P4 UNIT 4 H&SC

Topics: Gerontology, Old age, Ageing Pages: 4 (1365 words) Published: April 29, 2014
The Disengagement Theory of Ageing
The disengagement theory of ageing controversially explains how as we get older, we naturally withdraw from society and it is an inevitable part as a person gets older resulting in decreased interaction between the ageing person and the social system. This could be because older people maybe exclude themselves from social activities, although this could be due to the person’s ability to get around to participating in such activities, leaving restricted opportunities for them to interact with people causing the elderly’s social skill to deteriorate because they are using them less and less. This theory was originally proposed by William Henry and Elaine Cumming in 1961, however this theory is very controversial and many people just don’t agree with it because it all depends on the individual. Some people argue that the loss of socialising is enforced rather than voluntary. For example, if someone needs to go into a nursing home, they will tend to make fewer friends when they are confined in a small space, and even if they do make friendships in the social circle of the care home, then they unfortunately might die off from illness or just old age, leaving their friends with less connections.

The supporters of the disengagement theory believed that it was just a natural part of ageing, which explained how people prepared for death. There are a lot of different factors that contribute to the disengagement theory. Firstly, ill health can affect an elderly person greatly because when they become ill, they may not be able to get around as much due to incidents like poor mobility, restricted hearing and impaired vision will likely stop the person from socialising as much with friends or relatives because they simply cant do things that they used to do anymore because of their illnesses. Secondly, an elderly person’s geographical mobility can affect them because after retirement, people may want to celebrate not working anymore so...
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