readings term 1

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William Magee

WEEK 2 READINGS *Themes of the week -POPULATION AGING -RATES OF CHANGE MACRO-ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS -REASONS FOR POPULATION AGING -POLICIES & SITUATIONS FOR OLD & YOUNG PEOPLE IN VARIOUS REGIMES 1. ALC CHAPTER 1- FIELD OF SOCIAL GERONTOLOGY 1. What is social gerontology and how is it related to the broader field of gerontology? 2. How is old age defined, and what differences does the definition make? 3. What is a cohort and what is it interesting? 4. What is the life course framework and how is it useful to gerontologists? 5. What is ageism and how is it perpetuated? A good life- means having good health and meaningful, respected place in society Successful aging- freedom from disease, disability, intact mental capacity, active engagement with life Gerontology Elie Metchnikoff- field has shifted from an emphasis on problems of old age to the promotion of successful aging is the scientific study of the biological, psychological, social aspects of aging Senescence- the application of evolutionary principles to understand decline leading to death in humans and other living organisms Death is part of the process of natural selection, a ways to weed out old members of a population Social gerontology- subfield, concerned mainly with the social, as opposed to the physical or biological aspects of aging Seek to understand how biological processes of aging influence the social aspect Successful Aging- depends not just on the prevention of disease and disability but on the attainment of peak physical and psychological functioning and participation in rewarding social and productive activities Achieved by setting goals and then working to achieve those goals by participating in meaningful activities Involves both the individual and society Issues of Aging in Research- Israel Kibbutz -Organized around principles of social solidarity, shared values, mutual dependence, joint decision making, all members have equal standing regardless of age, strength, position or status 1. Stability in their lives security of relationships with family and friends 79% of 65+ still have jobs No decline in living standards of retirement age Longer life expectancy Define Old Age 1. Chronological Age www.notesolution.comArbitrary marker according to policies i.e. retirement Subjective to what one considers old Lump together people of different generations into a single category Young-old- 65-74 Middle-old- 75-84 Oldest-old- 85+ 2. Social Roles of Age Social roles are sets of expectations or guidelines for people who occupy given positions (widow, grandfather) Role does not assume an age 3. Functional Age Based on what people look and what they can do A person becomes old when he or she can no longer perform the major roles of adulthood Functional age may be measured by normal physical changes people age at different rates May be determined by appearance people have surgery and age at different rates *criteria is misleading A. Well elderly healthy and active, involved in social and leisure activities, family responsibilities and are engaged in the community B. Somewhat impaired elderly- transitional stage, need some assistance, C. Frail Elderly- mental or physical deterioration and depend on others for carrying out their daily activities 4. Subjective Age Subjective Age Identity- people who are successful in compensating for functional limitations can maintain a subjective age identity for themselves Important factors: Older people define themselves as old at a particular incident (heart attack) Influenced by social class- lower social class view onset of old age younger because they have more pessimistic feeling about their health Influenced by gender- women hold more youthful age identified than men because women are judged on the basis of physical attractiveness (aging has negative connotations for women) Men- greater competence and autonomy, male earning peak in middle age (positive connotations) Variability exits from individual to individual- based on criteria Cohort and Generations Age changes occur in individuals over time, age differences are ways one age group differs from another Cohort- to identify age differences, aggregate of individuals who experienced the same event within the same time interval Defined all individuals born into a population during a specific time period, also can consist of people who enter a particular system at the same time (i.e. graduating class) Impressionable period of the life course compared to other ages Cohort aging- is the continuous advancement of a cohort from one age to another over its life span Cohort and generation are the same (generation is more for studies of family processes www.notesolution.comHistorical change- belonging to a cohort according to historical eras Distinctive experiences that members of a birth cohort that shaped them throughout their lives a cohort effect 5 birth cohorts- 1. 1900- 1926: swing generation 2. 1927-1945: silent generation 3. 1946-1964: baby boomers 4. 1965-1976: baby bust cohort 5. 1977-1994: echo boomers Early experiences make a indelible imprint on the lives Compositional differences Composition and character distinguishes one cohort from another Cohorts differ in demographic factors such as family size, average age at marriage, life expectancy Size- baby boom cohort, more competitive Cohorts vary in regard to family structure 2015- likely have stronger family support, aged of the 21 will have more single parents and divorce family support might be more fragile as family support weakens, government support must increase Large baby boom cohort grows old, demand for health care will rise an social security benefits will increase Ageism Forms of Ageism Ageism-set of beliefs about the aged Discrimination- means that people are denied opportunities because they are old Prejudice- refers to negative stereotypes about older people, judged as members of a social category Stereotypes- composite of ideas and beliefs attributed to people as a group or social category, may include accurate qualities but fail to capture the diver qualities of the individuals Children attitudes toward older people are often though drawing- typically portray negative traits of elderly Age discrimination- act on the basis of negative stereotypes, common occurrence in the workplace, refuse to hire older workers, elderly receive differential treatment from physician compared to younger elder adults Older patients are less likely than young to receive both treatments Fear that their elderly patients are not fit enough to tolerate both treatments or that they are more likely to develop complications Erdman Palmore- ageism is still a problem Tendency to patronize the elderly and be overly solicitous to them Most vulnerable individuals are those that lost all control over their lives People with ageist attitudes view women more harshly than men Perpetuating Ageism through the Media TV- most powerful source of mass communication Programming continue to focus on younger people
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