Successful Aging as Viewed by Generation X Term Paper

  • Length: 12 pages
  • Sources: 22
  • Subject: Family and Marriage
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #71404341
  • Related Topic: Generation, Aging, Gerontology

Excerpt from Term Paper :

successful aging as viewed by Generation X versus Baby Boomers over the age of

Successful Ageing: Generation X versus Baby Boomers

Numerous studies have focused on understanding and defining the constituents of successful aging. The term "successful aging" is popular in the gerontological literature to cover processes in aging. The processes of aging are positive, and at times, the term has shown relations to "vital aging" or "active aging" implying that later life is characterized by sustained health and vitality. According to Moody (2005), "successful aging" suggests main ideas including life satisfaction, longevity, freedom from disability, mastery, and growth, active management with life and independence.

According to Dubey et al. (2011), as people grow older, they have incidences of illnesses. However, an older population has numerous needs as compared to a younger population. Life satisfaction continues to be an important aspect in the study of aging. This is because it is an accepted condition, which people or scholars use to determine the quality of life. In addition, it is a primary element in successful aging. Prior studies suggest that life satisfaction has a strong relation to socio-demographic and psychosocial variables (Dubey et al., 2011). Old age literally means reduced physical capacity, declined mental capacity, in activeness in socio-economic activities, and a shift to dependence on others.

However, in the coming decade, a good percentage of healthy older adults will be in a position to work past the traditional retirement age. Some Baby Boomers will realize that they will have to work in order to sustain their financial needs, whereas others will work primarily because they enjoy working. Currently, aging is a global challenge. This is because the process of aging is developing very quickly, and it is impossible to predict how its progress will culminate. Aging and over-population are two processes, which run concurrently. This is because while the developed countries feel the effect of the aging processes, the developing countries fight against over-population.

Nevertheless, aging is not only a social and economical issue, but also an important period of life for the concerned people. In one hand, the outcome of spreading growth and welfare results to the poor countries' population grows older. On the other hand, in the developed countries, population growth is slow due to decreased fertility, mortality and emigration of young people (Illes, 2013). It is unfortunate that some people view aging as an entirely negative final stage of the human life span. This is not entirely the case; however, awareness and acceptance of the fact that ageing has physiological, psychological and social determinants will make ageing acceptable or even desirable by adding meaning to life.

Prior studies suggest that when people grow old, they tend to incline to religion mainly because it is a common belief that religion provides social support. Other researchers suggest that religion is proof enough that the concerned people, lack satisfaction with life. Therefore, life satisfaction stands as the primary aspect for successful aging (Dubey et al., 2011). Income and education are two socio-demographic attributes, which influence life satisfaction through psychological factors including activity-physical, leisure activities and social contacts. The current study is specific. It explores successful ageing as perceived by two generations; Generation X and Baby Boomers aiming at examining their view on health, wealth, education, gender, socialization, status, and government's impact.

Satisfaction with Life

Although there is a gloomy view expressed by some individuals concerning aging, some scholars suggest that satisfaction with life increases with age. This suggests that life gets easier and better as people grow old. In support for this statement, a survey of 1400 Australians aged 55-74 years reported that there were numerous positive things associated with aging such as more time and freedom, free to do what one wishes, enjoying the experience and wisdom, and knowledge. A typical example is the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index, which carries out telephone interviews with a sample of 2000 adults (Howe and Danoth, 1997).

On a ten-point scale, personal well-being constitutes average score on seven elements of individuals lives, standard of living, health, achievements in life, personal relationships, safety, personal sense of belonging and financial security. This survey revealed that satisfaction with life increases with age, ranging to around 80% for those aged 76 and over. This category of people expresses the highest percentage on satisfaction with life, a correct trend for all the seven aspects of life satisfaction. In addition, the survey revealed that satisfaction with relationships concerning spouses, friends, and family scores the highest (Cummins e.t al. 2002).

Active Ageing

Scholars are discarding past theories of ageing, such as role theory and disengagement theory in favor of positive views because psychological, social, economical, and environmental factors have substantial influence on ageing. Past theories were negative about the ageing process, equating it with the loss of status and social separation. For instance, the role theory says that throughout life; people play numerous roles to assist with developing self-concepts, norms of behaviors and defining the person. However, the roles change with the rate at which the people, circumstances, and environments change (Hooyman and Kiyak, 1988). Nevertheless, the theory suggests that older people suffer "role loss" when their identity as a worker fail to complement emerging roles.

From a positive view, older people provide a developing market for education and training. This is because lifelong learning is significant, for advancing skills, which can offer invaluable assistance in voluntary work or managing personal affairs. This suggests that older people can learn. In support of this, numerous studies reveal positive impacts on both physical and mental health among the elderly who participate in further education. It is appropriate to encourage older people to participate in formal education for them to adapt to the dynamic workplace. Another positive aspect is that science and technology has potential positive impacts on the older people.

Information technology including computers, internet can provide opportunities for the older people. On the other hand, internet access can overcome functional and geographic challenges and create many opportunities including business, banking, leisure, and access to information (Scott, 1999). This is a positive view of the older people, which has seen to expansion of technology, financial assistance, and training programs to allow the older people to take part in information technology. The perception that older people are technophobes is incorrect, since, for instance, the baby boomer generation, with appropriate training, conduct shopping online.

Overview of the Generations

A generation refers to people who share similar formative events and trends, headlines and heroes, music and mood, parenting style and education approaches. These people evolve across time, learn as they grow, but their perceptions concerning the world do not change. In addition, different generations vary in the way they view things because they came of age in unique eras (AARP, 2007). Therefore, it is apparent their views on vital issues as leadership, politics, communications, and decision-making are divergent (AARP, 2007).

The names and dates of birth for the generations differ from one generation to the other. This study will comment on the Baby Boom generation, comprising of people born between 1946 and 1964, and the Generation X comprising of people born between 1965 and 1980 (AARP, 2007). In America, the Greatest Generation refers to the Americans who fought in the World War II. The remnant of the war went o to build and rebuild the United States. On the other hand, the Silent Generation refers to the people born between the two World Wars. They were too young to offer any help, therefore, could not join the service when the war begun.

Baby Boomers Generation

The Baby Boomers represent the dominant generation, which defied many records in their time as being the largest population. This generation resulted due to a substantial increase in the rates of birth during the end of the Second World War. Therefore, this generation dates back to 1946, and its end was around the year 1964. People in this age group, or this generation are competitors who commit their lives to work. They do this for the sake of their families, and they did this to an extent of securing dual jobs, which resulted to personal struggles and increased divorce rates (DelCampo et. al., 2010). The same generation utilized the idealism approach, but often lacked time management skills in their rush to achieve everything. Nevertheless, the trend is evident currently because their commitment to their jobs has made most of the boomers suggest that they will never retire. However, the statement does not hold because research comments that baby boomers retire at a rate of over 8,000 per day.

Generation X

The rise of Generation X seemed to challenge the baby boomer's optimistic nature with defiance. This generation was born around 1965 and 1980. Currently, people who constitute this generation age 28-48. Notably, this generation experienced a comfortable growing, during their childhood ages. However, they did not favor workaholic and divorcing parents. In addition, they also resent governmental corruption (DelCampo et. al., 2010). Owing to their self-centeredness, they tend…

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