A person is ready to disengage when they are aware of the short time remaining in their life and they no longer wish to fulfill their current social roles; and society allows for disengagement in order to provide jobs for those coming of age, to satisfy the social needs of a nuclear family, and because people die.
The Social Disengagement theory suggested that as people move into later adulthood, they begin to withdraw from the roles that were once important in their lives and start to disengage from social relationships too.
The disengagement theory of aging claims that it is natural and acceptable for older adults to withdraw from society and personal relationships as they age.
The disengagement theory of ageing states that ” aging is an inevitable, mutual withdrawal or disengagement, resulting in decreased interaction between the aging person and others in the social system he belongs to “. The theory claims that it is natural and acceptable for older adults to withdraw from society.
An example of disengagement theory if an older adult who has heart disease may develop shortness of breath may be unable to continue daily walks with their friends. The older adult will develop less contact with friends which may lead to fading friendships.
Over time, many adult children find that their aging parents and grandparents start to become more and more withdrawn.
Activities to Keep You Engaged and Socially Active
The most damning critiques of disengagement theory argued that much disengagement from social roles was involuntary, occurring, for example, through widowhood and retirement. For all its faults, disengagement theory at least tried to be a theory, but it was not precisely conceptualized, making it difficult to test.
Which is a social issue that many elderly females discover they are victims of? Having their medical ailments trivialized by doctors. How do elderly widows and widowers react to death of their significant other?
This theory assumes that as you grow older you will begin to withdraw yourself from society and only keep contact with close friends and family. The theory states that if this happens then it will benefit both older people and the social system.
Some aging is caused by the body, such growth spurts children go through during puberty. Aging can also be accumulative, such as the onset of skin damage due to excessive sun exposure. Aging is ultimately a combination of physiological changes in our bodies and the environmental factors we are exposed to.
Such causes of aging include but are not limited to oxidative stress, glycation, telomere shortening, side reactions, mutations, aggregation of proteins, etc. In other words, it is the progressive damage to these structures and functions that we perceive and characterize as aging.
Programmed Theories of Aging Programmed theories assert that the human body is designed to age and there is a certain biological timeline that bodies follow. All of these theories share the idea that aging is natural and “programmed” into the body.
Disengagement theory, developed by Cumming and Henry in the 1950s, emphasizes in contrast to activity theory that older adults should not be discouraged from following their inclination towards solitude and greater inactivity.
Programmed aging refers to the idea that senescence in humans and other organisms is purposely caused by evolved biological mechanisms to obtain an evolutionary advantage. The theories also make predictions regarding the nature of biological aging mechanisms and therefore suggest research directions.
Three major psychosocial theories of aging— activity theory, disengagement theory, and continuity theory —are summarized and evaluated.