Reflection on Gerontology Course
Gerontology is derived from the Greek words geron meaning “old man” and logy which is a “study of”. Gerontology is defined as “the broad term used to define the study of aging and/or the aged” (Mauk, 2006, p.7). Studying the field of Gerontology changed my overall perspective when it comes to the study of aging and also my opinion when it comes to older people. Previously, I thought that Gerontology is merely about studying the illnesses, especially chronic diseases that people usually experience as they grow older. Nevertheless, Gerontology made me realize that the study of aging does not merely talk about diseases but rather it takes into consideration the holistic effect of aging to people and also the society. Even though Gerontology studies the aging process and the age-related diseases that are related to it, this field of study gives a different approach in understanding the aging population because it also gives attention to the effects of elderly people on the society. In line with this, gerontology points out that the aging population needs to be better understood by younger generations because interacting with them can actually make you appreciate them more. Furthermore, understanding the aging population is also pivotal in the creation of policies wherein the government have to take into consideration the aging population and their overall percentage in the society in order to properly identify the right programs for its citizens (Mauk, 2006). Due to this, I learn that the aging population should be given more importance. They should not be treated as a liability in the society because taking them for granted can actually bring disadvantageous effects to the society.
Disengagement Theory / Aging-Clock Theory
I agree most with the Disengagement Theory and the Aging-clock Theory when it comes to its respective explanation about the aging process. The Disengagement Theory points out that old people will eventually disengage from the society, especially during the modern time because they can no longer find a solid connection to the new society (Moody, 2006). The aforementioned adage is exemplified with my own experience with my grandparents wherein they become less interactive with the society, especially with the development of technology. The Disengagement Theory provides a better argument than the continuity theory and the activity theory because it gives a more comprehensive definition of aging that also takes into account older people with chronic illness. Moreover, the Disengagement Theory gives due attention to the respective aging process of both male and female as compared with the other theories that use a male model. In terms of the Aging-clock Theory, it provides a more comprehensive and sound argument when it comes to the biological theory wherein it emphasizes that individuals and the aging process is actually normal and that it is inevitable to experience death as compared with the other theories that gives more attention to the cellular composition and process that perceives all individuals have the same situations. The Aging-clock Theory emphasizes that all people will eventually die but it did not generalized the cause and duration but rather it simply argues the natural pattern of life that all people will go through.
The perspective that intellectual functioning decline with age is a view that is commonly accepted by most people, which is also supported by the concept of decrement with compensation that relates functional skills with biological and physiological changes. However, even though most people agree that intellectual functioning indeed decline with age, it is still necessary to point out that there are aspects of intellectual functioning that does not really deteriorate. Old people are usually stereotype to take longer time to learn new things but this does not necessarily mean that it affects their everyday performance. The fluid intelligence of older people usually deteriorates because it refers to their intelligence in doing new tasks or creative solutions. The aging population usually has difficulties in using their fluid intelligence, especially with the modernization of the society. An older adult that is not suffering from mental disorder that concerns his or her memory can properly use their crystallized intelligence wherein they can use their past experiences when it comes to socialization. On the other hand, it is difficult to measure intellectual functioning in terms of creativity because the very concept of creativity is very difficult to measure (Moody, 2006).
Principles of Validation
Validation is regarded as a method of communication that helps disoriented people through the concept of empathy. I agree with the major tenets of validation in a sense that it is a practical way in order to lessen the stress of older people as well as enhance their dignity and happiness (European Validation Association, 2006). My experiencing in interacting with older people help me in realizing that stepping into their shoes can actually aid others to better understand them. Older people have a different perspective when it comes to understanding and responding into situations, which is why it is necessary to use validation in order to properly help and interact with them.
Rationing Health Care for Older Adults
The increasing cost of health care together with the limited fund of the government and the people who needs it is a pressing problem that cannot be taken for granted. Being the case, rationing health care for older adults is a good way in order to address the problem. Even though it might seem unethical to limit the health care for adult people, it should be done in the most justifiable and fair manner that is possible such as basing the treatment that they will receive based on the illness that they are suffering from. There are cases wherein rationing health care is necessary just like the incident in Seattle during the 1960s wherein there were not enough kidney machines to take care of all the patients. Being the case, the hospital committee decided to give importance to factors of severity of illness, compliance with medical regimen, and social contribution in order to identify the people who should be given kidney treatment. Moreover, a study shows that majority of Americans are willing to withhold life-prolong medical care for older people with chronic disease that are near the point of death (Moody, 2006).
The principle of autonomy is given importance when it comes to medical treatments and other important decisions that require the informed consent. However, in the case of older adults there are cases wherein they can no longer decide for themselves or they do not have the logical capacity to properly make decisions. In this case, autonomy is given to their immediate kin who would make the decisions for them, especially in situations wherein the welfare of the older adult is at stake.
The aging society has a huge influence in the entitlement policies of the country. The supports of generational equity push for a framework that should fairly distribute Social Security and Medicare between generations. In line with this other inequalities in the distribution of health care should also be addressed, which is exemplified by people who are experiencing double jeopardy or multiple jeopardy. Double jeopardy pertains to people that is a member of two disadvantageous groups that can be rooted from social class, race, gender, or ethnicity. On the other hand, multiple jeopardy pertains to people who are members of more than two disadvantageous groups (Moody, 2006). The untoward situation of this people should be addressed by means of targeting benefits for those people who are members of these disadvantageous groups.
Social security benefits are unequally distributed among different groups of people because of the limited resources and also the power politics that are involved in the policy-creation. Nevertheless, a more equitable Social Security System can be made by means of properly identifying the standards and requirements for those who would benefit from it. The government should make a policy that will properly attend to the needs of the people depending upon their situation in order to maximize the limited resources that is available.
European Validation Association. (2006). Validation. Retrieved from
Mauk, K.L. (2006). Gerontology Nursing: Competencies for Care.
Massachusetts: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Moody, H.R. (2006). Aging: Concepts and Controversies. California: Pine Forge Press.