Chapter 2 Social Aspects of Aging Objectives: • Discuss trends in ethnic aging, & define ageism & state examples of myths. • Discuss or describe the media’s portrayal of the elderly; political involvement of the elderly;&attitudes about retirement. • Discuss diverse lifestyles & “late life” crisis experienced by elderly couples. Objectives-continued: • Contrast types of relationships between aging parent & adult child & between siblings in later life. • Discuss the importance of friendships to an aged individual. • Identify the 5 major categories of grandparents & state the major source of income for those > 65 yrs. Objectives- continued • Describe the role of good nutrition & the importance of fitness & exercise to the aging body. • Identify reasons why health promotion & disease prevention programs are so beneficial to aging individuals, & what the impact of health care financing issues have on these programs. • Culturally,aging,as well as treatment of the elderly,is often determined by the value systems of an ethnic group. • This may determine the way the older person views aging. • Some ethnic groups view the elder as an authority figure who resides in a position of power within the family & community. • Some see the elder as added responsibility & burden. Ethnic Aging: Ageism:systematic stereotyping & discrimination • • • • • • • African-American Hispanic Native-American Asian-American Japanese-American Chinese-Vietnamese Other Southeast Asians Myths about ageism: • Majority of old people (>65) are senile, disoriented, or demented. • No interest in sexual relations. • Feel miserable most of the time. • Majority of old people are unable to adapt to change. • Difficult to learn something new. • Old people tend to be pretty much alike • They enter a “Fantasy Land”-rosy & carefree. Health Care Professionals: • Research has shown that health care professionals are significantly more negative in their attitudes to older patients than toward younger ones. • Older workers are thought to be ridged, inflexible, & incapable of learning new skills. • Economic discrimination includes employment or working conditions. Many negative terms to describe the elderly: • • • • • • • “geezer” “old hag” “fogey” “old duffer” “dirty old man” “fossil” “old goat” • “battle ax” • “out to pasture” • “over the hill” Media’s Attitude Toward the Elderly: • Play a major role in stereotyping: • Portray elderly as “more comical, stubborn, eccentric, & foolish than other characters” • “narrow-minded, poor health, • Floundering financially, sexually dissatisfied, & unable to make decisions. Commercials are the worst: • Older actors in commercials for laxatives;skin moisturizers;gas elimination meds; analgesics,hair coloring products. • Advertisers=realize elders have $$ to spend. Political Involvement: • AARP: Amer.Assoc. of Retired Persons • 35 million members • 1000 employees in Washington D.C. • Major mission: disseminate info & support research on aging. Gray Panthers • • • • Smaller but more militant. 75,000 members. Founded by Maggie Kuhn Believe that “gray power” should be the cutting edge of social change by establishing intergenerational bonds necessary for real social change-the continuity of life. Gray Panthers: • Continue to work for affordable & adequate housing for all,the elimination of homelessness, & the promotion of innovative work concepts that include flexible work/retirement schedules for all. National Council of Senior Citizens: • Examples of “gray” power: • 1965-Medicare & Medicaid enacted • 1967-Age discrimination in employment made illegal • 1972-Social Security indexed to inflation • 1978-Age of mandatory retirement pushed back to 70 • 1986-Mandatory retirement eliminated for almost all workers. Retirement (Eliminate term) • Replace with Third Age (G.P.Mulley) • 1st age-childhood & preparation for work • 2nd age-employment & family raising • 3rd age-old term:retirement • 4th age-dependence 1991 Survey by Harris: • Individuals must prepare for longer & more productive lives. 40% of older respondents expressed interest in furthering their education. • Employers need to encourage older workers to participate in life-long learning & training. Can be done by creation of flexible workplaces & work hours. • Educational institutions must become more aware of the needs of older learners. Elders are encouraged to see the relevance of educational endeavors. • Self-paced instruction & physical environment are important. (Internet) • Retirement: 3 phases-disenchantment phase, reorientation, & termination phase More… Three phases: • Disenchantment: one realizes that retirement is not what was expected. • Reorientation: involves acceptance & adjustment to the retirement role. • Termination: sometimes occurs, in which depression, illness, and/or disability convert one’s status to care receiver or patient. Studies in men: • Depression, illness, & death increase fairly dramatically within 35 years after retirement. • This is because work satisfaction is the best predictor of longevity. Family & Social Roles: • The Aging Couple: a late life crisis is to be expected. • Aging Parent & Adult Child • Siblings • Friends • Grand parenting: 5 types-Distance figures; fun seekers; surrogate parents; • formal; reservoirs of family wisdom. Financial Status of the Elderly • Social Security: Minimum $597 per month. Health Perspectives: • Nutrition: 25% of persons >65 suffer from malnutrition. • Fitness & Exercise: • Exercise increases the number of synapses between brain neurons. Health Care Finances: • Elderly spend more money on long-term care than any other type of health care. • Medicare coverage is limited. • Long term insurance is expensive.