Ageing Theory

Topics: Gerontology, Ageing, Old age Pages: 6 (2287 words) Published: March 23, 2015
P4, M2, D2
P4: In this assignment I will be explaining two theories which are the disengagement theory and the activity theory. Disengagement theory
The disengagement theory suggests when people reach old age, they tend to naturally withdraw themselves from society and social involvement, elderly folk will also reduce their physical activity due to complications with poor health as they grow old. This among other reasons will result in restricted opportunities to interact with others and forms an individual mentality/approach to life due to becoming less concerned with the expectation of others/withdrawal. In 1975 Cumming argued that “it was appropriate and healthy for older people to withdraw from others” because it was deemed a natural part of the ageing process. The disengagement theory states that older people start to withdraw themselves from society and others because of their bodily issues i.e. hearing loss, loss of vision and reduction in physical movement. These complications can cause an older persons health to deteriorate which results in the loss of communication with others and withdrawal from society along with social interaction. Retirement can also be a contributing factor for elderly people not to be involved as much due to the inevitability that they will lose touch with their ex colleagues and friends. Older people may also have family that live far away therefore, they may not be able to travel much due to not having access to a car or even have access to technology such as the internet. This restricts the opportunity for social contact and leads to further disengagement due to being isolated from the new generation’s facilities. However, critics point out that disengagement can be discredited for a number of reasons. The majority of older people do remain socially involved with family and friends and many older people become more involved with close family as they become older. It may be that many older people choose to spend the time they have remaining with people they feel close to, rather than seeking to make new friends. If people only interact with close friends does this mean they are disengaged? It is also important to remember disengagement can often be enforced, rather than voluntary. For example, people who need to move to a nursing home experience restrictions on their social circle as well as limitations on their friends, this can result in fewer connections as friends die and depression/isolation occurs due to inability to change the situation they are in. This is why many people don’t agree with the disengagement theory. Activity theory

The activity theory suggests that older people need to disengage, but that they also need to remain “active” in order to limit the risks associated with disengagement i.e. stagnation, loss of mental and physical skills. Being mentally and physically active is viewed as being very important because it can improve mental and physical health in later life. The general ideology of the activity theory is the more you do, the better you will age. People who maintain an interest in life and continue to be engaged with family and friends tend to be healthier, happier and more in touch with what is going on around them. However, it is not sufficient merely to provide facilities for elderly people. They need to be educated to make use of them and encouraged to engage in a full day of activities, this will result in a high level of productivity and in theory slow down the ageing process. Furthermore, the activity theory can be argued against to some degree because it doesn’t remain true. It is somewhat difficult to suggest just being busy will help greatly with ageing. Therefore, a heightened level of activity is needed, but it needs to be engaging and fulfilling, rather than just busy work/stimulation. As people get older, nerve cells in the brain get weaker which results in memory loss, in order to prevent this from happening old people choose to be...
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