Definition of ageing/aging
The chronological process of becoming older physically is called ageing/aging. Growing older is a broad definition of ageing, which is a complex process that occurs throughout the life cycle. Essentially, it is a multidimensional process that impacts every facet of human existence.
According to Charles S Becker, ageing is “changes occurring in an individual, which are the result of the passage of time.”
Clark Tibbitts defines ageing as “the survival of a growing number of people who have completed the traditional roles of making a living and child rearing and years following the completion of these tasks represent an extension of life.”
According to Edward J. Stieglitz, ageing is “the element of time in living.”
There is no doubt that biological factors contribute to the chronological process of aging. Even though the timing of changes differs from person to person, the human body and its related capabilities change throughout time in a usual way.
The social expectations of the elderly are at the centre of sociological interest in aging. At its most basic, there is a stark contrast between the comparatively low status that contemporary cultures accord the elderly and the way many traditional communities view their oldest members. Traditional societies view them as a repository of knowledge and experience.
Chronology is less significant in the social dimension than the meanings associated with the process. There are socially organized variances in how people personally experience aging because different cultural values and societal expectations depend on gender and age group.
The words “ageing society” and “young society” in demography refer to the population’s age distribution. In a young culture, there are disproportionately more individuals in the under-15 age group due to a high birth rate and short life expectancy. An ageing society is one in which an increasing percentage of the population falls into the older age groups due to lower birth rates and increased lifespan.
Every substance on earth experiences the process of aging, which is a universal phenomenon. Aging is usually understood in the context of the social environment; therefore, sociological studies see it as a social phenomenon rather than a physiological one.
All industrialized nations share at least one demographic challenge, according to the United Nations Conference on Ageing Populations held in Japan in 1994. Population aging was unavoidable due to declining fertility, particularly in Japan and the West.
Chronological, biological, psychological, and social aging are just a few examples of the four separate processes or dimensions that gerontologists use to describe how people age, according to Hooyman and Kiyak.
The sociology of ageing turned its attention to change and stability over the life course in the 1990s, ushering in the period of life cycle views. The effects of economic, political, and cultural pressures and situations on the ageing process, as well as the statuses and wellbeing of senior citizens, are of interest to social gerontologists.
Biogerontologist Bernard L. Strehler has presented four aging criteria-
- Aging is progressive, a continuous process.
- Aging is universal, meaning it occurs in all population members.
- Aging is degenerative.
- Aging is intrinsic to the organism.