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Comparative Study

| Published: September 25, 2016

Social Construction of Aging

Dr. Rashmi Saxena

Shri Ramswaroop Memorial Group of Professional College, Lucknow, India Google Scholar More about the auther

DIP: 18.01.129/20160304

DOI: 10.25215/0304.129

ABSTRACT

In life, we must take the good with the bad, and how we view these life events determines our well being and ability to adjust. Aging is not optional. We are all, in fact, aging from the moment we are born. The biggest issue regarding aging and getting old is how we look at it. Social constructivisms uncover the ways in which individuals participate in the creation of their perceived social reality. It involves looking at the ways old age are perceived, created, institutionalized, and made into traditions by human beings.  Individuals construct their own life course through the choices and actions they take within the opportunities and constraints of history and social circumstances. This paper examines social construction of old age and aging in general and self-aging in particular among a small sample of 300 male and female respondents in the age range of 25-85 years. 
Main themes that emerged in the context constructions of general aging were as follows: good aging – ‘all responsibilities being over’; worst part of growing old – ‘empty nest’; females spend less time than males with elderly parents but expect a better relationship with them and are perceived to be the best support to elderly; best type of support for male elderly – ‘emotional’, for female elderly – ‘physical’; best support that old parents can extend is in ‘caring for children’; amount of advice that young adults are willing to accept from elderly – ‘only a bit’; for old respondents caring for elderly – a ‘government’s responsibility. 
When people were asked to construe their own old age they reported that the most predominant feeling in old age would be ‘loneliness’; most important concern –‘health’; expectations about living in old age – ‘with son and their families’; possibilities of receiving day to day care from grown up children – ‘great’.
Data analysis revealed several interesting findings by way of anxiety about aging, ageist attitudes and some utopian expectations. Most importantly, it indicated that even though people try to maintain a distance from elderly people, are unable to engage with them and/or care for their elderly parents they are sure of receiving, in their own old age, much better support, emotional closeness and daily care from their children.
Responding Author Information

Dr. Rashmi Saxena @ rashmi_phd1979@rediffmail.com

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ISSN 2348-5396

ISSN 2349-3429

DIP: 18.01.129/20160304

DOI: 10.25215/0304.129

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Published in   Volume 03, Issue 4, July-September, 2016

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