Disengagement Theory Of Aging Essay

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Regarding the issue of “aging”, there have been several theoretical perspectives that address the issue of the growing number of elderly in our society. Social gerontologists study aging and the elderly, and recently, this has grown in importance as the elderly have become the fastest growing segment of the population. Aging is the combination of biological, psychological, and social processes that affect people as they grow older, yet these biological, psychological, and social processes are not the same and may vary considerably within and across cultures.

Beginning with functionalism, which was brought about in the 19th century by Comte and Durkheim, it emphasized large-scale social institutions and processes. It focused on understanding the role or contribution of some event, activity or institution to the working of society as a whole, not individuals. The focus in this approach is on how the elderly, as a group, cope with the functional transition of roles as they move into the senior stage of life. Functionalists analyze how the parts of society work together to create a state of equilibrium. Under this theory is the disengagement theory, activity theory, and continuity theory. The disengagement theory says it is functional for society to remove people from their traditional roles when they become elderly, thereby freeing up those roles for others. It claims that as people become older and frailer, they should adapt to this change and remove themselves from important

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