The Medicalization Of Aging Population

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The aging of the population in Western industrial democracies has been seen as a major social problem. With the percentage of elderly in our population increasing, there tends to be more chances of health problems for these individuals, posing social, economic and political challenges (Restrepo & Rozental, 1994). Furthermore, aging has been seen as a complex cultural issue in society. The term apocalyptic demography has been used to predict the catastrophic disaster that our aging population will have on society (Chaufan et al., 2012). Likewise, older adults have been criticized for not fitting into society, with our social structures not meeting the direct needs of these aging adults. These social structures that we have in place make it challenging…show more content…
With the modernization of society, we see the increase in the medicalization of health problems. Postmodern society has resulted in the tendency to find medical solutions for social problems experienced by older adults. Medicine is now considered a solution to many social problems, which demonstrates how health care is a form of social control over the individual lives of older adults. Furthermore, we see more attention focused towards the medicalization of aging. The medicalization of aging attempts to gain control of older adults lives by trying to find medical solutions to the problems experienced. As a result of medicalization, aging is now defined as a medical problem that requires medical solutions. We see examples of this through anti-aging techniques, health promotion discourses for older adults and in long term care homes. Over time, we have seen the shift towards the medicalization of Alzheimer’s disease (Chaufan et al., 2012). The reason for this shift has a lot to do with advances in science and medicine. The shift towards the medical model of Alzheimer’s disease has resulted in the characterization of this condition as both treatable and curable (Chafan et al., 2012). Significantly, the rise in science has ignored the needs of the aging population, shifting this condition from a social problem to a medical…show more content…
We need to find ways to provide high quality and cost effective health care to our aging population (Williamson, 1988). Policy alternatives need to be implemented in order to help increase our understanding of the problem of medicalization. The government needs to also understand the dynamics creating the problem and propose new solutions to fix it. The public sector will play a big role in this process, however it will be conflicting with private institutions. All in all, our government has the power to change policies in our Western industrial
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