Kelowna Senior Housing - Disengagement theory is the study of society and aging in gerontology. This is a controversial model which attempts to observe how individuals change and interact with society while they grow older. This theory was developed by social scientists Elaine Cumming and William Henry during the early 1960s. Based on disengagement theory, people tend to draw away from society as they age. Although this theory has its followers, it has been disputed by lots of scientists in the field.
This theory was very popular during the mid 1900s. During that time, many of its supporters thought that this theory was a very good model that explains the way people prepared themselves for the inevitable - death. Older adults slowly let go of society, supposedly getting ready to to let go of life too. The researchers suggested that this was beneficial to society in enabling younger people to grow into different life roles. Like for example, younger individuals could build up networks and connections while the networks of older generations get smaller. What's more, when an older adult retires from a career it enables a younger person to enter into the workforce.
In several situations, this apparent withdrawal occurs from both sides. Society might be less inclined to include and engage with older individuals, while at the same time, an older person may be less likely to engage society. The scientists suggested that this was a general result of people realizing their limitations as they age, hence making way for younger individuals to fill their societal roles. Within disengagement theory, older people become more fragile as they age and they become less enthusiastically involved in their social circles. Rather than being voluntary, critics have pointed out, a lot of the disengagement tends to be forced. For instance, if somebody has to move into a nursing home or assisted living facility, their social circle could lessen because their friends may not be able to visit them as often, or they might start to die, leaving the individual with less social connections.
Depending on the society wherein a person resides, the attitude towards the elderly and the way they should be taken care of differs greatly. When disengagement theory was in its initial developmental stages, there was a huge shift happening in society in terms of where older individuals resided. For centuries, older adults resided at home and were cared for by their families. Nonetheless, this was rapidly shifting towards a tendency for older people to be place into nursing or assisted living facilities which often separated them from their families and socials networks.
Amongst the main criticisms of disengagement theory is that it offers a justification for society being less welcoming to the elderly. It could also be used as an excuse as to the reason why it is harder for older adults to take part in social activities, rather than society finding ways to overcome several of those barriers. For example, individuals who have recently had a joint replacement operation normally become isolated. This isolation is usually not what the person really wants, but rather, it becomes too difficult for them to engage in their usual activities. They might not be able to find the proper transportation or it may be extremely expensive. Also, the people who they will usually socialize with may have health issues of their own which prevent them from being social. Adults could belong to social groups which don't accommodate their needs as they age.
This theory still remains quite controversial because of the gerontologists, sociologists, and elder rights activists who have seen numerous flaws in it. When deciding where an older person should stay, their preferences and rights must be at the top of the list of considerations.
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