According to more recent classifications, there are at least two stages to elderly life: Late adulthood or early old age, the age of the so-called young elderly, from sixty five to seventy five years old, and actual old age, the older old age, which begins after seventy five. In order to attempt to define the third age and identify the moment in which adulthood ends and old age begins, we need to refer to a number of elements: chronological age, physical and mental conditions, social role, family role. Physical and mental conditions play a significant role in old age, chronological age clearly discriminates between an adult individual and an elderly person, however, more than the actual age, self-perception and social attitude to that age play an important part. Belonging to the third age is also strongly affected by events known as life markers (such as retirement from work or the experience of becoming a grandparent) [Ripamonti, 2005]. The world of the elderly tends to be rather fuzzy, sometimes overturning all possible definitions and categories to demonstrate a multi-faceted social and personal framework: we come across young elderly in poor health, or very active people in their eighties, and the phenomenon of baby pensioners escapes all kinds of social and personal categorisation. The issue of gender differences in the third age also deserves particular attention; women in fact represent around two thirds of the population between sixty five and seventy five years old, and three quarters of the over-75s. Two fields of theory try to explain the phenomenon of female ageing of the population: genetic theories, and socio-environmental theories. According to genetic theories, the double X chromosome guarantees a richer genetic code to women that that offered to men, including greater resistance to disease, and thus wider prospects for a long life. On the other hand, socio-cultural theories place ageing in relation with the female lifestyle, which is rich in personal relationships and social networks and is characterised by the ability to cover multiple roles and maintain many ties. [Suardi 1993]. Probably an integration of these two approaches could provide a (possibly partial) explanation of this consistent demographic phenomenon. According to Betty Friedan [Friedan 1993] the key element distinguishing the experience of female life from men is that of change. From an historical point of view, the role of women in society has been characterised by discontinuity: the passage from the role of housewife to that of worker during the war, the return to the domestic environment as men returned home and the later re-introduction of women into the world of work, while maintaining the role and tasks linked to the family. The life of women itself is characterised by biological stages that cause great changes and demand consequent re-adaptation: menarche, pregnancy, menopause. Above all retirement and the phenomenon of the “empty nest”, when children leave home, are the events that make male and female old age paths differ. Both of these moments demand re-adaptation, the reconstruction of one’s role and self-image, which is much more difficult for men. Women are able to reinvent themselves, as they are used to covering several roles, if one of these roles is missing the gap is filled by others, their identity is not so closely linked to work as that of men. A further element that promotes quality ageing is the wealth of social relations, and also in this case women have an advantage over men as they tend to enjoy wider and more diversified social networks. They are also more involved in associationism, voluntary work and all other occasions of community life that offer the elderly the chance to lead an active and participatory social life. According to Friedan, women positively deal with old age thanks to a number of typically feminine characteristics, which can be summed up in four key words: relationship, interdependency, change...

EDUCATION FOR OLDER ADULTS: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY

LUPPI, ELENA
2008

Abstract

According to more recent classifications, there are at least two stages to elderly life: Late adulthood or early old age, the age of the so-called young elderly, from sixty five to seventy five years old, and actual old age, the older old age, which begins after seventy five. In order to attempt to define the third age and identify the moment in which adulthood ends and old age begins, we need to refer to a number of elements: chronological age, physical and mental conditions, social role, family role. Physical and mental conditions play a significant role in old age, chronological age clearly discriminates between an adult individual and an elderly person, however, more than the actual age, self-perception and social attitude to that age play an important part. Belonging to the third age is also strongly affected by events known as life markers (such as retirement from work or the experience of becoming a grandparent) [Ripamonti, 2005]. The world of the elderly tends to be rather fuzzy, sometimes overturning all possible definitions and categories to demonstrate a multi-faceted social and personal framework: we come across young elderly in poor health, or very active people in their eighties, and the phenomenon of baby pensioners escapes all kinds of social and personal categorisation. The issue of gender differences in the third age also deserves particular attention; women in fact represent around two thirds of the population between sixty five and seventy five years old, and three quarters of the over-75s. Two fields of theory try to explain the phenomenon of female ageing of the population: genetic theories, and socio-environmental theories. According to genetic theories, the double X chromosome guarantees a richer genetic code to women that that offered to men, including greater resistance to disease, and thus wider prospects for a long life. On the other hand, socio-cultural theories place ageing in relation with the female lifestyle, which is rich in personal relationships and social networks and is characterised by the ability to cover multiple roles and maintain many ties. [Suardi 1993]. Probably an integration of these two approaches could provide a (possibly partial) explanation of this consistent demographic phenomenon. According to Betty Friedan [Friedan 1993] the key element distinguishing the experience of female life from men is that of change. From an historical point of view, the role of women in society has been characterised by discontinuity: the passage from the role of housewife to that of worker during the war, the return to the domestic environment as men returned home and the later re-introduction of women into the world of work, while maintaining the role and tasks linked to the family. The life of women itself is characterised by biological stages that cause great changes and demand consequent re-adaptation: menarche, pregnancy, menopause. Above all retirement and the phenomenon of the “empty nest”, when children leave home, are the events that make male and female old age paths differ. Both of these moments demand re-adaptation, the reconstruction of one’s role and self-image, which is much more difficult for men. Women are able to reinvent themselves, as they are used to covering several roles, if one of these roles is missing the gap is filled by others, their identity is not so closely linked to work as that of men. A further element that promotes quality ageing is the wealth of social relations, and also in this case women have an advantage over men as they tend to enjoy wider and more diversified social networks. They are also more involved in associationism, voluntary work and all other occasions of community life that offer the elderly the chance to lead an active and participatory social life. According to Friedan, women positively deal with old age thanks to a number of typically feminine characteristics, which can be summed up in four key words: relationship, interdependency, change...
INTED 2008 - Abstracts Book
286
286
Luppi E.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/100845
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