Aging is a long term process of change for both individuals and populations.
However, the concept and process of aging are surrounded by considerable controversy and suspect evidence. Human aging is a process of differentiation and individualization. Aging has two integral elements – intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic aging means those age-related processes that are internal and specific to the individual, while extrinsic aging comprises those age-related changes that are brought about by external factors related to the physical and social environment of the individual (United Nations,1982 ). Older persons, who were born at a particular historical time, and in a particular region and society, belong to a cohort sharing similar social and historical experiences, life-styles and other characteristics which differentiate them from other older persons born at different historical periods in diverse social situations. Individuals derive social meanings and develop expectations regarding themselves, their families and their society as they grow older from these processes of aging and within the context of social, historical, cultural and economic situations.
Paper presented in the National Conference on ‘Transforming the lives of the oppressed and the under privileged through social work’, 15th March 2013, Department of Social Work, Hindu College, Chennai
Today we have Twenty 20 Cricket match. We have fun and it’s thrilling. And it’s over in a few hours. You are famous overnight. Very much result oriented. Social Work is also increasingly being seen in the same manner by many – individual donors or CSR-Corporate Social Responsibility or govt or even a bilateral organisation. In this context, Michael Reisch aptly says that ‘social work practice is forced to shift from long term sustainability to short term outcomes’ (Michael Reisch, 2011). The face of ‘Social Work’ is forced to change by other agents who are behaving as ring masters than the wish of the stake holders. If we, the professional social workers succumb to this, soon all our theories of conscentisation, Community Organisation, Case work, etc may have to be restructured to suit the quick fix approach!
Studies on ageing conclude that institutional care of the elderly is not desirable for their emotional well - being, though their basic needs of food, clothing and shelter are met by the homes for the aged. Further, such an approach for the welfare of the elderly would legitimize the segregation of the elderly from their homes and familiar surroundings. In financial terms, homes for the aged are costly propositions while the number of beneficiaries is very small. As an elder care service, institutionalization should be considered only as the last resort.
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