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Theories of Ageing

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Nicola Parr

on 16 March 2015

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Transcript of Theories of Ageing

Learning Objectives
Define three theories of ageing
Explain how older people may become socially isolated
Highlight disengagement and activity theory within case study

Theories of

What is a theory? Write down your ideas

Group Task
Can you put the statements in the correct groups according to whether they are Activity Theory or Disengagement Theory
Can you explain your choices when feedback back?

Theory - a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained.
How can older people become socially isolated? Why do you think this may happen?

Individually write your ideas on post it
Discuss in twos
Within your table come up with 3 examples to share with group in 5 mins

Read the case study about Betty. Can you highlight on your handout examples of disengagement theory and activity theory?
Use different coloured pens or highlighters so you remember which is which!
Activity Theory
Psycho-Social Theories -

These theories explain the thought processes and behaviors of ageing.

Disengagement theory

Views ageing as a process of mutual withdrawal.
Older adults voluntarily slow down by retiring, as expected by society.

Activity theory
Sees a positive correlation between keeping active and ageing well.

Two major Theories
What is Eleanor an example of ?
One of the earliest theories of aging – Cumming & Henry (1961)
Views ageing as a process of gradual withdrawal between society and the older adult.
According to this theory, disengagement benefits both the older population and the social system.
Gradual withdrawal from society and relationships preserves social equilibrium and promotes self-reflection for elders who are freed from societal roles.
Enables an orderly means for the transfer of knowledge, capital, and power from the older generation to the young. It makes it possible for society to continue functioning after valuable older members die
Disengagement Theory
Developed by Robert Havinghurst in 1961, as a response to disengagement theory.
The theory suggests that older adults are happiest when they stay active and maintain social interactions.
Activity engages older adults (both physically and mentally) and allows them to socialize with others. This increases feelings of self-worth and pleasure, which are important for happiness and longevity.
These activities, help to replace lost life roles after retirement and resist the social pressures that limit an older person's world.

Continuity Theory - Atchley 1989
Builds upon and modifies the Activity Theory.
Later life is simply a continuation of the earlier part of life, a component of the entire life cycle.
This theory suggests people have different needs when it comes to activity and will usually maintain the same activities, behaviours, personality traits, and relationships as they did in their earlier years of life.
Personality traits often become more entrenched with age.
Patterns developed over a lifetime determine our behaviours, traditions, and beliefs in old age. Past coping strategies recur as older adults adjust to the challenges of aging and facing death. Successful methods used throughout life for adjusting to situational and maturational stressors are repeated.

It encourages young people to consider that their
current behaviours are laying the foundation for their own future
old age. What one becomes in late life is a product of a lifetime of personal choices.

The theory considers the
internal structures
external structures
of continuity to describe how people adapt to their circumstances and set their goals.

Internal structure
- includes elements such as personality traits, ideas, and beliefs. Facilitates future decision-making by providing the individual with a strong internal foundation of the past.
External structure
- consists of relationships and social roles. It supports the maintenance of a stable self-concept and lifestyle.
The theory assumes a positive relationship between activity and life satisfaction.
This theory proposes that an older person should continue a middle-aged lifestyle, denying the limitations of old age as long as possible. Likewise, society should avoid the injustice of ageism by applying the same norms to old age as it does to middle age. Society should not demand declining involvement of its aging members.
Knowledge and recall
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