Topics: Sociology, Gerontology, Personal life Pages: 13 (5357 words) Published: June 28, 2015


In this assignment there is an explanation of the main concepts of the disengagement and activity theories of aging. With using the case studies provided there is an explanation of how the theories effect the current situations and development of Edith and Albert in the aging the process, finally I will be evaluating the care options that might be available to Edith’s mother Lily and how their could have an impact on her development in society. INTRODUCTION

There are many theories of aging that can be related to old age which are more likely to be grouped together. The theories mainly focus on the economic and social structures of individuals in the aging process. Some of the changes mainly focus on the changing roles of individuals in society and how the changes impact on their lives and their ability to adapt to the changes that they will experience. The disengagement and activity theories were the major two theories that outlined successful aging in the early 1960’s. The disengagement theory was created by Cumming and Henry and the activity theory was developed by Robert J Havighurst, both were developed in 1961 and are very different from each other. DISENGAGEMENT THEORY

The disengagement theory of aging states that individuals are more likely to become withdrawn from any social life as they get older due to a decrease in their physical intellectual and emotional, social skills. With a decrease in the physical, intellectual and social, emotional wellbeing some will lack the abilities to do certain things in society and this will also lead to them having a lack of interests in their hobbies as all their expectations of how there should be have become lower. The theory was originally developed in the 1950’s in the US its findings were published in the early 1960’s by Elaine Cumming and William Henry. Cumming and Henry studied hundreds of individuals going through the aging process for their research on the theory and published their findings in 1961 in a book called Growing Old. Another theorist named Erikson model of old age is about the end of life stage, he believes that disengagement theory is about individuals tying up loose ends whereas Cumming and Henry believe that is about social withdrawal. The theory can be seen as linking the needs of the aging individuals to the needs of the social system, the theory sees the needs of individuals and society as compatible. The theory states that the older generation are seen to disengage from social roles, relationships in way that is natural and beneficial for them, by being released from all social expectations. The theory states that the process could be regarded as an equal value to society, by freeing up all the opportunities in society for the younger generation. The theory suggests that disengagement can be seen as a positive choice for the older generation, but is also contradicted as many older individuals still engage in hobbies and activities in the later life stage. The theory states that rather than disengagement being a positive choice or social process many individuals has no option than to disengage from society and rolls. Disengagement theory claims that many of the older generation begin to disengage from social rolls, society and relationships when they realise that their deaths are inevitable in the near future, the theory suggests that society responds to the individuals disengagement with mutual recognition and respect for the individual, as they are aware that the individual will eventually die. The theory states that if society can continue to function in the absence of the elderly it can be seen as a natural and acceptable way, has to why so many of our elderly do withdraw from society and loved ones. The theory also suggests that individuals can enter the later stage of life with many relationships and friends, will gradually see them disappear...

Bibliography: Richards J. (1999) Caring for People. 1st Edn: Cheltenham, Stanley Thornes Publishers Ltd.
Larkin M. (2009) Vulnerable Groups in Health & social care.3rd Edn: London, Sage Publications Ltd.
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