P4 – Explain 2 theories of ageing
Produce a short report that explains 2 major theories of ageing. These are the Activity Theory and the Social Disengagement Theory.
The activity theory is a theory which argues that older people need to stay mentally and socially active in order to limit the risks associated with disengagement. Older people need to remain active in order to prevent disengagement from going too far. It’s not sufficient to provide facilities for older people. They need to be educated to make use of them and encouraged to abandon apathetic attitudes and fixed habits. It is important to remain mentally active and maintain an interest in life and enjoy the company of others. Too much disengagement would lead to stagnation and loss of mental and physical skills.
Social Disengagement Theory
Disengagement theory is a model originally proposed in 1961 by William Henry and Elaine Cumming, two social scientists interested in studying aging and the way interactions with other people change as people grow older. Disengagement is a theory that old people will need to withdraw from social contact with others. Older people will disengage because of reduced physical health and loss of social opportunities. As people age they tend to withdraw from society, this can be mutual with society being less likely to engage with and include old people.
They argued that this was a consequence of people learning their limitations with age and making way for new generations of people to fill their roles. In modern gerontology, the study of aging and society, disengagement theory is controversial, and many people do not agree with it. Under this theory, as people age, they tend to grow more fragile and their social circles shrink as they start to pull away and be less actively involved.
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