Explain Two Theories of Aging. Unit 4 level 3 P4 P5 M2 M3 D2
Assignment 3 – Theories of ageing
P4, M2, D2, P5, M3
P4: In this assignment I will explain two theories which are the disengagement theory and the activity theory.
The disengagement theory was put together by Cumming and Henry. This theory is related to how older people naturally withdraw themselves from society and social involvement with others. This was the first theory which was introduced and developed by social scientists which was expressed in the book called ‘Growing old’ which was also by Cumming and Henry in 1961. In this book it is written that it is acceptable for older folk to withdraw themselves from the outer world and society as it is a norm nowadays due to their age. In 1975 Cumming argued that ‘It was appropriate and healthy for the older people to withdraw themselves from society and others’ as they believed it was a natural part of growing old. The disengagement theory states that older people start to withdraw themselves from society and others because of their bodily issues i.e. physical movement, hearing loss and vision loss. Due to these issues this can deteriorate an older person’s health which then triggers off loss of communication with others and withdrawing themselves to others and society. Also when older people have reached a certain age where they have retired this is a contributing factor for them not to be as involved as much and they lose touch with their ex colleagues. Older people may have family and friends that live far therefore they may not be able to travel much either to see them due to their health problems which also makes them more isolated. Therefore they disengage themselves more as they have no access to the new technology as they don’t know how to use it and what to do with it as it is the new generation’s form of communication. An example of a disengaged old person would be that their health would be a barrier for them to do things for e.g. travelling places and moving around to do things as this would endanger their health. Therefore they would rather disengage themselves and rather not use facilities etc. This is because they are scared to use anything as they feel as though they will not know how to this is why a lot of older people are disengaged to society and people.
In the 1960’s a man called Robert Havinghurst created the activity theory. The activity theory is related to how older folk have retired and aged and that they should still be engaged to their environment. They should be engaged to the environment in order for them to be proactive and to be involved in activities etc. By them doing this it will avoid them from disengaging themselves from friends and family and other activities. In the year 1966 Bromley also argued that older people do disengage but they still need to remain active in order to prevent any form of disengagement. The theory states that the older people who achieve optimal age are the ones that stay active for e.g. if an elder is at the retired age and no longer works but are still socializing with friends and families and making an effort will strengthen the old person as this is a positive aspect in their life. This is because this will not make the older person feel lonely and isolated as they have support and activities to do which prevents them from being disengaged to the outer world.
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My chosen person who is Jade Cerisa Lorraine Goody who is now sadly dead, if Jade was alive today and reached to old age she would have gone through a phase where she would have been disengaged to people around her. This depends on how Jade would be around her family, friends and social group as this is a contributing factor on how she would be amongst them in her old age. This is because when reaching an old age sometimes a person disengages themselves totally from everything and choose to not be involved in things. Also when losing a family member for e.g. a parent or a spouse this is an influence to disengaging yourself from doing things and getting involved in gatherings etc. Jade would feel lonely as she wouldn’t have her mother around as she had passed away, and her children may have moved out this was even more depressing for jade as she doesn’t have much to do. Due to this impact on jade’s life this leaves jade disengaged to family, friends and society as she isn’t making much of an effort to speak to her loved ones. By Jade feeling like this she will think it is a norm to be isolated and not involved in social gatherings which in fact isn’t a good thing at all. The disengagement theory states that old people naturally disengage themselves which in some cases is true as they have loss of physical health and social opportunities therefore they lose contact with family and friends.
However being disengaged isn’t a solution to Jade’s problems as this can cause mental health issues as she isn’t occupied and involved in social gatherings. If Jade stayed in touch with her work colleagues and close friends and saw them on a regular basis she wouldn’t feel lonely and disengaged as she would be enjoying herself with her family and friends. Also if her son’s came often and spent quality time with her she would feel happier and engaged to her surroundings as she would be active socially and physically. This would influence Jade to stay engaged to the society and involve herself more often with others and not just her family and friends for e.g. attending social groups and yoga classes would be useful for her and would prevent any sort of disengagement. This would be beneficial for Jade as she would have something to do on a daily routine instead of being bored and disengaged to the society.
The activity theory which was created by Robert Havinghurst still has an impact on health and social care settings i.e. care homes by providing service users with activities so that the activity theory is being promoted well along with the service users being occupied. The theory was put forward so that the service users are active and occupied in doing something for e.g. playing games, chess, scrabble etc. These games are used so that their minds are working well and active also games like bingo will keep them entertained along with days out and dancing to stay physically active. Older people tend to start losing their memory when they reach to a certain age as their brain cells are decreasing and body is weakening. Therefore Bromley argued that older people needed to remain active that is why there are games and puzzles for them so that their intellectual development doesn’t decrease and the brain stimulates cells.
However if some older people do not want to take part and be disengaged in activities and other participations then that is fine as they have a free will in what they want to do and what they do not want to do. This is because some of the older folk may have disabilities or mental health problems therefore they may not want to take part as they feel as though they will feel intimidated or belittled. However they do have the right not to take part as it is their human right and in a health and social care setting that must be respected and taken into account.
When jade my chosen individual reaches to old age she will experience physical and psychological changes due to the ageing process.
Once Jade reaches old age her immune system will weaken and cause changes to her body. This is because when a person reaches a certain age their body begins to stop working as the organs in the body are slowly giving up. For e.g. Jades arteries and blood vessels will begin to contract which can cause them to clog up with cholesterol this process is referred as ‘Atherosclerosis’ which causes high blood pressure. If jade begins to develop high blood pressure this is a high risk of heart disease and strokes also due to jade ageing the walls of her blood vessels will become less flexible this will then make the heart to work faster. However this will then trigger the blood pressure to rise, due to the fact the arteries and blood vessels contracting and losing the elasticity this could result in fatty deposits becoming a blockage in them. If Jade’s arteries become blocked this could lead to coronary heart disease which will trigger off breathlessness, and severe chest pains which will likely result into a heart attack.
Jade’s respiratory system will also develop some changes due to the chest muscles will contract and weaken. This will result in Jade’s lungs not working as normal and she will feel short of breath which will also decrease the blood flow in her body. Jade will also suffer from inflammation of the lungs which will block the airways which is known as ‘Bronchitis’. As jade was a smoker she would also have developed the Emphysema disease which is where the air sacs which is located in the lungs are seriously damaged due to smoking and inhaling the chemicals.
Due to Jade’s ageing her digestive system will develop changes. This is because her food will be consumed a lot slower and carefully so that she doesn’t choke on her food. Also because the body becomes weak when you are old it takes more time for the food to break down and digest which leads to illnesses such as constipation and hemorrhoids. Therefore it is important that when an older person is eating they take their time and are not rushed as it can cause complications.
Jade may notice physical changes upon her appearance especially on her muscles and bones as she is ageing. When people age they tend to become skinnier and thinner which is a result of the body cells decreasing and dying. This may be due to jade suffering from arthritis as she is ageing and growing older her bones and muscles are weakening which results in her not moving at a normal pace. Also arthritis affects the whole body i.e. the knees and hips they become stiff and hard to move due to ageing and loss of physical activity.
Alzheimer’s is an illness which develops in the elderly and this may develop in Jade later on in life. This is because when a person reaches over the retirement age they tend to develop all sorts of illnesses due to their body function decreasing and weakening. There is a chance that jade could develop this as it is a 50/50 chance depending on how her mental health is upon till then. When a person ages their brain can be damaged and the cells begin to decrease and die this can be quite worrying as this can affect a person mentally and from there it can develop into memory loss. However not a lot of old people will develop Alzheimer’s as it depends on the person’s life and situation as Alzheimer’s can happen due to other triggers i.e. increase ageing, family history, head injuries and vascular disease.
As a person begins to increase age and develop physical illnesses it could also affect them psychologically. This is because if they are not mentally active and keeping themselves occupied this can result in them losing their self esteem and prevent them from taking part in social gatherings and doing other activities. However this is not the case in all old people as it depends on a person’s history and experiences in life as these are strong influences towards what they do. When Jade experiences increase ageing she will not lose her self esteem as she is the type of person who will take part in activities and move around as she is skilled and has experienced how to be around people and society. However she may not be the same if she happens to inherit a long term illness which could result in her losing her memory and she may isolate herself to everything.
When a person experiences increase ageing they automatically change physically. This is because their body wears out as their bones and muscles begin to weaken and the body doesn’t have enough stamina due to the body being weak and fragile. Due to them not being strong and powerful it is likely they inherit illnesses and diseases faster as their immune system is weak which means they would be hospitalized or bed ridden at home. If this occurs then the old person cannot get out and socialise and take part in social groups and activities which helps them to stimulate themselves mentally and socially and this leaves them disengaged to society and others. Due to an old person being severely ill this can leave them being isolated and less confident in themselves as they are not doing anything physically as they are bedridden which can only result in them being more isolated and not taking part in any sort of social activities.
A physical change that an old person can develop in relation to increase ageing can be Urinary incontinence. This is a uncontrollable passing of urine and is very common within the elderly which happens due to increasing age. There are several causes for urinary incontinence which are due to the damage to the nerves, taking certain medications, constipation and dementia. These are all contributing factors to which trigger off the unintentional urine passing. This can leave an old person feeling ashamed and embarrassed as they are unable to control it and this may result in them feeling less confident as they do not find it a norm. Also older adults may be affected socially as well as emotionally as they may feel too embarrassed to take part in social gatherings as they may pass urine unintentionally which will only upset them. Due to this they may feel as though they are not good enough to take part in activities due to their condition which will only make them disengaged and unsociable which isn’t good for them as they need something to keep them active and engaged.