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Aging and Inequality Based on Age

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Title: Aging and Inequality Based on Age


1
Chapter 12
  • Aging and Inequality Based on Age

2
Chapter Outline
  • The Social Significance of Age
  • Age in Global Perspective
  • Age and the Life Course in Contemporary Society
  • Inequalities Related to Aging

3
Chapter Outline
  • Living Arrangements for Older Adults
  • Sociological Perspectives on Aging
  • Death and Dying
  • Aging in the Future

4
Age
  • Chronological age is a persons age based on date
    of birth.
  • Most of us estimate a persons age on the basis
    of functional age - observable individual
    attributes such as physical appearance, mobility,
    strength, coordination, and mental capacity that
    are used to assign people to age categories.

5
How Much Do You Know About Aging and Age-Based
Discrimination?
  • True or False?
  • Most older persons have serious physical or
    mental disabilities.

6
How Much Do You Know About Aging and Age-Based
Discrimination?
  • False
  • Only about 14 of older people have severe
    functional limitations at age 85 or over, 31
    have severe disabilities.

7
How Much Do You Know About Aging and Age-Based
Discrimination?
  • True or False?
  • Scientific studies have documented the fact that
    women age faster than men do.

8
How Much Do You Know About Aging and Age-Based
Discrimination
  • False.
  • No studies have documented that women actually
    age faster than men. However, some scholars have
    noted a double standard of aging that places
    older women at a disadvantage with respect to
    older men because womens worth in the United
    States is often defined in terms of physical
    appearance.

9
Question
  • _______________ age refers to a persons age
    based on date of birth.
  • chronological
  • functional
  • expectant
  • average

10
Answer a
  • Chronological age refers to a persons age based
    on date of birth.

11
Graying of America
  • The aging of the U.S. population resulted from
    increased life expectancy and a decrease in birth
    rates.
  • In 1900, about 4 of the U.S. population was
    over age 65.
  • By 1980, that number rose to about 11.
  • In 2002, it rose to 14.
  • By 2050, about 20 of the population will be age
    65 or older.

12
Life Expectancy
  • The average number of years that a group of
    people born in the same year could expect to
    live.
  • A cohort is a group of people born within a
    specified period of time.

13
Gerontology
  • The study of aging and older people.
  • Social gerontology, is the study of the social
    (nonphysical) aspects of aging, including such
    topics as the societal consequences of an aging
    population and the personal experience of aging.

14
Question
  • Most older people in our society are independent
    and mobile.
  • Strongly agree
  • Agree somewhat
  • Unsure
  • Disagree somewhat
  • Strongly disagree

15
U.S. Population Growth, 19802000
16
Selected Life Expectancies by Race, Ethnicity,
and Sex, 2000
17
Distribution of U.S. Population by Age,
20002050 (projected)
18
U.S. Age Pyramid by Age and Sex, 2000 (in
millions)
19
Age in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives
  • People are assigned to different roles and
    positions based on the age structure and role
    structure in a particular society.
  • Age structure is the number of people of each age
    level within the society.
  • Role structure is the number and type of
    positions available to them.

20
Views of Aging in Preindustrial and
Industrialized Societies
  • In preindustrial societies, people of all ages
    are expected to share the work, and the
    contributions of older people are valued.
  • In industrialized societies, older people are
    often expected to retire so that younger people
    may take their place.

21
Age Stratification
  • Inequalities, differences, segregation, or
    conflict between age groups.

22
Question
  • _________ structure is the number of people of
    each age level within society.
  • role
  • societal
  • age
  • hierarchical

23
Answer c
  • Age structure is the number of people of each age
    level within society.

24
Infancy and Childhood (Birth to 12 )
  • Children are among the most powerless and
    vulnerable people in society.
  • Every day in the United States 1 out of every 5
    infants are born into poverty.
  • Over 3,000 children die from gunshot wounds every
    year.
  • Every 11 seconds a child is reported abused or
    neglected.

25
Adolescence (13 to 18)
  • Many adolescents face conflicting demands to
    attend school and to make money.
  • Juvenile laws define truancy or running away as
    forms of delinquency - these would not be
    offenses if committed by an adult.
  • Despite laws to control working conditions, many
    adolescents are employed in settings with
    hazardous working conditions, low wages, no
    benefits, and long work hours.

26
Young Adulthood (19-39)
  • During this time people are expected to get
    married, have children, and get a job.
  • Individuals who do not get married by age 39 are
    often quizzed about their intentions and their
    sexual orientation.
  • Those who are unable to find steady employment
    tend to become suspect because they have not
    settled down.

27
Middle Adulthood (40-65)
  • As people progress through middle adulthood, they
    experience senescence (primary aging) in the form
    of molecular and cellular changes in the body.
  • Wrinkles and gray hair are visible signs of
    senescence.

28
Middle Adulthood (40-65)
  • Women undergo menopause - the cessation of the
    menstrual cycle caused by a gradual decline in
    the bodys production of the female hormones
    estrogen and progesterone.
  • Men undergo a climacteric, in which the
    production of the male hormone testosterone
    decreases.

29
Middle Adulthood (40-65)
  • Middle adulthood for some people represents the
    time during which
  • They have the highest levels of income and
    prestige.
  • They leave the problems of child rearing behind
    them and are content with their spouse of many
    years.
  • They may have grandchildren, who give them
    another tie to the future.

30
Late Adulthood (65 and older)
  • Some gerontologists subdivide late adulthood into
    three categories
  • the young-old (ages 65 to 74)
  • the old-old (ages 75 to 85)
  • the oldest old (over age 85)

31
of Resident Population Age 65 and Older by State
32
Ageism
  • Ageism is prejudice and discrimination against
    people on the basis of age, particularly against
    older persons.
  • Ageism against older persons is rooted in the
    assumption that people become unattractive,
    unintelligent, asexual, unemployable, and
    mentally incompetent as they grow older.

33
Question
  • About how often did you have sex during the last
    12 months?

34
GSS National Data
Age lt30 30-49 50 and up
Not at all 11 9.8 43.8
Month/less 29.5 35.9 33.4
Weekly /more 59.6 54.3 22.7
35
Percentage of Persons Age 65 Below Poverty Level
36
Question
  • I don't value older people in our society as much
    as younger people.
  • Strongly agree
  • Agree somewhat
  • Unsure
  • Disagree somewhat
  • Strongly disagree

37
Elder Abuse
  • As many as 1.6 million older people in the U.S.
    are victims of abuse each year.
  • Physical abuse includes malnutrition, injuries
    and dislocations.
  • Psychological abuse includes verbal assaults,
    threats, fear, and social isolation.

38
Elder Abuse
  • Financial exploitation involves theft or misuse
    of the older persons money or property.
  • Medical abuse is when medicine is withheld or
    improperly administered.
  • Neglect is not providing sufficient care.

39
Question
  • Stereotypes regarding older persons reinforce
  • age stratification
  • ageism
  • age discrimination
  • gerontocism

40
Answer b
  • Stereotypes regarding older persons reinforce
    ageism.

41
Functionalist Perspectives on Aging
  • Functionalist perspectives focus on how older
    persons adjust to their changing roles in
    society.
  • According to sociologist Talcott Parsons, the
    roles of older persons need to be redefined by
    society.
  • He suggested that devaluing the contributions of
    older persons is dysfunctional for society older
    persons often have knowledge and wisdom to share
    with younger people.

42
Disengagement Theory
  • According to disengagement theory, older persons
    make a normal and healthy adjustment to aging
    when they detach themselves from their social
    roles and prepare for their eventual death.
  • Disengagement aids a gradual and orderly transfer
    of statuses and roles from one generation to the
    next an abrupt change would result in chaos.

43
Symbolic Interactionist Perspectives on Aging
  • Symbolic interactionist perspectives examine the
    connection between personal satisfaction in a
    persons later years and a high level of
    activity.
  • Activity theory states that people tend to shift
    gears in late middle age and find substitutes for
    previous statuses, roles, and activities.

44
Symbolic Interactionist Perspectives on Aging
  • The concept of continuity - people constantly
    attempt to maintain their self-esteem and
    lifelong principles and practices and they simply
    adjust to feedback from and needs of others as
    they grow older.
  • Role theory asks What roles are available for
    older people?
  • Some theorists note that industrialized,
    urbanized societies do not have roles for older
    people.

45
Conflict Perspectives on Aging
  • Conflict analysis draws attention to the
    diversity in the older population.
  • Differences in social class, gender, and
    race/ethnicity divide older people just as they
    do everyone else.
  • The conflict perspective adds to our
    understanding of aging by focusing on how
    capitalism devalues older people, especially
    women.

46
Question
  • Medical and health insurance premiums should not
    be based on age of the recipient.
  • Strongly agree
  • Agree somewhat
  • Unsure
  • Disagree somewhat
  • Strongly disagree

47
Death and Dying
  • There are three frameworks for explaining how
    people cope with the process of dying
  • the stage-based approach
  • the dying trajectory
  • the task-based approach
  • . The stage-based approach was popularized

48
Stage-based Framework Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
  • Five stages in the dying process
  • Denial and isolation (Not me!)
  • Anger and resentment (Why me?)
  • Bargaining and an attempt to postpone (Yes me,
    but . . . negotiating for divine intervention)
  • Depression and sense of loss
  • Acceptance.

49
Dying Trajectory Framework
  • Focuses on the perceived course of dying and the
    expected time of death.
  • The process of dying involves three phases
  • The acute phase, characterized by the expression
    of maximum anxiety or fear.
  • The chronic phase, characterized by a decline in
    anxiety as the person confronts reality.
  • The terminal phase, characterized by the dying
    persons withdrawal from others.

50
Task-based Framework
  • The dying person should perform tasks that make
    dying easier on their loved ones and themselves.
  • Physical tasks to satisfy bodily needs.
  • Psychological tasks to increase security,
    autonomy, and richness of experience.
  • Social tasks sustain interpersonal attachments.
  • Spiritual tasks help people develop, or reaffirm
    spiritual energy and foster hope.

51
Quick Quiz
52
  • 1. Observable individual attributes such as
    physical appearance, mobility, strength,
    coordination, and mental capacity that are used
    to assign people to age categories are called
  • chronological age
  • functional age
  • developmental age
  • gerontological age

53
Answer b
  • Observable individual attributes such as physical
    appearance, mobility, strength, coordination, and
    mental capacity that are used to assign people to
    age categories are called functional age.

54
  • 2. The graying of America refers to
  • Americans living longer.
  • Americans taking care of older adults.
  • the vanishing of clear cut borders between what
    is old and what is not.
  • longer life expectancy combined with an increase
    in birth rates.

55
Answer a
  • The graying of America refers to Americans living
    longer.

56
  • 3. The study of aging and older people is called
  • Sociology
  • Geriatrics
  • Gerontology
  • Epidemiology

57
Answer c
  • The study of aging and older people is called
    gerontology.

58
  • 4. A cohort is
  • a group of people born within a specified period
    of time.
  • a group of people who share a similar descent.
  • a group of people who share the same gender.
  • a group of people who share the same racial
    background.

59
Answer a
  • A cohort is a group of people born within a
    specified period of time.

60
  • 5. Which of these is not one of the three types
    of elder abuse?
  • physical abuse
  • medical abuse
  • housing abuse
  • psychological abuse

61
Answer c
  • Housing abuse is not one of the three types of
    elder abuse.

62
  • 6. By the year 2050, there will be an estimated
    __________________ people in the United States
    age 65 and older.
  • 50 million
  • 80 million
  • 100 million
  • 120 million

63
Answer b
  • By the year 2050, there will be an estimated 80
    million people in the United States age 65 and
    older.
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