Social Theories About Aging

Various sociological theories have been formulated to explain the adulthood and aging process. The study aimed at understanding the aging process is called gerontology; it focuses on the biological, psychological, and social characteristics of old age. The aging theories attempt to explain why the losses of the physiologic roles happen as well as why the losses are slow but sure among the aging people.

In addition, the theories try to explain why the losses are inherent and global as they tend to affect all aging people regardless of their race, tribe or cultural beliefs, or background. Social gerontologists mainly focus on the resultant features of the aging course on the grown-up people and social arrangements as well as the societal position on aging and the effects of their beliefs on aging.

A number of social theories have been formulated to explain the aging process. These include: disengagement theory argues that in the course of aging a person becomes disengaged from other members of the community and the relationship changes in quality. The detachment may either be fully or partly instigated by the aging individual or community. It argues that older people become detached from the members of the community and a new kind of relationship emerges with the community. In addition, aging people become less concerned about their lives compared to their involvement in their middle ages.

Activity theory emphasizes the aging individual current social occupation in that the theory acknowledges that if an aging person continues performing his/her usual roles or responsibilities in society then their self-concept is not lost. A person should take new roles to compensate for those that are lost due to the aging process. It advocates for older people to remain active in society and acquire new friends.

The life-course theory argues that aging is a process made up of various stages where the aging person is faced with a disaster or problem that they must get a solution before moving to the subsequent stage. The theory argues that aging people should accept their new living conditions such as less income, waning body strength and health, satisfaction with new aging activities such as playing with kids, and augmented leisure. The acceptance of all these factors assists them to easily grow and move to the next stage of development without any difficulties.

On the other hand, continuity theory argues that aging people attempt to conserve and sustain interior and exterior arrangements through utilizing tactics that retain continuity. This implies that aging people may opt to apply recognizable tactics in familiar spots of life. In order to adapt to the new lifestyles aging people tend to use continuity as a survival strategy to cope with new changes I their lives.

Of the four theories, I consider the activity theory to be the best as it attempts to encourage aging people to perform their duties and responsibilities in society without being made feel inferior or without the strength to undertake their activities. This boosts their self-esteem and their confidence to live normally without feeling different. Aging does not mean a life of entire leisure rather an individual must be encouraged to take up new activities or duties less exhaustive.

The theory will assist me to approach my old age by encouraging me to remain active throughout society and take up new friends as I grow old. In addition, I can now understand that old people tend to be left out or cut out from society activities but they ought to be encouraged to remain active by taking up new duties and responsibilities less demanding.

During the aging process, an individual faces various changes and there is a great need to adapt to the new changes. These changes include biological, psychological, and social that tend to affect the aging individual. For instance, the individual strength and health declines as well as the income because the individual has to retire. Many aging people remain active in society by carrying out research or taking up new duties that assist society in dealing with aging considering that these are individuals who have lived for a long time period hence they have experience on various changes and problems that people encounter at various stages of life.


Anacy R. Hooyman & Asuman Kiyak H. (2005), social gerontology, New York: Pearson publishers.

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