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Disengagement Theory Essay

When people whether old, young, able bodied or disabled are involved in an activities they known to be engaged in this activity by taking part. But some elderly, able bodied or disabled, don’t like to take part in these activities they are disengaged also knew as disengagement. Back in the early 1960’s two authors by the names of Cumming and Henry put forward a theory about older people being disengaged where they would naturally tend to stay away from activities this was branded as disengagement because They would naturally tend to withdrawn from social involvement with other people of their own age or people around their age.

They would be restricted to what they could do in a social care settings, this would be either through ill health, travel, and where they live in regards to then getting an organised event in another town or city. Many of them just retired from their jobs away from family and friends. Back in 1975 the author Cummings put an argument forward that older people would experience a larger reduction in social contact as they grew older, they became increasingly lonely as they withdraw from society and they become less concerned with the expectations of other people. His argument was that it was appropriate and sometime healthy for the older to withdraw from others and disengagement was a natural part of the ageing process.

This theory of disengagement has been widely accepted in society in the past. An example of this argument was by an author by the name of Bromley back in the 1970’s he argued the following statement, ‘although some individuals fight the process all the way, disengagement of some sort is bound to come, simply because old people have neither the physical nor the mental resources they had when they were young.’ This theory also fits in with the ‘springboard’ view of life, it also suggest that losing contact with friends, family and other people has an inevitable consequences on the biological decline and also withdrawn from other people is a natural appropriate response to the ageing process. There is also very little statistical evidence that suggest that this is a common or general rule to everyone of an older age.

An author by the name of Zimbardo also argued on this disengagement issue in the early 1990’s, his argument was that disengagement view of social ageing has been largely discredited on a number of occasions and reasons. But the majority number of older people do remain socially involved with friends and involved with their family, but the majority of many older people become more involved with close family as they age, this is mainly because they become involved in their grandchildren and great grandchildren lives, and sometimes the majority of them do this, rather than seeking out new friends.

Does this also mean that with only interacting with their close friends and family, that these people are disengaged? There are many researchers these days that don’t agree with the disengagement theory. it is also important to remember that when the author’s Cummings and Henry first came up with these theory’s in the early 1960’s there was no internet or text messaging, mobile phones and majority of older people in the 60’s didn’t have access to a car and back in those days most house didn’t have a telephone or television in them let alone a computer or mobile phone, whereas now days most house have a telephone, mobile phone, internet access and a car to travel to see friends and family.


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