Task 4 - Comparisons of theories

Sarah Jane Rubio

Compare two theories of ageing

The two theories of ageing were Sociological/Psychological. Two major theories explain the psychosocial aspects of ageing in older adults. Disengagement theory views ageing as a process of mutual withdrawal in which older adults voluntarily slow down by retiring, as expected by the society. Supporters of disengagement theory state that mutual social withdrawal benefits both individuals and society. Activity theory, on the other hand, sees a positive link between keeping active and ageing well. Growing old means different things for different people. Individuals who led active lives as young and middle adults will probably remain active as older adults and are most likely to age quickly and become weak, while those who were less active may become more disengaged as they age. As older adults approach the end of their life span, they'll find that they benefit from conducting a life review. The elderly may reminisce for hours on end, take trips to favourite childhood places, or muse over photo albums and scrapbooks. Throughout the process, they look back to try to find the meaning and purpose that characterized their lives. In their quest to find life's meaning, older adults often have a vital need to share their reminisces with loved ones such as friends and family. http://www.cliffsnotes.com/sciences/psychology/development-psychology/psychosocial-development-age-65/theories-of-aging last accessed: 05/06/2015

Changes in demography

This is the study of statistics such as births, deaths, income, or the incidence of disease, which illustrate the changing structure of human populations.

Life expectancy at age 60 reflects the overall mortality level of a population over 60 years. In 2013, the global population aged 60 years can expect to live another 20 years on average, 2 years longer than in 1990. Life expectancy at age 60 in high-income countries (23 years) is 6 years longer than that in low-income and lower-middle income countries (17 years). Life expectancies at age 60 were longer and the increases larger in high-income countries. In such countries, life expectancy at age 60 had increased by almost as much as life expectancy at birth – around three years for both men and women. http://www.who.int/gho/mortality_burden_disease/life_tables/situation_trends_text/en/ last accessed: 05/06/2015

It is a fact of life that men enjoy certain physical advantages over women. On average, men are stronger, taller, faster and less likely to be overweight, as most can agree that they are very athletic and sporty. But none of these attributes seem to matter over the long haul. For whatever the physical virtues of maleness, longevity is not among them. Women, as a group, live longer than men. In all developed countries and most undeveloped ones, women outlive men, sometimes by a margin of as much as 10 years. In the U.S, life expectancy at birth is about 79 years for women and about 72 years for men. Women outnumber men nine to one. The gender gap has widened in this century as gains in female life expectancy have exceeded those for males. The death rates for women are lower than those for men at all ages, even before birth. http://jerrymondo.tripod.com/lgev/id2.html last accessed: 05/06/2015

Changes in later life

There are many temporary changes in the later life that people will experience when they become old and it is very natural. Ageing inevitably means physical decline, some of which may be due to lifestyle, such as poor diet and lack of exercise, rather than illness or the ageing process. Energy reserves reduce. Cells decay. Muscle mass decreases. The immune system is no longer as capable as it once was in guarding against disease. Body systems and organs, such as the heart and lungs, become less efficient. Overall, regardless of people's best hopes and efforts, ageing translates into decline. In older adulthood, people experience both gains and losses. For instance, while energy is lost, the ability to conserve energy is gained. Age also brings understanding, patience, experience, and wisdom - qualities that improve life regardless of the physical changes that may occur. http://www.cliffsnotes.com/sciences/psychology/development-psychology/physical-cognitive-development-65/physical-development-age-65 last accessed: 05/06/2015

Other than the physical and mobility side, there are other effects that will slowly become recognisable, old people will soon realise that their vision may become blurred as well as having hearing loss; they may have reduced metabolism meaning old people will find weight gain is decrease in resting metabolic rate. There are some old people that find it easier to put on weight and others will be fairly underweight which is why it is important for the elderly to be more careful with their intake of food, making sure they are taking enough nutrients and always having a balanced diet but watching out for their salt and sugar.


Examples of ageing associated diseases would be, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease (serious condition where arteries become clogged up by fatty substances), cancer, arthritis, cataracts, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and alzheimers disease. The incidence of all of these diseases increases rapidly with ageing and are very common for those within the old age stage.

Ageing increases vulnerability to age-associated diseases, whereas genetics determines vulnerability or resistance between species and individuals within species. Some age-related changes (like growing grey hair) are said to be unrelated to an increase in mortality. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aging-associated_diseases last accessed: 09/06/2015