest:
       Use of the telephone and new technology like the
        Internet as a means of delivering some of the needed
       Teaching people to help themselves by learning how
        to age effectively through anticipatory socialization
       Lobbying, to increase public awareness of their
        special circumstances
       Pressing government for improvements to current
        standard of living.
       Calling for government legislation aimed at shaping
        the physical environment in a way that will increase
        the independence and mobility of elderly people.

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