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Aging and Dying: a Life Course Perspective

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Aging and Dying: a Life Course Perspective
Introduction

Aging is an inevitable; every person realizes that there is a beginning and an end.
Accepting death is a life-long learning experience but have many obstacles along the way. A convenient way to measure between time and human behavior is the life course perspective, this analyzes the chronological order of events from the time we are born to our death. The events that include socio-historical locations; timing of lives; geography, heterogeneity or variability; social ties to others; human agency and personal control; and how the past shapes the future. These several and basic tenets characterize the life perspective approach. This perspective uses a non-linear path to help us understand how we get to the individual as a senior. This makes sense because life itself is not linear and many events that occur in life can lead to twists and turns. The advantage of the life course perspective theory is that it focuses on multiple areas of life and how it inter-twine together similar to a web (Bengtson and Allen 1993).

Key Tenets and Discussion

Our path of development is rooted in and modified by conditions and events taking place during the historical period and the geographical location of the person’s household. Examples of these include economic cycles, geopolitical events, social and cultural beliefs. Recessions, wars, and the authority figure of the household shape our views and choices and change the progression of human development. This means that our choices are affected by interaction with people and families within the sociohistorical timeline, and not in a vacuum. The understanding the locations of various generations help researchers and policy makers to identify how to treat seniors from their respective life histories.

(Price, McKenry, and Murphy 2000) said they are three types of time that are central to life course perspective: individual time, generational time, and historical time. Individual



References: Bengtson, V. l., and Allen, K. R. (1993). "The life course perspective applied to families over time." in sourcebook of family theories and methods: a contextual approach, ed. P. Boss, W. Doherty, R. Larossa, W. Schumm, and S. Steinmetz. New York: Plenum. Burton, L. M., and Bengtson, V. (1985). "black grandmothers: issues of timing and continuity in roles." in grandparenthood, ed. v. L. Bengtson and J. Robertson. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. Call, V. R. A., and Teachman, J. D. (1996). "Life-course timing and sequencing of marriage and military service and their effects on marital stability." journal of marriage and the family 58:219–226. Clausen, J. A. (1991). "Adolescent competence and the shaping of the life course." American Journal of Sociology 96:805–842. Coltrane, S., and Ishii-Kuntz, M. (1992). "Men 's housework: a life course perspective." journal of marriage and the family 54:43–58. Elder, G. H., Jr. (1974). Children of the great depression: social change in life experience. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Elder, G. H., Jr. (1985). Life course dynamics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Elder, G. H., Jr. (1998). "The life course as developmental theory." child development 69:1–12. Gee, E. M. (1991). "The transition to grandmotherhood: a quantitative study." Canadian Journal on Aging 10:254–270. Giele, J. Z., and Elder, G. H., Jr. (1998). Methods of life course research: qualitative and quantitative approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Guillemard, A. M. (1997). "Re-writing social policy and changes within the life course organization: a European perspective." Canadian Journal on Aging 16:441–464. Gupta, M. D. (1995). "Life course perspectives on women 's autonomy and health outcomes." American Anthropologist 97:481–492. Hagestad, G. O., and Neugarten, B. L. (1985). "Age and the life course." in handbook of aging and the social sciences, ed. R. H. Binstock and E. Shanas. New York: van Nostrand Reinhold. Hareven, T. K., ed. (1996). Aging and generational relations: life course and cross-cultural perspectives. New York: Aldine de Gruyter. Lewis, R. (1998). "Impact of the marital relationship on the experience of caring for an elderly spouse with dementia." Aging and Society 18:209–231. O ' Rand, A. M. (1996). "The precious and the precocious: understanding cumulative disadvantage and cumulative advantage over the life course." the gerontologist 36:230–238. Pittman, J. F., and Blanchard, D. (1996). "The effects of work history and timing of marriage on the division of household labor: a life course perspective." journal of marriage and the family 58:78–90. Price, S. J., McKenry, P. C., & Murphy, M. (2000). Families across time: A life course perspective. Los Angeles: Roxbury. Riley, M. W. (1987). "On the significance of age in sociology." American Sociological Review 52:1–14. Rodgers, R. H., and White, J. M. (1993). "Family development theory." in sourcebook of family theories and methods: a contextual approach, ed. P. Boss, W. Doherty, R. Larossa, W. Schumm, and S. Steinmetz. New York: Plenum. Rossi, A. S., and Rossi, P. H. (1990). of human bonding: parent-child relationships across the life course. New York: Aldine de Gruyter. Sampson, R. J., and Laub, J. H. (1993). Crime in the making: pathways and turning points through life. Cambridge, Ma: Harvard University Press. Stoller, E. P., and Gibson, R. C. (2000). Worlds of difference: inequality in the aging experience. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.

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