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  1. 1. Introduction to Sociology: Aging
  2. 2. Aging is Both Biological and Sociological ● Aging is both a biological and sociological process wherein human beings experience and accomplish stages of biological and social maturation. ● Aging may be seen as a relatively objective biological process whereby one becomes older and experiences varied biological developments. ● Aging may also be seen as a subjective series of social processes whereby people interpret, negotiate, and make sense of biological development in relation to existing conceptualizations of what it means to be a certain age.
  3. 3. Dividing the lifespan ● The human life can be divided into age spans, like the following: – Infancy – Toddler – Childhood – Adolescence – Young adult – Prime adulthood – Middle age – Old age
  4. 4. Socially Constructed Interpretations of Aging ● What it means to be old or young varies by culture and context. – Some people who are biologically older in terms of their age are still physically quite capable and vice versa
  5. 5. Differential Treatment by Age or Ageism ● Ageism is prejudice based on one's age.
  6. 6. Treatment of the Young ● Ways young people are treated differently: – inability to vote in elections – inability to legally imbibe alcohol or smoke cigarettes – inability to legally engage in sexual activity (this varies by region) – inability to hold public office – inability to determine whether or not one can marry – inability to determine whether or not one can get an abortion (varies by region)
  7. 7. Treatment of the Elderly ● Treatment of the elderly includes restrictions (e.g., driving) but also abuse ● Elder abuse is quite high in the US. ● Also many stereotypes about the elderly and their capabilities.
  8. 8. Age and Income ● Prior to the introduction of Social Security, the elderly where the most impoverished segment of US society ● This has changed as a result of Social Security
  9. 9. Age and Gender ● Women tend to live longer than men ● However, elderly women are more likely to be impoverished than are elderly men
  10. 10. Age and Sexuality ● Sex and sexuality are part of the life course, from very young to very old ● Young children receive messages about sexuality at very early ages. ● Individuals often remain sexually active well into their 70s and 80s.
  11. 11. Age and Race ● There are differences in average life expectancy by race and ethnicity
  12. 12. Aging in the US ● Patterns of aging in the US are intriguing ● Different regions have different median ages – Due to jobs and job prospects in some regions – Due to retirees in other regions
  13. 13. Global Aging Trends ● Most populations around the world are aging, though at very different rates. ● This is closely tied to income and resources