P4 - Explain two theories of ageing
The Continuity theory (Atchley 1989) stresses the importance of continuing as the person you have always been. This can involve continuing with; interests, lifestyles and social contacts from the past. Memories of the past may be important as they can help a person to tell their life story. The important thing is that people can continue to develop an internal sense of self-esteem and self-concept. The Continuity theory suggests that people will have different needs when it comes to activity. Some people may wish to withdraw form social and physical activity because they see themselves as a person who is entitled to retire and adopt a disengaged life. Some people need to stay actively involved with people or interests in order to feel that life is worthwhile.
The Disengagement theory - The disengagement theory, proposed by Cumming and Henry in 1961, suggests that older people make a positive effort to withdraw from life as a response to their decreased physical, intellectual, emotional and social skills. It suggests that they are willingly retire from work; willingly withdraw from relationships and disengage from roles, preferring to follow inactive, solitary activities; and willingly give up their normal ways of behaving, becoming more less friendly and companionable and sometimes hostile in their interactions. Cumming (1975) argued that older people would experience a decrease in social contact as they grew older and become increasingly 'individual' and isolated (less concerned with the expectations of others). He argued that it was appropriate and healthy for older people to withdraw from others - disengagement was a natural part of ageing. Zimbardo (1992) argued that ‘The disengagement view of social ageing has been largely discredited for a number of reasons’. The majority of older people do remain socially involved with family and friends and many older people become more involved with their family as they get into...
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