Aging in the U.S. Culture Today Research Paper

Pages: 3 (821 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Death and Dying  (general)

aging U.S. culture

Aging in U.S. Culture

The process of aging is an inherently difficult one. The natural decline of one's physical abilities, one's social independence and one's mental faculties is likely to converge with the transition to retirement, the loss of aging friends and the death of a spouse. Such dramatic and life-changing events are likely to carry extremely challenging emotional and psychological implications for those advancing in years. These events are only compounded by the cultural emphasis on youth that drives the American identity. Perhaps by virtue of our nation's relatively young age or by virtue of our particular mythologies about homesteading, pioneerism, athleticism and virility, we share a cultural tendency to place tragically little value on the elderly. Thus, in addition to the changes and challenges natural to aging anywhere, aging in the United States is often intensified by the sense of having been discarded by society.

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TOPIC: Research Paper on Aging in the U.S. Culture Today Assignment

In the United States, the state of being 'old' is not confined to a specific age but is a characteristic description of the individual who is perceived to have reached a point of diminishing socioeconomic value. The individual will demonstrate the physical impairment, diminished clarity and reduced coherency often associated with the decline of age. And on this point, it is pertinent to distinguish that one must not necessarily have reached an advanced state of decline in order to appear and therefore in order to be perceived by others as being old. The text by Free (2002) denotes that this is a perception of aging that is held as commonplace not just in the U.S. But also in other industrialized societies. Free indicates that "albeit old people in most traditional societies are subject to the same age-related variation in physical changes, they are typically accorded social respect and honor, as well as a significant degree of power and control within their societies. This view of elders in traditional societies is true for both women and men. Conversely, in industrial societies, old age is not generally a revered status and elders may not always be honored within their families or among their friends and other associates, as well as in society at large." (p. 74)

Free argues that the cultural distinctions from one nation to the next regarding the perceptions of the elderly are significantly dependent upon the way that value is placed upon individuals on the whole. In the industrialized society, value is generally perceived… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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