Three categories to Aging

1. Introduction

What is old? What is ageing?

There are three classs for older grownups ‘ ages, “young old” , “old old” and “oldest old” ( Papalia et al. , 2009 ) . Young old is suggested as the age from 65 to 74 ; old old is suggested as the age from 75 to 84 whereas oldest old is suggested as the age of 85 and the above.

Ageing is a natural procedure in which it can be described in two dimensions. Primary ripening is the gradual, inevitable procedure of ageing. It is ineluctable. It occurs throughout old ages even with efforts/ engineering which are used to assist to decelerate the ripening procedure down. The secondary ripening is evitable, as it consequences from disease, maltreatment. For case, holding a healthy life style might assist to cut down the hazards of come ining secondary ripening or detain the entrance.

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In a rapid developing society like Hong Kong, people seem to avoid speaking about aging and position ripening as a negative procedure instead than a natural procedure. Therefore, agism becomes one of the societal jobs in Hong Kong. Traxler has given the definition that if a individual or a group of people who are subordinated because of the age by any agencies ( e.g. action, attitude or by an establishment ) it would be classified as agism.

Aging state of affairs in Hong Kong

Harmonizing to the U.S. Census Bureau, International Database, the Hong Kong population pyramids 2010 has predicted that the dominant age group would be the 45-49 year-old people in which it would be near to 400 000 among the whole population in Hong Kong. The population of other age groups, 40-44 and 50-54 would be similar and close to the 45-49 group. By 2050, the prima age group would be the 80+ where the female 80+ population would acquire near to 700 000 while other age groups would stay similar and remain under 300 000 ( National Master, 2003 ) . The length of service is one of the possible grounds of the alteration of the population pyramids with the sweetening on medical engineerings, the better bar or anticipation of diseases, the higher criterion of life and so on. Ageing is ineluctable and it is an inevitable procedure for life. Because of this ground, I believe it is of import to understand ageing in footings of theories and from that to develop possible solutions to undertake the job or to smoothen the version of the demographic alterations in Hong Kong.


The aims of this paper are:

( 1 ) To overview aging and agism in footings of different theories,

( 2 ) To offer some possible solutions to advance positive images of ageing

2. Theoretical Positions

Disengagement Theory

This is a psychosocial construct to province that older grownups will bit by bit withdraw in a society ( The Medical Dictionary, 2009 ) . They are said to be inactive and being uninterested towards their possible engagement in the society. This theory has bias towards agism and has given people the negative point of position of aging.

Work/ occupation related detachment

When older grownups retire, the chiefly detachment is caused by their maps in society. Some of them halt working when they retire and are said to be “non-functional” towards the on the job field. Some would go on their work ( portion clip or full clip ) . However, some older grownups that wish to go on their work ever suffer in hard job-seeking procedure. Employability for them seems to be low or lower in Hong Kong. It might be possible that some of them have accumulated much experience and in return the current rewards would non be satisfied for them. It would stop up that retirement would go a passage for them with a decrease in their incomes. In contrast, some less educated older grownups might non be able to vie with younger jobseekers. Such two diverse grounds could utilize to explicate why the employability for older grownups is low.

Family relationship related detachment

One of the grounds of the demographic alterations would be the hold of matrimony and it could perchance detain the life-transitions ( Harper, 2004 ) . For illustration, come ining tardily maturity subsequently than the expected age, there are people confounding about the term “middle age” in which they believe that in-between age could intend people that are 65+ in age ( Papalia et al. , 2009 ) ) Because of that ground, there is possible that older grownups see detachment with their kids who leave place.

Alternatively, disengagement theory assumes that older grownups have a inclination to acquire affect with people with similar ages organizing a so called “homogenous group” ( The Medical Dictionary, 2009 ) . In my ain point of position, I would believe that older grownups are withdrawing and from that new battle is needed. While prosecuting with “new people” in which they are of similar ages with the older grownups, they create or regain something that is meaningful or of value to them. There seems to be a contradiction between the premise of the theory and its pessimistic account of ageing. In add-on, there is besides unfavorable judgment for detachment theory as it provides a negative point of position of ageing ; it tends to reenforce the stereotypes of older grownups. For cases, older grownups are useless, inactive, withdrawn, etc ( Palmore, 1999 ) .

Clinical Models

These are represented by medical, biological and naturalist theories. The chief emphasize would be that the physical alterations on the older grownups. The physical alterations are referred in term of biological positions. The nature of the model seems non to be focused on the sociological position. However, the models highlight a present alteration or sometimes viewed as an issue by people – the higher life anticipations. Dozois has stated that the promotion of medical specialty have led to greater length of service. When people have noticed the alteration in proportion of older grownups over the population in the last century, agism is worsen ( 2006 ) . Peoples raise concerns and accentuate that older grownups are non-productive. Non-productive in this instance claims that older grownups consume tonss of resources but in return they do non lend toward what they have consumed. The big figure of non-productive people might impact the society ( chiefly the economic side ) in which the huge bulk people would see as a concern ( Dozois, 2006 )

Associating such models to Hong Kong, some people believe that the authorities would necessitate to pay more attending to the aging society. As a consequence, the public assistance system in Hong Kong might see a high demand state of affairs in the coming following 10 old ages forth while the Hong Kong population is altering. Simultaneously, when Hong Kong is confronting so many different economic crises, the quickly germinating economic relationships with China and other states, ageing would function as a factor that affects the Hong Kong economic system. In the hereafter, the authorities might necessitate to increase revenue enhancement rate when covering with the big population of older grownups who are eligible to using the old age allowance ( OAA ) in Hong Kong as one of the societal public assistance services. Consequently, the society might set forward a more negative image for the older grownups in Hong Kong. It is like a round causality to hike agism.

Activity Theory

In my sentiment, activity theory is the antonym of the detachment theory as it describe ageing in a much more positive point of view. It fundamentally says that how a individual is being constructed in two major focused beginnings, ( 1 ) What they do and ( 2 ) The functions they have in their lives ( Roy and Russel, 2005 ) .

Similar to disengagement theory, activity theory claimed that people “give up” or “force to give up” functions as they age. When they retire from work, when they lose their spouses, bead out of professional, nines, brotherhoods and so on. Those are the parts that keeping a individual together as w whole. The sudden alterations cause by the retirement might go the cue of why older grownups would cut down their sense of individuality. Harmonizing to the humanistic theory, there are two egos, the existent ego and the ideal ego ( Nolen-Hoeksema et al. , 2009 ) . The existent ego is referred as how people understand one individual in which the individual acknowledge himself or herself from his/her surrounding and some personal positions. The ideal ego is what the individual wants himself or herself to be. The decreased sense of individuality might be caused by the changing or losing of functions enlarge the disagreement between the existent ego and the ideal ego. Roy and Russel suggest that activity theory should come to put that older grownup should prosecute in activities ( E.g. fall ining nines or developing new avocations ) . Older grownups could develop new functions to replace or replace those old and force-to-be-given-up functions. The theory has concluded the importance of late life activities in which to reconstruct, keep or heighten the wellbeing of the older grownups ( 2005 ) .

Rather than nailing the negative impact of ageing like detachment theory, the activity theory could be served as grounds on why there is a demand to advance the community engagement for older grownups

Exchange Theory

The exchange theory merely states that people should stop the relationship with another individual if nil can be gained or exchanged from that individual. This theory has shown its capitalistic point of position. The premise of the theory is that people operate in order to derive stuff or non-material wagess and besides people would seek to maintain the gained benefits ( Moberg, 2001 ) .

There are many exchanges in which that could impact one ‘s 3Ps ( 3Ps are referred as power, prestigiousness and ownerships ) . The 3Ps are the three component derived from the societal stratification. Social goods might non be concrete like stuff ownerships, but besides including other abstract points like psychological satisfaction and experiential pleasance ( Moberg, 2001 ) .

Older grownups that could afford their ain life could hold relations that would desire to trust on them and seting the relations or household in a dependent state of affairs. Consequently, those older grownups seem to maintain their personal power in which they could act upon on others every bit good as commanding their ain activities with their affordability such as fiscal wealth. They provide e.g. fiscal support to the relations in return to maintain their power.

Older grownups that could non supply valuable things to their household or relations might derive merely small power within or outside the household. As they lose the power because of being a lower category, when they retire, they would happen carry throughing the 3Ps as a difficult procedure for them in which they are said to be oppressed because of societal stratification. They would hold nil to exchange. Some concealed older grownups in Hong Kong could good be a instance of losing the 3Ps.

3. Possible Solutions to undertake the current state of affairs

Widen the retirement ages – Supplying opportunities harmonizing to the demographic alterations

There is no statutory retirement age in Hong Kong but people that turning to their in-between age would happen it difficult to seek for a occupation, so make the older grownups. To supply more alterations and concentrate on advancing occupation chances for older grownups could cut down opportunities for older grownups to endure in poorness and fiscal troubles. Furthermore, it can besides widen the older grownups ‘ battle with the society and rejecting the clinical model that older grownups could non lend to the society. Hopefully, it could assist to alter the colored perceptual experience of ageing and it might assist Hong Kong to accommodate the demographic alterations.

Information engineering ( IT ) for older grownups – Geting older grownups to affect

Possible work could be done in IT with older grownups that could function as a variegation as it is society oriented or situational.

With the support from the activity theory, there is a demand to acquire the older grownups to be involved. However, with the altering society, it has become a to a great extent technology-based society. Isolating the older grownups might non be the best solution and it has besides deteriorated agism in Hong Kong. As a consequence, IT should be considered and be served as a tool to assist the older grownups to recover their individuality in the society.

Let ‘s get down with presenting two bing engineerings:

a. Personal Emergency Link

One of the popular engineerings that are related to older grownups in Hong Kong would be the “Personal Emergency Link ( PE nexus ) ” . Such engineering has been used since 1996. The service operates by linking the PE nexus users through a alleged advanced communicating system to a 24-hour PE nexus Centre. By pressing the portable remote trigger, the PE nexus users would be connected and be able to speak to person in the PE nexus call Centre. In add-on, the medical history of the user would be saved within the PE nexus administration database and would direct to the infirmary when there is an exigency.

However, such service can merely be used at place and merely profit to those that can afford or can use for support. This service is non cosmopolitan and might move as a load for older grownups in Hong Kong. If such service could non cover the huge bulk of older grownups in Hong Kong, how do we measure the effectivity of such service? Furthermore, as the PE nexus could merely utilize at place, it can non assist when the older grownups travel out. It besides requires the pressing action in order to assist advising the people in the PE nexus call Centre.

B. Global Positioning System

Global Positioning System ( GPS ) is well-known among the nomadic users as GPS is integrated into the nomadic phone for easiness of hunt different locations. Recently, there is probe of GPS in Hong Kong. Assisted Global Positioning System based ( AGPS-based ) Elderly tracking system is being implemented in Hong Kong in an experimental degree ( Wong et al. , 2009 ) . Such system utilizes the mature engineering – Global positioning system in order to track and place a individual in out-of-door environment. In this experimental phase, the tried older single demands to transport the device out with them in which some of the participants would happen it “awkward” . Further development of such engineering is needed with possible integrating of AGPS-based aged trailing system within the nomadic phone. In add-on, there is a demand to better its serviceability in indoor scenes ( Wong et al. , 2009 ) .

Both systems have shown how engineering could assist to better older grownups ‘ lives and there are many different assistive engineerings to assist bettering older grownups ‘ lives. But how we could do older grownups take part in the IT-based communicating society that is one of the dimensions that societal worker should necessitate to see.

It seems that the two engineerings have their advantages and disadvantages ; nevertheless they alert the society, the authorities or the people that it is really of import to hold careful planning when covering with older grownups. What ‘s more, sometimes, it is indispensable to alter older grownups ‘ perceptual experience towards ageing every bit good as the general populace. To vie with the fast turning engineering, the perceptual experience determining towards “IT for older adults” would necessitate to be surveies to let utile agencies of intercession. However, it takes clip for the society to be “reshaped” .

With the possible increasing utilizations of cyberspace in the hereafter, societal security for older grownups could go a concern. Older grownups might go a mark for offenses in which they might expose their personal information. A long-run attack of using IT for older grownups might be more suited with proper instruction with any safety issues. There is ever hard to hold a balance between the advantages and disadvantages of engineering.

“IT for older adults” might go a future tendency in Hong Kong with the ageing society and the demand of the germinating information society. However, the cooperation between the authorities, societal workers, older grownups and any other stakeholders would be disputing. It is of import to understand and to update the cognition while implementing programmes every bit good as developing some unique engineerings for older grownups in Hong Kong. Last but non least, to measure the possible issues or jobs that could do by the promotion of IT.

Social workers should seek to step in in different degrees and understand their duties in assisting older grownups to set up societal webs or their position in the information society. Referred to the societal stratifications, the three elements are important and one of them would be the position. The position that would be established in the information society might hold an of import consequence in corroborating older grownups ‘ societal position in the society. Consequently, to redefine older grownups as worthies as other people in different age group and to cut down the possible position worsening state of affairs.

Micro degree

Reding online, in which cyberspace would go a platform for older grownups to show their sentiments and to happen societal worker to speak to. There is no uncertainty that some older grownups tend non to seek for aid from societal workers as sometimes they believe that societal workers are working for those that are in poorness or disables. Some older grownups do non understand the nature of societal work profession. By utilizing IT, societal workers might be able to develop a more diverse societal map in the society.

Mezzo degree

IT programmes for older grownups could let older grownups to hold entree to computing machines and besides to construct up societal webs through the usage of computing machines every bit good as being involved in the categories fulfilling the description of activity theory. In add-on, older grownups who join the IT programmes would interchange something of valuable to them, for illustration new relationship ( friendly relationships ) .

Macro degree

Social worker might necessitate to see and measure the handiness of IT to older grownups. Because of that, societal workers would necessitate to understand and fit themselves with the up-to-dated engineerings. In add-on, there is a demand for better communicating between societal workers and the Hong Kong authorities, because when the society is altering and developing into an “information society” , there is a demand for the authorities to see germinating the public assistance. By developing public assistance services with IT for the older grownups, societal workers might necessitate to raise the importance of this new construct.

Social Movement and Social Campaign – Changing the stereotypic perceptual experiences

Following the old portion – the macro degree intercession for IT, societal workers should move as a assisting professional to assist organizing societal motion to contend for the public assistance for older grownups. At the same clip, they should foreground the importance of such motion or run to the authorities and the general populace. It is non merely the duty of the authorities to supply equal resources to the older grownups ; it is besides the duty for the society. The Hong Kong society seems to pretermit the particular demands of older grownups with the limited installations that the society has provided for older grownups. I believe by altering the perceptual experiences and consolidate the apprehension of demographic alteration and ageing to the general populace, the consciousness could be raised. Social motion and societal run could function as a signifier of community instruction and a accelerator to influence policy development in Hong Kong.

4. Decision

Theories help to explicate agism nevertheless they could besides be served as an accent of agism and supplying the negative image of ageing. Social workers should ever fit themselves with related theories to understand such inequality in a long term position. Furthermore, societal workers should besides hold up-to-date information on such societal phenomenon which allows them to incorporate theories with current state of affairss. Consequently, societal workers would supply precise or related intercession.

For this paper, one of the chief decisions is that societal workers in Hong Kong should seek to alter the present negative perceptual experience of ageing for both the older grownups and the general populace as a primary measure to work out agism. Supplying occupation chances for older grownups, incorporating older grownups with IT every bit good as organizing societal motion and run could be some possible country in which societal worker could work on collaborating with theories.

5. Mentions

Currey, R. ( 2008 ) . Ageism in health care: Time for a alteration. Aging Well, 1 ( 1 ) , 16.

Dozois, E. ( 2006 ) . Ageism: A reappraisal of the literature. Alberta: Word on the Street Consulting Ltd..

Harper, S. ( 2004 ) , Families in Aging Societies – A Multi-Disciplinary Approach. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 4th December 2009 from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Moberg, D. ( 2001 ) . Aging and spiritualty: Religious dimensions of aging theory, research, pattern, and policy. Binghamton, New York: Haworth Pastoral Press.

National Master ( 2003 ) . Hong Kong Population Pyramid 1990 – 2050. Retrieved 1st December, 2009 from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Nolen-Hoeksema, S. , Fredrickson, B.L. , Loftus, G.R. , Wagenaar, W.A. , ( 2009 ) Atkinson and Hilgard ‘s Introduction to Psychology ( 15th ed. ) . Thomson: Wadsworth.

Palmore, E. . ( 1999 ) . Ageism: Negative & A ; Positive. Springer Printing Company.

Papalia, D.E. , Olds, S.W. , Feldman, R.D. & A ; Gross, D. ( 2009 ) . Human Development ( 11th ed. ) . McGrawHill, Boston

Roy, H. , & A ; Russel, C. ( 2005 ) . The encyclopaedia of aging and the aged. MedRounds Publications.

The Medical Dictionary. ( 2009 ) . Disengagement Theory. Retrieved October 22, 2009 from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Traxler, A. J. ( 1980 ) . Let ‘s acquire gerontologized: Developing a sensitiveness to aging. The multi-purpose senior centre construct: A preparation manual for practicians working with the aging. Springfield, IL: Illinois Department of Aging.

Wolf, L. ( 1998 ) . Ageism: An debut. Retrieved thirtieth October, 2009 from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Wong, A. K. S. , Woo, T. K. , Lee, A. T. , Xiao, X. , Luk, V. W. , ( 2009 ) . An AGPS-Based Elderly Tracking System. Retrieved 1st December, 2009 from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Youth Rights Network. ( 2007 ) . Ageism. Retrieved thirtieth October, 2009 from hypertext transfer protocol: // title=Ageism



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