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Supporting the Elderly Essay

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As adults the transition into old age can be difficult for some people. Frustration, lack of responsibility and dependence can make the process of aging undesirable. Old age should be viewed as another phase of life, but not the end of life. In order to help elderly cope with aging it is important for them to have social interaction. Support from family, friends and the local community can make a difference in the psychological well being of older adults.

There is great concern for the increasing amount of elderly people without children. Childlessness can not be directly linked to loneliness and depression in the elderly, but there is some evidence that it can have an effect on their psychological well being. According to an article in The Journals of Gerontology, "Wachter (1997) estimated that about 25% of the elderly persons aged 70-85 years in 2030 will not have a living spouse, living children, or living stepchildren"(Zhang and Hayward, 2001). That number of childless elderly is cause for alarm, because children are an important source of support. Children can serve as emotional, physical, and financial support for elderly parents. As stated in the article, social isolation and low levels of social support are important risk factors for depression and mortality (Cappeliez & Flynn, 1993) (Zhang and Hayward, 2001). A support network of friends and neighbors is helpful, but they do not provide the same level of commitment and support that children would. Another factor to consider is that childlessness can affect each sex differently. Women more often than men see the role of parenthood a very important part of life. Loneliness is more likely to be an outcome of not having children than depression. Results of the study sho...


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...ort from family and friends. Each article was specific on their focus and aspect of well-being and how it can be affected with social interaction. The studies in the articles did not have a large amount of substantial evidence, but there was enough significance to make a correlation between social support and successful aging.

The articles can be related to the text in their relation to coping and relationships. Relationships in aging adults can be diminished to isolation. Family and friends of elderly could move away or die leaving them with no social interaction. It is important for the old to be a part of a support group with people in the community in order to keep good spirits. Quality of health and psychological well being can diminish with isolation. Being able to cope with aging can be difficult if there is nobody there to provide help and support.



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