Aging and the Elderly

Read this chapter for a review of aging and the elderly. As you read through each section, consider the following points:

  • Focus on various social factors affecting the aging experience. What does age represent other than just a number? How might this affect life chances?
  • Take note of the phases of aging (young-old, middle-old, and old-old). Also, make sure you're able to explain the "graying" of the United States.
  • Read about and take note of the biological, social, and psychological changes associated with the aging process. Read about aging and sexuality, comparing this phase of sexuality with those discussed in the chapter on sex and gender. How does the social construction of sexuality change when considering age as a variable? Examine the attitudes associated with death and dying.
  • Read about the historic and current trends of poverty among elderly populations. Focus on ageist attitudes within individuals and institutions. Consider the question: How and why are the elderly so vulnerable to mistreatment and abuse?
  • Read about various theoretical perspectives on aging. Make a list comparing and contrasting the theoretical perspectives to demonstrate the differences between the viewpoints on aging.