Sociology-The ageing population

  • Created by: Daisymac
  • Created on: 13-03-19 14:54
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  • The ageing population
    • What?
      • 1971= 34.1 years    2013= 42.8
      • Fewer young people than old people
      • Age pyramids show hold older age groups are growing as a proportion of the population
        • Hirsch 2005 notes that the traditional age pyramid is disappearing and being replaced with less equal sized blocks representing the different age groups
        • By 2041 there will be as many 78 year olds as 5 year olds
      • Due to Increasing life expectancy, declining infant mortality and declining fertility
    • Effects of an ageing population
      • Public sevices
        • Older people consume a larger proportion of services
        • Although many people remain in good health well into old age
        • Ageing population =Changes to policies and provision of housing,transport or other services
      • One person pensioner households
        • Number of pensioners living alone has increased
        • They account for 12.5% of all households
        • Most are female as they lived longer than men
        • Among the over 75s, there as twice as many women than men
          • Feminisation of later life
      • The dependency ratio
        • Non-working old are an economically dependent group who need to be provided for  by those of working age
        • As the number of retired people increases, the dependency ratio increases
        • in 2015, there were 3.2 people of working age for every one pensioner
        • But the age in which people can collect their pensions is rising From 202 both will have to wait till they are 66
    • Ageism, modernity and post modernity
      • Ageism- Unequal treatment and negative stereotyping of  people on the basis of their age
      • Modern society
        • Many sociologists argue that ageism is the result of structured dependency
        • Old largely excluded from paid work, leaving them economically dependent on their families and state
        • Identity and status determined by our role in production -- Those excluded from production due to retirement have a dependent status and stigmatized identity
        • Marxist perspective Phillipson 1982 argues that the old are no use to capitalism because they are no longer productive
          • Means state is unwilling to support them adequately and so the family often take responsibilities of their care
        • Life is structured into a fixed series of stages
      • Postmodern society
        • Argue that the fixed life stages has broken down
        • EG. due to children dressing like adults, later marriage and early retirement
        • Consumption becomes the key to our identities
        • Hut 2005 argues that this means we can choose a lifestyle and identity regardless of age
        • Old people= Market for range of body maintenance or rejuvenation goods and services
        • Two other features of postmodern society also undermine old age as a stigmatized life stage
          • The centrality of the media - Media images now portray positive aspects of their lifestyles of the elderly
          • The emphasis on surface features- The body becomes a surface on which we can write identities. Anti ageing product enable the old to write different identities.
    • Inequality among the old
      • Pilcher 1995 argues that inequalities such as class and gender remain important
      • Class- MC have better occupational pensions and greater savings from higher salaries
        • Poorer old people have a shorter life expectancy and suffer more infirmity
      • Gender- Women's lower earnings and career breaks as carers mean lower pensions
        • Also subjected to sexist as well as ageist stereotyping
    • Policy implications
      • Hirsch 2005 argues that a number of important social policies will need to change to tackle the new problems posed by an ageing population
      • Problem= How to finance a longer period of old age
        • EG. paying more from our savings and taxes while we are working
      • Housing policy may need to encourage older people to trade down into smaller accommodation to release wealth to improve their standard of living
      • His view demonstrates that old age is a social construct as it defined differently in different societies

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