Ageing Theories

Explaining disengagement and Activity theory

Activity Theory

In 1966 someone came up with the idea that older people needed to disengage, but that they also needed to remain active in order to prevent disengagement from going too far. This person was called Bromley. Bromley said 'it is not sufficient merely to provide facilities for elderly people'. They need to educate to make use of them and encouraged to get rid of apathetic attitudes and fixed habits. Bromley said that it is important to remain mentally active and maintain an interest in life and enjoy others company.

Disengagement theory

Disengagement means to withdraw from involvement. In 1961, two authors named Cumming and Henry put forward a disengagement theory that older people would naturally tend to withdraw from social involvement with others as they got older. Older people would have restricted opportunities to interact with others. Poor mobility or problems with hearing or vision may make interaction with other people more difficult. Many people retire to areas away from friends and relatives. Family members may move away from older people in order to seek better housing or employment. Retiring from work may mean less contact with colleagues in a social setting. If friends or relatives have poor mobility or other disabilities they may have reduced social contact with you.