Cultural beliefs shape social norms and values surrounding the aging process and the role of older people. These beliefs about aging are not static—they shift and change as society evolves. We then explore positive and negative aging myths that perpetuate ageism and their impact on older adults.
Some groups revere and respect their oldest members, while others see them as senile and incompetent, making them the butt of jokes. In some societies, children care for their parents at home, while in other cultures, children put their parents in homes where others care for them.
According to social representations theory (Moscovici, 1984, 1988) the views of aging held within a given culture are a form of shared cultural representation. They constitute systems of ideas, values, and customs related to aging that are treated by members of the society as if they were established reality.
They found age differences in the correlation coefficients, such that older participants showed a higher correlation between personal and cultural values than did younger participants. Smaller discrepancies between personal and cultural values were found among older participants than among younger participants.
Customs, laws, dress, architectural style, social standards, religious beliefs, and traditions are all examples of cultural elements.
If culture fosters a more extroverted personality style, we can expect more need for social interaction. Additionally, Individualistic cultures foster more assertive and outspoken behavior. When the general population encourages these gregarious behaviors, more ideas are exchanged and self-esteem increases.
The modernization theory of age stratification says that as a culture becomes more modern, urban, and industrialized, the less access to power older adults have.
An aging society may mean less innovation, less risk-taking, and more conservative values. But it also may mean a wiser culture that is more protective of its assets, including its young people. As the culture ages, the social temperament will grow more conservative and less flexible.
In addition to its intrinsic value, culture provides important social and economic benefits. With improved learning and health, increased tolerance, and opportunities to come together with others, culture enhances our quality of life and increases overall well-being for both individuals and communities.
Age As A Cultural Construct And The Study Of Age As A Cultural Practice. Social scientists who study culture recognize such differences as problems to be explained. But, in this case, age is a characteristic of neither a person nor a collectivity, but of culture, of the symbolic apparatus of a social order.
Our culture shapes the way we work and play, and it makes a difference in how we view ourselves and others. It affects our values —what we consider right and wrong. This is how the society we live in influences our choices. But our choices can also influence others and ultimately help shape our society.
Attitude and Behaviours Influenced by Ones Culture:
Culture is a strong part of people’s lives. It influences their views, their values, their humor, their hopes, their loyalties, and their worries and fears. So when you are working with people and building relationships with them, it helps to have some perspective and understanding of their cultures.