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Theories of Aging

By SimaMiah Jun 13, 2013 1964 Words
Explain the theories of aging
Ageing is the changes in a person over time. Ageing in humans refers to a multidimensional process of physical, psychological, and social change. Population ageing is the increase in the number and proportion of older people in society. Population ageing has three possible causes: migration, longer life expectancy, and decreased birth rate. Ageing has a significant impact on society. Young people tend to push for political and social change, to develop and adopt new technologies, and to need education. Older people have different requirements from society and government as opposed to young people, and frequently differing values as well.

Disengagement Theory
Disengagement could mean a lot of things however the simple meaning to it would be when you don’t engage with people or things; instead you exclude yourself from things. However it could also mean one's abilities to deteriorate over time. As a result, every person will lose ties to others in his or her society, individual interactions between people, an individual who has fewer varieties of interactions has greater freedom from the norms imposed by the interaction. Consequently, this form of disengagement becomes a circular or self-perpetuating process. The individual's life is punctuated by ego changes. For example, aging, a form of ego change, causes knowledge and skill to deteriorate. However, success in an industrialized society demands certain knowledge and skill. To satisfy these demands, age-grading ensures that the young possess sufficient knowledge and skill to assume authority and the old retire before they lose their skills. Disengagement theory is independent of culture, but the form it takes is bound by culture.

Activity Theory
Activity theory is more of a descriptive meta-theory or framework than a predictive theory. It considers an entire work/activity system beyond just one user. It accounts for environment, history of the person, culture, role of the artifact, motivations, and complexity of real life activity. One of the strengths of AT is that it bridges the gap between the individual subject and the social reality. The object of activity theory is to understand the unity of consciousness and activity. The basic principle of this theory is that successful aging occurs when older adults stay active and maintain social interactions.

Continuity Theory
The continuity theory of normal aging states that older adults will usually maintain the same activities, behaviors, personalities, and relationships as they did in their earlier years of life. According to this theory, older adults try to maintain this continuity of lifestyle by adapting strategies that connect to their past experiences. Unlike the other two theories, the continuity theory uses a life course perspective to define normal aging. The theory deals with the internal structure and the external structure of continuity to describe how people adapt to their situation and set their goals. The internal structure of an individual such as personality, ideas, and beliefs remain constant throughout the life course. This provides the individual a way to make future decisions based on their internal foundation of the past. The external structure of an individual such as relationships and social roles provides a support for maintaining a stable self-concept and lifestyle.

Case Study 1:
Grace is 84 years old. When she was younger she was a ballet dancer at the Royal Opera House. She had a very glamorous lifestyle, famous friends and travelled the world. Now she is physically disabled and uses a wheelchair, Grace likes to talk about her past but she always appears sad afterwards. She does not like to join in with the other residents in the home and when activities are organized she chooses to stay in her room.

In this case Grace did some lovely and wonderful things when she was young but unfortunately as she aged she became physically disabled and this has gradually stopped her from doing these things. Although grace gets upset after talking about her past I think she likes the idea of what she did in the past and in some ways wishes she could still go back to that time. In the case study we see that grace does not like to join in with the other residents or activities when they are taking part, this is Grace disengaging herself from the rest of the group and staying in her room, I think she does this because when she takes part it activities she thinks about when she was able to do a lot more. What are the physical problems that may affect confidence and self-esteem? The physical problem that I think affects Graces confidence and self-esteem is the fact that she is now in a wheelchair, because grace was once a ballet dancer I think she feels extremely restricted with what she can and cannot do, it knocked her self- esteem greatly as she was once able to move in ways no ordinary person can move and now she needs support to do a lot of things. Also I think Grace feels at a disadvantage because when she was younger she travelled the world and now because she is in a wheelchair she cannot do many things. What are the psychological factors that influence confidence and self-esteem? I think psychological factors that helps Grace with confidence is the fact that when she was younger she did amazing things and knew amazing people and we know this because she likes to talk about her past, I think this makes her feel good about herself and lets other people have an insight of what she used to be like before she was in a wheelchair and this helps boost her self-esteem. How can you support and plan care for Grace to maintain continuity with their past? We can support Grace to maintain continuity with her past by trying to get her involved in things and although she gets quiet upset about talking about her past we could try and could things that will be specifically for her to get her to be more involved rather than isolating herself, such as taking her and the other residents to go and watch a ballet show so that she could remember how happy it made her and also the other residents will get to connect with her so she may not feel as left out anymore. Also we could get in a group of visitor which she could tell her amazing story too. Will Grace be expected to withdraw or will they be encouraged to remain active? We will support grace and encourage her to remain active by trying to do prepare and plan more activities that she will be interested in doing. Grace will not be expected to withdraw as this means that we are not providing her with good standards of care. We will try our best to help however if there are days where she really isn’t feeling like doing anything and really wants to be alone then we will do that but also make sure that there is someone there for her to talk to if needed.

Case Study 2:
Ivy is 86 years old. During the Second World War ivy worked in a large factory making aero planes. She married and had 5 children. She and her husband ran the local post office e until his death 10 years ago. Ivy has some mobility problems and needs to use a Zimmer frame to get around. She has recently been diagnosed with dementia. Ivy loves mixing with the other residents and is always the first to dance at the social nights.

In this case I think Ivy had done a lot of things which she is proud of, e.g. making aero planes and she also got married. However unfortunately for her she has lost her husband but because she was diagnosed with dementia I don’t think she remembers, because people with dementia forget a lot about their lie. I think Ivy’s case shows Continuity theory, Although she uses a Zimmer frame to get around she loves to mix with other people and she is the first to get up and dance, This shows that she still acts very young and likes to do things younger people would do. What are the physical problems that may affect confidence and self-esteem? The physical problem that I think affects Ivy’s is the fact that she need to use a Zimmer frame to get around, however I don’t think this has affected her in a bad way as she is still very active and likes to do things younger people would do despite her using support. What are the psychological factors that influence confidence and self-esteem? I think psychological factors that helps Ivy are hard to say as she has Dementia and it will be hard to tell what she remembers and what she doesn’t remember, however I think that the thought of her children, grandchildren and husband keep her going, although she is needs to use a Zimmer frame o get around, I think Ivy self-esteem is from the fact that she is always the first to get up and dance. This shows that she is very confident as she likes to have fun. How can you support and plan care for Ivy to maintain continuity with their past? We can support Ivy to maintain continuity with her past by organising movie nights where we could all watch as a movie that is about World War 2 which may help her remember the things she did and we could also have activities such as group sessions where everybody could talk about what they did and what they were like when they were young and this could help ivy stay in continuity with her past. Other than that we will do other activities which will help her keep active and also make her happy as she like to dance and socialise with staff and other residents. Will Grace be expected to withdraw or will they be encouraged to remain active? Ivy will not be expected to withdraw as this could cause problems and may not be helpful in her situation. We will support Ivy and encourage her to remain active as she is doing great all by herself, however if her health is at risk then we will take caution and do what is best for her.

Evaluate how theories of aging influence health and social care provision? In the aging process all elderly people will deal with aging in different ways and take different approaches to aging and may apply to different theories of aging such as some elderly people may wish to stay active and others will take a different approach and disengage and this could be for many reasons, however both of these theories of aging have completely different thoughts and views of the aging process. There are so many services that are available to the elderly people and these services are provided to help the older population stay active, social, physical and also stay intellectual. All of these things are important so the elderly people can keep healthy; both mentally and physically. These services are care provisions such as day centre for the elderly who will encourage the individuals to stay social and interact with people and not isolate themselves from others, this includes the disengagement theory as this helps them to talk and be around others and not disengage themselves from the outside world. There is also many other services which are available to the elderly such as Nursing Assistance and Physical Therapy provided by the NHS. They will also receive friendly visitors that will come and spend time with the individual and do activities and they will also socialise and connect to the individual to offer support.

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