Theories of Ageing

Topics: Gerontology, Old age, Aging Pages: 5 (1601 words) Published: March 11, 2014
Theories of Aging
Activity theory
This theory assumes a positive relationship between activity and life satisfaction. One theorist suggests that activity enables older adults to be able to adjust to retirement. The critics of this theory state that it overlooks the inequalities in health and economics that hinders the ability for older people to engage in such activities. Also, some older adults do not desire to engage in new challenges. Activity theory reflects the functionalist perspective that the equilibrium that an individual develops in middle age should be maintained in later years. The theory predicts that older adults that face role loss will substitute former roles with other alternatives. The activity theory is one of three major psychosocial theories which describe how people develop in old age. The other two psychosocial theories are the disengagement theory, with which the activity comes to odds, and the continuity theory which modifies and elaborates upon the activity theory and though in recent years the acceptance activity theory has diminished, it is still used as a standard to compare observed activity and life satisfaction patterns. In relation to my individual, when they reach the Elderly life stage they will probably stay active and socialize with other individuals instead of hiding away as they are a confident person with a large group of friends and family members around them to keep them interacting. However, there is a chance that this might not be the case because there could be a knock to their self-esteem because there will be things that they aren’t going to be able to carry on doing as they get older. For example, if they aren’t able to get around as easy as before to socialize then they might disengage from society. Disengagement theory

The theory was formulated by Cumming and Henry in 1961 in the book Growing Old, and it was the first theory of aging that social scientists developed. Therefore, this theory has historical significance in gerontology. Since then, it has faced strong criticism since the theory was proposed as innate, universal, and unidirectional. This theory of aging states that "aging is an inevitable, mutual withdrawal or disengagement, resulting in decreased interaction between the aging person and others in the social system he belongs to". The theory claims that it is natural and acceptable for older adults to withdraw from society. The disengagement theory is one of three major psychosocial theories which describe how people develop in old age. The other two major psychosocial theories are the activity theory and the continuity theory, and the disengagement theory comes to odds with both. Continuity theory

This 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 are connected to their past experiences. The continuity theory is one of six major psychosocial theories which describe how people develop in old age. The other two psychosocial theories are the disengagement theory, with which the continuity theory comes to odds, and the activity theory upon which the continuity theory modifies and elaborates. Unlike the other two theories, the continuity theory uses a life course perspective to define normal aging. The continuity theory can be classified as a micro-level theory because it relates to the individual, and more specifically it can be viewed from the functionalist perspective in which the individual and society try to obtain a ‘state of equilibrium’. The major criticism for the theory is its definition of normal aging. The theory distinguishes normal aging from pathological aging, neglecting the older adults with chronic illness. However, Feminist theories attack the continuity theory for defining normal aging around a...
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