Explain two theories of ageing

Topics: Sociology, Gerontology, Old age Pages: 2 (552 words) Published: December 8, 2013
The disengagement theory of ageing
Social scientists Elaine Cumming and William Henry outlined the disengagement theory of aging in 1961. The disengagement theory discusses the processes of aging, it states that as people get into later adulthood they could experience stages of loneliness and become withdrawn from society, for example friends and family. This theory suggests that this process is a natural part of growing old. One part of the theory states that people expect or know that they are going to die one day and because people experience physical and mental decline as they approach death, it is normal to withdraw from individuals and society. The second point is that as the elderly withdraw, they receive less reinforcement to conform to social norms. Social withdrawal is gendered, for instance, women and men experience disengagement differently to each other. The theory suggests that this is because men focus on work and women focus on marriage and family. This theory also suggests that when the elderly become withdrawn, they will have feelings of unhappiness and directionless until they adopt a role to replace their accustomed role that is compatible, such as using their time to go to bingo where they would meet different people who they could talk to, or going out on trips organised for the elderly in which they can refresh their minds and enjoy the company of other people. The disengagement theory mansions that aging is an inevitable, which results in decreased interaction between the elderly individual and others in the social system they belong to. The activity theory of ageing

The activity theory of aging says that the elderly are happiest when they are active and continue to socialise. This theory was developed by a scholar of aging (Robert J. Havighurst) in 1961, and was a response to the recently published disengagement theory of aging. The activity theory of aging proposes that older adults are happiest when they stay active and...
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