Erikson Aging Theory

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For our group’s final term paper, I’ve been working on the part that requires the application of Erikson’s psychosocial theory and Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model to better understand and analyze the issue of dementia on older adults. From what I have gone through researching for my parts, I found the discourse of dementia has been dominated by a “medicalized” notion of dementia. Such “medicalized” notion has presented us and the general public a gloomy view of ageing: a horrible disease that only associated with irreversible deterioration of intellectual functioning, and that “nothing can be done” to it. For me, I had been fortunate not to have any personal experiences with dementia as no one in my family had this disease, but before…show more content…
According to Rowe and Kahn, the current model of “successful aging” means low risk of disease, high mental and physical functions, and active engagement. However, this is not quite realistic as aging is hardly without any deterioration of physical performance and cognitive function. Aging is inevitable, and for dementia patients, decline and deficits are also inevitable. However, from using the Erikson’s “ego integrity versus despair”, my reflection is that despair may not be the inevitable outcome for older adults with dementia. Human development theories portray “growth” as a lifelong, natural and universal process. I pretty much agree with what Jung (1970) suggests that “a human being would certainly not grow to be seventy or eighty years old if this longevity had no meaning for the species. The afternoon of human life must also have a significance of its own and cannot be merely a pitfall to life’s morning”. Wisdom is what we, the human species, can gain in older adulthood according to Erikson. While wisdom is a process of cognitive and dementia is the decline of cognitive, it seems that despair is only natural to be. However, from these many reference books I’ve read for this…show more content…
Even though I am not a social work major student, if I were to pretend to be one here, I would much appreciate and definitely agree to the emphasis on the intervention at the points where people interact with their environment. No wonder the bioecological model of Uri Bronfenbrenner is so influential in social work practice and in understanding human behaviors, that the reciprocal process of interaction and that the five networks from the most inside to the outside can help social workers understand the bigger picture that underlines service users’ lives. Back to the topic aging, such comprehensive view stressing the importance of social contexts on one’s development also inspired me to reflect on the very nature of dementia. My own reflection on dementia, as a physiologically-caused cognitive and behavioral decline, is that it should be view as a disability rather than a disease. It is because the term “disability” is to focus on a wider societal context in which a person with disability lives their life and what they can do, rather than what a person can’t do. This focus on the broader societal context can better echo the ecological theory as well as what social work emphasize on. Therefore, this is a more progressive view to dementia and aging (that I hesitate to put this in group
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