Social Impact of Ageing on the Older Person
Life Span Changes
Our purpose in life changes as we grow older. Infancy, childhood and adolescence all revolve around preparation for adult life and responsibilities. We are living at home, with the support of our parents and families to guide us through. Adulthood bring with them increasing involvement in work, marriage and family life. We are now independent and living life according to our own perceptions. Persons in old age are in a period of slow down as opposed to the speed and pace of the previous life stages. They will have experienced retirement, death of loved ones and increasing dependency, which may occur due to health limitations. From a psychosocial viewpoint, the movement from child to adult involves an increasing attachment to one’s social groups through meaningful and productive means (work, social interactions, and friendships). Age old sees these relationships being given up and lessened. This may help account for the reports that the very old are isolated, a burden to society and have feelings of unworthiness. Clinical depression a common problem among older people and can be exacerbated by these perceptions.
Social problems which effect older people include:
* Isolation: Social isolation occurs where people are living without contact from our people. It can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression. It can be caused by the following things: * Role loss
* Living alone
* Loss of a spouse
* Health problems
* Decreased Mobility: Physical mobility, the capability of movement, is necessary for the health and well-being of all persons, but is especially important in older adults because a variety of factors impinge upon mobility with aging. Hogue (1984) identified mobility as the most important functional ability that determines the degree of independence and health care needs among older persons population.
* Attitudes: Older people are generally not assertive because many were brought up in a culture in which the individual had fewer rights than they have today. Hence, few appeal against official decisions, seek help from elected representatives, or try to overcome bureaucratic inertia.
* Poverty: The inability to buy needed services to maintain a good quality of life is a problem for many older people. Poverty threshold is defined by comparing a person’s income with the level of prices of the basic commodities of life. Those with incomes below the minimum level needed for subsistence are deemed to be living in poverty.
Relative poverty is the state of deprivation defined by social standards. It is fixed by a contrast with others in the society who are not considered poor. Poverty is then seen as lack of equal opportunities. It is based on subjective measures of poverty.
In general the older the person, the poorer they are. Because men die earlier than women, the older group consists of relatively more women. Many older women have no occupational pensions and depend on a state pension, which is a very small amount. Poverty therefore is most common in older ladies, particularly those who never married. The Social Effects of Ageing
Environmental Issues: The location and setting of their homes can cause issues for some older people. Many cannot afford to, or want to move. Structural Issues: Many older people’s home are in disrepair and ill health or disability can prevent them from being able to maintain their homes properly. In Westmeath, we have a care and repair scheme that helps people with these problems. Disability: Dwellings can become unsuitable due to the onset of disability. * Stairs
* Access to the house
There are ways to address these issues:
* Stair lifts
* Railings and...
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