It elderly, to understand the satisfaction of

         It would not be possible to explore the varyingof attitudes towards the care of the elderly for every culture or country. Iwill focus on two cultures that are noticeably different from Western culture:Africa and of South/Southeast Asia. The previous are of interest because of theundergoing economic development. This lets us see the care received by eldersin culturally traditional parts of the world even the changes in that care andthe attitudes associated with the spread of modernization andindustrialization. The greatest attention needs to be given to elder care aselders no longer have the respect and good care afforded them in traditionalculture but do not yet have admittance to the government-funded andinstitutionalized care provided by more developed countries. Many areas inSouth and Southeast Asia are still enduring economic development and are discoveringit is a challenge to change from a traditional society where there was familysupport and a cultural emphasis on taking care of the elderly to a modernsociety that does make this a part of their values. Transformation is takingplace in some countries in this area, the family support systems for elder careare breaking down and in other countries it is not.

“A rapid ageing populationcoupled with changes in family structure has brought about profoundimplications to social policy in China. Although the past decade hasseen a steady increase in public funding to long-term care (LTC), the narrowfinancing base and vast population havecreated significant unmet demand, calling for reforms in financing.” (Yang)     While globalization and the need forcommunication add to the feeling that the world is getting smaller and the wisdomof a unity of culture, is not true. Even inside Western civilizations, thereare misconceptions in the specifics of how the elderly are cared for.

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Socialpolicies regarding the care of the elderly vary across the globe. Even withincultural regions, there can be a large variation. There are still areas in theworld that have a different attitude toward the treatment and care of theirsociety’s elders.

Increasingglobalization and social issues as to how to care for and requirements for theelderly within society are becoming international issues rather than just localor national ones. There is an emphasis on governments having the chiefresponsibility to indorse, offer, and guarantee the access to basic socialservices including the detailed needs of older persons. Also, they need toinclude that there is a need to work with local authorities, nongovernmentorganizations, volunteers and charitable agencies, the elderly and theirfamilies to help in realizing these goals. Recognizing the rights of all people,including the elderly, to understand the satisfaction of the highest possiblestandard of physical and mental health.

We must recognize the importance offamily, helpers, and other groups in providing care for our older people inaddition to the amenities provided by government and the necessity to reinforceunity among generations to reassure equally approachable relationships.                                           A Worldwide Problem     As medical developments continue tobring about more enhancements for longevity, the quantity of elders not only inthe United States but around the world remains on the rise. According to theUnited Nations, there is an upward trend on the road to lower birth and deathrates everywhere in the world. As a result, the amount of elderly people incultures and societies is on the rise and is predicted to continue to rise wellinto the coming times. According to statistics 205 million people aged sixtyyears or older. Over the first half of the worldwide population of people sixtyor older are expected to expand to the billions.

Longevity is growing, sincepeople aged eighty years or older are the fastest growing part of the worldwidepopulation. The speed of aging is increasing more rapidly in emerging countriesthan in advanced countries, which means that even with the other issues of financialdevelopment, these countries will also have to rapidly deal with the problem oftheir aging people. “Old age is the closing period of the life span. It is aperiod when people ‘move away’ from previous more desirable periods or times of’usefulness’. Old age is considered as a curse being associated withdeterioration of all physical, psychological factors, isolation from social,economic and other activities. Socially, this stage was considered as the totalof one’s lived experiences. Hence, the society offered a space of respect tothe old.

In such a society, the aged were the repositories, transmitters, andsole authorities of wisdom and knowledge. All these provided a ‘golden age’concept to this stage, old age. Adjustment is a process involving both mentaland behavioral responses by which an individual strives to cope with innerneeds, tensions, frustrations and conflicts and to bring harmony between theseinner demands and those imposed upon him by the world in which he lives if theconflicts are solved to satisfy the individual needs within the tenets approvedby the society the individual is considered adjusted. Adjustments in old ageare difficult because of the limited capacity of the old, their diminishingenergy and declining mental abilities. The degree of success depends upon theindividual’s adaptability.

The world will not adopt itself to the elderly, onlythe elderly will have to adopt themselves to the world.” (Panday)Growing Amounts of the Aging     Older or elderly what constitutes old age.Man has decided what age that should be. In the bible people live a lot longer thanwe do. Have you heard the saying as old as Methuselah? Most advanced nations havedecided that the consecutive age of sixty-five years is considered elderly.

Thisis associated with the age that a person can receive social security or pensionbenefits. There is not a general agreement on what is to be old. Society has decidedto push out the elderly. They are posing the question as to what should be donewith them and where should they live. “We consider a model with a population consisting ofearners and retired persons; elderlycare is publicly provided.

We show how the externalities related to populationmobility lead to an inefficient spatial distribution of earners and retirees,and we characterize the second-best solution. Decentralization of this solutionin a fiscal federalism structure requires the use of taxes and subsidiesproportional to the number of earners and retired persons living in the city.”Definition of an Elderly Person     When you reflect on elder care, you typicallythink of it in terms of your own family or state. Questions of greatest concernfrequently center around topics of how to best take care of aging parents orother family and how to best plan for your own approaching old age and the carethat may or may not be needed at that time.

These topics, of course, are not limitedto the United States. Across the world, people grow old and need assistancefrom family, friends, the government, or other entities to deal with varyingmental and physical abilities and increasing needs for their wellbeing or othersupport to meet the activities of daily living (i.e., getting their dwelling, minorto major housework, making meals, administering medications in the manner givenby doctor, making calls, taking care of bills). They may need assisted livingcare to (take a bath, get dressed, eating, using the bathroom, getting in orout of bed). The way these questions are responded to and how these issuesresolved regularly differ from country to country, culture to culture.

“It is generallyaccepted that most care, help and support in old age comes from informal sources.An image of the family as an available and responsible source of support has graduallyreplaced and earlier stereotype of the fragmented modern family in industrial societiesas unavailable and unconcerned with the plight of its older generations.” (Jefferies)     The greatest complication to the buildingof a framework for human solidarity, which caters for every member of thesociety especially the elderly, is Western independence. Have you noticed thatthe number of elderly begging in our streets has risen? The drop in new birth rates and bump in long lifearound the world has made the care of the elderly a worldwide concern.

Advancedcountries struggle to take care of the speedily increasing population of olderadults. Though, this problem is compounded in developing countries as growthand change bring with them major changes in culture and society. Contrary to themodernization theory, these changes do not essentially result in a sideliningof older people nor does every society and culture reply in the same way to theburden between modernization and the care of the elderly. Old-style values continuein some areas regardless of modernization, and private or government programsmay be put in place to encourage family care of the elderly. Solidarity Framework Building     As a young child is was taught the TenCommandments. Commandment number five says to “honor thy mother and father.” InExodus 20:12 Amplified Bible (AMP), itstates (12 “Honor (respect, obey, carefor) your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged in theland the Lord your God gives you.  In this verse it says to care for, meaning tocare for thy mother and father as a part of honoring them.

For generations Ihave seen the elderly taken care of by family. It was customary to our family notto place the elderly in an assisted living facility no matter how hard it wasto care for them by their family members. I witnessed my mother take on thissame feat with my Grandparents.

She made sure they were taken care of with noquestions asked. My Grandparents lived to be in their nineties. They were ableto facilitate most of their daily routine by themselves. My grandmother wasstill preparing small meals until she passed. My mother would make sure thatmedications like eyedrops were administered correctly since they had somevision problems. She made sure they were seen by their doctors regularly,picked up prescriptions, did their heavy shopping and made their major meals.At the point my grandparents thought they had become too much of a burden theytold my mother that it was okay for her to place them in assisted living ifthat was what she needed to do to be less of a strain on her even though theywould prefer to remain in their home the remaining part of their life. Sheassured them that she would never do such a thing, that they were her parentsand she would make sure to honor and take care of them.

As a relief for her mydad, siblings, our children and myself would take turns caring for mygrandparents. It is also a less know fact that the caregiver becomes a silentpatient because they are exerting so much of their time and energy caring forthe ill. Now that my grandparents are deceased my parents are wondering if wewill care for them or place them in an assisted living facility since we allwork full-time jobs. Well I plan to care for my parents just like my mothercared for her parents. I may not be at the age that I feel that I will have tohave someone care for me but, I have been told by my son that he can assure andthat I can rest my mind the he will be there to take care of me and that hewill not place me in an assisted living facility. That is one of my worst fearsthat I will have to go to what we call a nursing home.

I think that is the fearof most of our elderly. At some point we all must face this fear and the moderngeneration must stop tossing the elderly to the side believing that they havenothing to offer. They do have a wealth of knowledge to offer, they have seenand endured more that we have.  Becoming Marginalized in Old Age: Our Perception of the Elderly


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