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Growing Old - associated with industrial societies led...

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Growing Old Gerontology is a branch of the social sciences that deals with aging and the elderly. • Although growing old involves biological changes, how this stage of life is culturally defined makes a great deal of difference in the reality of old age . In the U.S., the definition of “older” is age 65 and beyond; the origin of this arbitrary age is the Social Security Act of 1935, which established 65 as the age of retirement. • In preindustrial societies, elders were seen as a social elite that should be viewed as wise and deserving of respect. Additionally, the oldest people own most of the land, giving them real power. Thus, preindustrial societies take the form of a gerontocracy , a social system that gives a society’s oldest members the most power, wealth, and prestige. In contrast, the great pace of cultural change
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Unformatted text preview: associated with industrial societies led people to dismiss the knowledge and skills of old people as irrelevant to the lives of the young. Demographics • Population pyramids are a way of showing in graph form the percentage of a population in various age groups. • In 1900, the U.S. population pyramid looked very much like a true pyramid: the base of the pyramid was large, indicating that most people were in their younger years, and the top of the pyramid was much smaller, showing that only a small percentage of the population was elderly. By the year 2030, the “pyramid” will look more like a pillar with the exception of the very top, which will reflect the large proportion of elderly people in the population....
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