Cultural beliefs shape social norms and values surrounding the aging process and the role of older people. These beliefs about aging are not static—they shift and change as society evolves. We then explore positive and negative aging myths that perpetuate ageism and their impact on older adults.
How do different cultures view the elderly?
Some groups revere and respect their oldest members, while others see them as senile and incompetent, making them the butt of jokes. In some societies, children care for their parents at home, while in other cultures, children put their parents in homes where others care for them.
How does our culture view aging and the aged?
Many believe it is our culture’s negative depiction of aging. In many other cultures, however, old age is revered. The elderly are highly valued, and the process of aging is embraced. Below are some examples of how cultural attitudes toward aging in non-US countries affect the life experiences of their inhabitants.
What is the cultural perception of aging?
According to social representations theory (Moscovici, 1984, 1988) the views of aging held within a given culture are a form of shared cultural representation. They constitute systems of ideas, values, and customs related to aging that are treated by members of the society as if they were established reality.
What does culture do with age?
The interaction between age and culture can have various implications for cognition as age represents the effect of biological processes whereas culture represents the effect of sustaining experiences. Nevertheless, their interaction has rarely been examined.
What are examples of cultural beliefs?
Customs, laws, dress, architectural style, social standards, religious beliefs, and traditions are all examples of cultural elements.
How do traditional societies care for their elderly?
In traditional societies, they care for the elderly in their homes which gives them a revered position and better quality of life. Modern societies will probably not go back to that because of the time and care involved, especially for families where both parents work.
Does an aging society mean an aging culture?
An aging society may mean less innovation, less risk-taking, and more conservative values. But it also may mean a wiser culture that is more protective of its assets, including its young people. As the culture ages, the social temperament will grow more conservative and less flexible.
How does Western society treat the elderly?
This perception makes westerners deal with aging differently than in most eastern countries. In contrast to many Asian cultures where old means wise, in western mindsets old age means forgetfulness and irrelevancy. They are treated more like children who do not understand the current world due to advanced technology.
Is age part of culture?
Age As A Cultural Construct And The Study Of Age As A Cultural Practice. Social scientists who study culture recognize such differences as problems to be explained. But, in this case, age is a characteristic of neither a person nor a collectivity, but of culture, of the symbolic apparatus of a social order.
How does culture influence our habits?
If culture fosters a more extroverted personality style, we can expect more need for social interaction. Additionally, Individualistic cultures foster more assertive and outspoken behavior. When the general population encourages these gregarious behaviors, more ideas are exchanged and self-esteem increases.
How does culture impact age stratification?
The modernization theory of age stratification says that as a culture becomes more modern, urban, and industrialized, the less access to power older adults have.
Why is it important to consider diversity in older age?
The diversity seen in older age is not random. Public health professionals, and society as a whole, need to address these and other ageist attitudes, which can lead to discrimination, affect the way policies are developed and the opportunities older people have to experience healthy aging.
Why the age of culture is important?
In addition to its intrinsic value, culture provides important social and economic benefits. With improved learning and health, increased tolerance, and opportunities to come together with others, culture enhances our quality of life and increases overall well-being for both individuals and communities.
How does age impact society?
Societal aging can affect economic growth, patterns of work and retirement, the way that families function, the ability of governments and communities to provide adequate resources for older adults, and the prevalence of chronic disease and disability.
What are the cross cultural attitudes towards aging?
Across both cultures and regardless of their own age, respondents reported age-associated declines in physical and mental functioning but relative stability in social and emotional domains.