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Physical appearance in old age and social degradation Essay


Introduction

Education is vital to all individuals, both children and adults. Mature people benefit from education in terms of job opportunities, job security, critical thinking skills and wisdom among others. Education provides intangible advantage to people living in a society. In schools, people interact with different people from different cultural backgrounds. In today’s modern world, it is necessary to understand other people’s culture.

The reason behind this is that many stereotypes and prejudices occur as a result of failing to understand other people’s culture. Lack of this understanding makes individuals not to understand other peoples’ behavior at individual, national, and global levels. Individuals are also able to understand and appreciate artwork, music, painting, all of which include society’s culture.

This is, however, possible only if a student enrolls for a course in school or college. Once we appreciate culture, it becomes possible to appreciate each other, hence understanding each other within the society (Dewey, 2000, p. 77).

Students will also acquire a sense of service through education whereby they will be willing to serve other people in the community. Sense of service is noteworthy because individuals get the capability of working and helping others. The world would be a disaster if people did not serve others since everyone would be working for himself or herself; hence no proper interaction. Participating in various activities while in schools helps a lot.

This participation also makes an individual understand their culture. With this knowledge, students can contribute positively to the society. Students leave school when they are already cultured. Such students can also work effectively and efficiently community agencies and non- governmental organizations to help the less fortunate individuals in the society.

These same students participate in activities of civil societies. Education also helps individuals to participate in environment conservation because they know and they understand the importance of conserving the environment (Bond, 2007, p. 71).

Old age

Ageing involves psychological, physical, social, and cultural changes, which include memory loss, sagging of the skin, and withdrawn social interaction. Education prepares an individual for these changes. Adult education improves the mental state and wellbeing of people. However, the choice of education to enroll in becomes restricted by the work programmes.

Education enables people to improve their potential, creativity, productivity, strong relationships, and contribution to the society. People also develop a sense of purpose, which leads to improved wellbeing.

Since learning boosts people’s wellbeing, and prevents mental deterioration, many people are likely to go for it for them to afford things like gym membership and cosmetic surgery when they become old. People consider old age as a social problem and, in fact, many people do not want to age. The society considers them a liability economically and socially. At this stage of life, the ageing individual needs to learn and understand certain things such as new skills, socialization norms and mind-sets (Garrison & Vaughan, 2011, p. 42).

Old age comes along with some mental problems, probably due to physical weakness. At this age, a number of them feel embarrassed, perhaps because they did not achieve their dreams and goals. Most people suffer from stress related problems due to judgment and criticism.

Governments need to support education, including adult education in order to develop a learning culture. This would eventually lead to wellbeing of citizens economically. Interviews reveal that those who engage in adult learning report benefits of education.

These benefits include mental health, improved self-esteem, employment opportunities, social benefits, and learning pleasure. Education leads to quality life, which includes wellbeing and health. Adult learning must be encouraged to prepare people on how to face life when they become old (Dewey, 1998, p. 52).

Old people lack self-confidence especially if they cannot take care of themselves financially, and their children have their own plans, which exclude them. Old age comes with low concentration, inability to hear, see, among others. Old people, therefore, find themselves doing nothing because they have little to say.

Education, as we have seen above, leads to job opportunities. When an individual has a well paying job, he is likely to invest the money in different areas. This would mean that such an individual will take care of himself even when he becomes old. He will not have to rely on others who view him as a liability.

People who have money tend to be self-confident. Even at an old age, they engage in productive activities, for example, looking after their businesses, farms, and other investments. They will not be bored and, therefore, loneliness will not disturb those (Biggs, 1999, p. 77).

Ageism

The number of ageing people is increasing, but the society does not seem to embrace this population. Old people above sixty years of age often face ageism problem. Society assumes that old people experience problems physically and mentally. Employers assume that these people have memory impairments.

Some people make fun of old people while others ignore them totally due to their age. Ageism also becomes a problem when it comes to mental health care. Doctors assume that old people cannot adjust their behavior. They end up going home untreated; hence disappointed (Rury, 2005, p. 23).

There is the need to expand research and training to eliminate the problem of ageism within the society. This problem shortens old people’s lives due to psychological problems imposed on them. This makes people have a negative attitude towards ageing due to its association with problems.

Education is therefore, needed to make people develop a positive attitude towards old age (Popkewitz, 2008, p. 52). This would as well improve their mental health. Positive attitude leads to improved memory and balance. Negative perception of old age, on the other hand, causes poor memory, and an individual feels worthless. A person lacks the reason to live once he gets the feelings of worthless.

An educated person, on the other hand, will have activities to engage in, for example, charring meetings, committees, among others. Such a person will not face stresses associated with old age. If one does not have education, he will have nothing to do when he becomes old (Spencer, 2007, p. 65).

Education would help to view old people as productive, helpful, and independent. Ageing adults should be made aware that ageism is illegal and that such cases ought to be reported to the necessary authorities. Funding and training should be extensively done to pass information regarding effects of ageism. Ageism should also be included in the school curriculum so that people become aware of it at an early age.

Ageing should also be taught at the workplace so that employers do not discriminate against old people. The information should be taught in secondary schools, professional places, as well as other places on order to reduce ageism. Adult education prepares a person to face challenges associated with ageing. An educated person is also unlikely to be discriminated against because he understands his rights as an old person (Wynne, 1978, p. 71).

Social Diversity and Inclusion

Adult education can lead to social exclusion, especially for immigrants. Social networking comes because of education. It also leads to social cohesion. Adult education helps people interact with different people from different cultural backgrounds. In today’s modern world, it is necessary to understand other people’s culture. The reason behind this is that many stereotypes and prejudices occur because of failing to understand other people’s culture.

Lack of this understanding makes individuals not to understand other peoples’ behavior at individual, national, and global levels. Individuals are also able to understand and appreciate artwork, music, painting, all of which include society’s culture. This is, however, possible only if a student enrolls for a course in school or college. Once we appreciate culture, it becomes possible to appreciate each other, hence understanding each other within the society (Clough & Corbett, 2000, p. 91).

Old people face social exclusion. This is where they find themselves socially disadvantaged. This includes a situation where they do not get a chance, to get involved in social activities within the society that they live in. Poverty, mainly, leads to this problem. Other causes of social exclusion include low levels of education and unemployment. Social inclusion would be beneficial in that it leads to social networking.

People learn about job opportunities, community activities, and political activities through networking. Adult education would, therefore, be crucial as it would make an individual aware of these opportunities. Social inclusion connects with a person’s education status, social class, and living standards.

Employment is a leading cause of social inclusion. Having a job gives one a sense of self worth and identity. Most social networks also revolve around an individual’s wok environment. Receiving education helps one to participate actively in the community; hence, few chances of being socially excluded (Commonwealth Secretariat, 2004, p. 11).

Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning gives benefits both socially and economically. The need, to continually study, comes because of globalization, labor markets, changing nature of work, and technological changes. There is also a need to expand one’s skills throughout life. Lifelong learning has its core values, which include learning, serving, exploring, mind benefits, spirit benefits, among others. It helps an individual to develop natural abilities fully. Adult education helps one to think critically by opening the mind.

Lifelong learning is also beneficial in that it helps an individual to be curious to learn, which in turn increases wisdom. It helps one adapt to changes, and the wellbeing of a person changes. Through lifelong learning, one can find life meaningful, and one contributes to the society positively.

Another benefit of lifelong learning is that it helps an individual to network frequently. This leads to making new friends; hence valuable relationships. Finally, lifelong learning leads to self- fulfillment, which enriches a person’s life (Bernard, 2000, p. 67).

Interaction with the Society

Social interaction becomes low as an individual age. Activity theory and disengagement theory explain this behavior. Disengagement theory argues that an individual becomes withdrawn from the society as he anticipates death. Old people will think of themselves, and they will therefore, have no time to socialize with other people. This behavior seems beneficial to both the individual and society. However, not everyone become disengages.

Some old people, considered wise, get positions of power and prestige. This can only occur if the individual received adult education or lifelong learning, which brings about wisdom. Some other individuals retain their roles in their previous work place. Others develop new roles within the community as a reward. Disengagement comes as a sign of failure in the society when a person discovers that he did not achieve his goals, yet it is already too late to accomplish them (Craik & Salthouse, 2000, p. 78).

The other theory, as earlier mentioned, is the activity theory. This theory asserts that individuals get forced by circumstances, to reduce social interaction. This happens as a person loses his roles, which he used to perform previously, for example, through retirement. Here, they start looking for other old people in order to get company as they used to at their middle age.

There is yet another modern theory called continuity theory. This theory argues that old people will want to maintain a personal system that promotes life satisfaction. They try to maintain consistency between the past and the future. Old people will prefer to associate with familiar people, in order to perform similar activities. This participation improves their physical health, and self- esteem leading to pleasure and comfort (Howard, 1992, p. 34).

The final theory is social motional selectivity theory. This perspective views social networks to diminish as an individual ages. According to this theory, psychological and physical aspects lead to social interaction changes. People usually socialize to get to know some information.

An old person gains much information throughout his life, and he will find no need to search for new information. They feel they know everything, and after all new information cannot help them much. They are also likely to receive hostile feedback. To avoid stress associated with ageism, they prefer to withdraw from social interaction (Thane, 2005, p. 81).

Conclusion

Old people face several challenges as ageing comes with physical and psychological changes. Elderly people forget fast due to memory loss. They also experience physical changes, and diseases such as heart diseases attack them. Education helps them face these challenges because they will take care of themselves, having prepared through education. Education will also help them participate actively in their society.

Adult education is also necessary as it helps an individual overcome ageism problem, social exclusion and other problems. Educated people are able to secure themselves job opportunities. Well paying jobs help an individual to save for future and invest, which helps one after retirement. Lifelong learning is yet another prestigious thing that people should be encouraged to participate in. It makes one adapt to changes, learn new skills, get wisdom, establish strong social networks, and contribute positively to the society (Mohan, 2010, p. 45).

References

Bernard, M 2000, Women ageing: changing identities, challenging myths. New York: Routledge.

Biggs, S 1999, The mature imagination: dynamics of identity in midlife and beyond, New York: Open University Press.

Bond, J 2007, Ageing in society: European perspectives on gerontology. New York: Sage.

Clough, P & Corbett, J 2000, Theories of inclusive education: a student’s guide. New York: Sage.

Commonwealth Secretariat, 2004, Commonwealth education partnerships. London: Commonwealth Secretariat.

Craik, FI & Salthouse, T, 2000, The handbook of aging and cognition. New York: Routledge.

Dewey, J 2000, Democracy and education: an introduction to the philosophy of education. New York: Forgotten Books.

Dewey, J 1998, Experience and education. New York: Kappa Delta Pi.

Garrison, D. R., & Vaughan, N. D., 2011, Blended Learning in Higher Education: Framework, Principles, and Guidelines. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Howard, C. C., 1992, Theories of general education: a critical approach. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Mohan, JM, 2010, From Special to Inclusive Education In India: Case Studies Of Three Schools In Delhi. New Delphi: Pearson Education India.

Popkewitz, TS 2008, Critical theories in education: changing terrains of knowledge and politics, New York: Routledge.

Rury, JL 2005, Education and social change: themes in the history of American schooling. New York: Routledge.

Sigler, JA, Tiller, TC & Huston, AM 1996, Education: Ends and Means, New York: University Press of America.

Spencer, H., 2007, Education, intellectual, moral, and physical, New York: Harvard University.

Thane, P 2005, The long history of old age. New York: Thames & Hudson.

Wynne, JP 1978, Theories of education: an introduction to the foundations of education. New York: Harper and Row.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Physical appearance in old age and social degradation." January 14, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/physical-appearance-in-old-age-and-social-degradation-essay/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Physical appearance in old age and social degradation'. 14 January.

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