Aging is one of the important social issues that society should be concerned about. Aging refers to the gradual changes that happen with time in the life of an individual (Kaplan, 2006, p. 196). A multifaceted process involves changes in terms of psychological, physical, and social changes.
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Various dimensions during old age change as one continues to live. For instance, wisdom and knowledge of the world’s events expand with aging while time to react to certain situations declines. However, it is also true that old people may continuously grow in terms of their physical, social, and mental capabilities.
Aging is therefore an imperative aspect in the lives of people, as it is an indication of the natural modifications happening to human beings. It also defines collective and ethnic patterns of the society. Society is able to grow and progress because of the values and conventions that the elderly pass on to the upcoming generations. Aging is categorized as chronological, which is time bound (Leahy, 2006, p. 21).
All people must pass through the state that is measured from the time an individual is born. Social aging is based on culture, and concerns believes and perceptions of people when they age (Leahy, 2006, p. 21). Biological aging concerns physical states. An old person exhibits some physical characteristics such as wrinkles on the face, grey hair, and weak body.
It is also important to note that, regardless of people being old, they may have different physical and mental capabilities. Various governments have different ways of classifying old people. They also have different policies to look after them.
Population aging arises due to increased rate of migration, decrease in birth rate, and the increase in life expectancy due to low death rate (Kaplan, 2006, p. 196). Aging has significant implications to the society. Their needs are different from those of young people. For instance, they do not involve in criminal activities.
Sociology is an important field that studies behaviors and the way human beings live and coexist with one another. It is therefore a very essential area when it comes to understanding the society. Aging is one of the important characteristics that are part of the society.
People or every society has a share of the aging people. Therefore, aging is an important aspect in sociology. One of the sociological theories that fits or applies to aging is the social conflict theory. The theory postulates the civilization results from fighting for power and that various groups must struggle to gain access to the limited resources (Ritzer & Goodman, 2004, p. 32).
The society is also structured to benefit the few while the majority is not considered. These kinds of inequality lead to conflicts that in turn lead to social misunderstandings. This theory helps people understand the society in a bid to trigger change. In most cases, old people have been secluded and are not involved in critical decisions making of the society.
Therefore, it is important for the society to support these people besides providing them with the needs that they require. For instance, they are entitled to good health, opinion, and good life. This is the only way that the society can be able to alleviate these inequalities.
Structural functionality is yet another theory that is in line with aging. Old people should be included in the functions of the society to promote stability and solidarity (Ritzer & Goodman, 2004, p. 34). This will ensure that the society functions fully and as a whole, as every person’s views, opinions, and needs will be considered.
Aging is one of the issues that the society knows though it does not give it its due attention. Various issues are known about aging. One of the things that are known about it is that it is an inevitable result of the time spent on earth. People perceive aging as a process that arises to those people who have stayed for longer period.
Secondly, it is the duty of the society to accord respect to the elderly people. People who are disrespectful to the elderly in society are not received well. Furthermore, most of the aging people are viewed to have a high level of wisdom and ones who are aware of the cultural aspects by which the society should abide (Kaplan, 2006, p. 196).
Therefore, in most cases, the society consults such people for advice. During conflicts, they are used as arbitrators due to their knowledge and skills. On the other hand, most people do not know that elderly people require good care.
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Many people have failed to provide both material and financial support to the aging people because they believe that they have the ability to look after themselves. Another thing that people do not know is that aging is one of the causes of death for elderly people. Their bodies do not function as required. Therefore, they end up developing diseases, which claim their lives quickly.
Sociological research is important in these areas. In a broad sense, research is essential because it helps one to have different views and perspectives on different things that happen in people’s lives. Sociological research is important because it helps in highlighting the various issues pertaining to aging.
Elderly people have various characteristics. Therefore, it helps to understand the way they behave and ways in which they can be helped to co-exist well with other people in society. For instance, it may help to improve the lives of the elderly by investigating on problems that they go through. There are practical implications of sociological inquiries.
Some of these implications might be positive while others are negative. For instance, when an inquiry is carried out about the problems that the elderly face such as stigmatization, the findings can be used to create awareness to educate the larger society on the need to embrace and accept the old people in the society. Therefore, such initiative may lead to unity and cohesion among people in the society.
Kaplan, M. (2006). Aging as a Social Process: Canadian Perspectives, 4th edition. American Review of Canadian Studies, 36(1), 196-198.
Leahy, S. (2006). Simone Signoret: Aging and Agency. Studies in the Literary Imagination, 39(2), 21-42.
Ritzer, G., & Goodman, D. (2004). Sociological Theory: Sixth Edition. London: McGraw Hill.