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PSYC 3480 (233)
Chapter 14

Chapter 14 Women and Older Adulthood.docx

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PSYC 3480
Noreen Stuckless

Chapter 14 Women and Older Adulthood Attitudes Toward Older Women  Ageism is a bias based on age  Many physicians believe that elderly individuals complain too much about minor medical problems  Older Women and the Media o Usually missing from programs and ads on tv  The double standard of Aging o People judge elderly women even more harshly than elderly men-> the double standard of aging o Two areas which double standard of aging can operate: a) Personality characteristics: people rated old men as being less competent than young men; in contrast, they rated old women and young women about the same b) Potential as a Romantic partner  Older women are much more critical than older men about how their aging bodies look  Men often believe that an aging woman would not be a desirable sex partner Older Women, Retirement, and Financial Problems  Women retire for a number of reasons, such as personal health problems and the appeal of free time  Many middle aged women retire early because they are fired when a company is downsizing  Women are less likely than men to seek information about retirement benefits before they retire  Women tend to experience more retirement problems than men.  Women also need more time to adapt to retirement  One reason for gender differences in adjusting to retirement is that many women have lower incomes, so they often have financial problems  Another reason is that retired women perform more housework than their retired husbands  When professional women retire, they report that they miss their professional identity  A woman’s adjustment during retirement depends on her reasons for retirement  It a woman retires because she wants more time for herself, she will probably adjust well to retirement.  Significant life events also influence a woman’s adjustment to retirement  Financial Issues o When U.S. women retire, they also receive lower social security benefits than men do, based on differences in their overall income o Most employed women do not have jobs with pension plans Menopause  A woman enters menopause when she has stopped having menstrual periods for 12 months  Physical changes during menopause o Most common symptom is the hot flash, which is a sensation of heat coming from within the body  Why Hormone Replacement Therapy is no longer common o Hormone replacement therapy is a term that usually refers to a combination of estrogen and progestin. This type of therapy relieves some of the physical symptoms of menopause o It is not common anymore because it slightly increased the risk of heart disease and it had no beneficial effect on other measures  Contemporary attitudes about menopause o The medical literature represents menopause negatively o The media often portray worst case scenarios, which contribute to the public’s negative attitudes about menopause  Women’s psychological reactions to menopause o Some women report psychological symptoms such as depression, irritability, and mood swings. o However, there is no evidence that normal menopause by itself causes these symptoms Social Relationships in Older Women’s Lives Family relationships  Older women as daughters  The term sandwich generation refers to middle aged people, especially women, who find themselves responsible for both their dependent children and their aging parents  Daughters are much more likely than songs to become caretakers for an elderly parent who is in poor health  Many of the resources on women’s caregiving roles emphasize that the tasks are unpleasant and burdensome for middle aged daughters  Care giving is often stressful and time consuming  It can have negative effects on the caregiver’s physical and mental health  However, studies have also found that daughters willingly accept this responsibility and report that they feel satisfied providing for their parents  Older women as mothers  Current research shows that the empty nest does not cause depression  In fact, most middle aged mothers whose children have left home tend to be a
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