Dying Alone Msl nts
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DYING ALONE: The Social Production of Urban Isolation
- Examination of how age, poverty and urban isolation led to an excess of death among the elderly
during the July 1995v Chicago Heat wave...
x Social isolation resulted in an increased likelihood of death
x Process of dying is collective, and should be shared with loved ones
o Therefore dying alone = a symbol of social abandonment and failure
Living Alone: residing without other people in the household
Being isolated: having limited social ties
Being reclusive: largely confining oneself to ones household
Being lonely: the subjective state of feeling alone
Four things add to an increase of socially isolated people...
1. Ageing of urban populations especially Blacks, Latinos and Asians
x Elderly populations are most likely to be isolated from society
x They have limited mobility that makes it harder for them to get around and make social
2. Fear of Crime stemming from the actual and perceived violence of everyday life
x People are more afraid of going out (especially the ones in poor neighbourhoods)
because they see witness crime and hear about it in the news
x Elderly feel they are the most targeted by criminals because they move slow and cant
defend themselves as easily
3. Degradation and Fortification of public spaces in poor urban areas
x Seniors have no place to go and meet other seniors because most of the public spaces
are taken over by rowdy youths or have been vandalized
x Other public spaces are being taken over for business reasons or have become the hang
out for people involved in the drug market etc.
4. Transformation in the nature of state social services
x The state lacks the resources to meet the needs of all elderly citizens especially the
x 1990s: rise of entrepreneurial state programs
x Competitive markets compromise time and human resources to gain economic efficieny
x Although nurses and social workers exist, they are not allotted enough time to each
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