SOC-328-H2959 Sociology of Aging 22EW2 Online class help

Aging online Class help

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

– Mark Twain, American author

We are entering a unique period in U.S. and world history with respect to aging. In the United States and most other developed countries, the elderly are living longer and have become the fastest-growing demographic group. While our focus will be the United States, many of the issues we will discuss are being faced elsewhere.

In the early twentieth century, the elderly (aged 65 and older) represented a relatively small portion of the national population, comprising less than 2% in 1900. As living conditions improved, medical technology advanced, and financial stability took hold in the economic boom that followed World War II, life expectancy rose significantly. In 1900, the average life expectancy was 49.2 years and has risen to 78.5 years in 2009 (Shrestha, 2006) (“FASTSTATS – Life Expectancy,” n.d.). As a result, the elderly now comprise approximately 12% of the U.S. population, and this number continues to grow (Werner, 2011). Life expectancy will continue to rise as living conditions and medical care improve. This longevity, combined with the large Baby Boomer population—79.6 million according to the 2010 Census—means that there are more elderly today than ever before and that they are living longer. This will have significant ramifications and will impact virtually every social system.

In 2012, the Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, will be between 48 and 66 years old, the leading edge already at retirement age. By 2030, all of the Baby Boomers will be elderly (Vincent & Velkoff, 2010). The importance of these numbers will be discussed as we progress through this course.

In order to understand the issues facing the elderly, it is important to understand generations. Too often we think of “the elderly” as a homogenous group with the same needs, thoughts, and desires, but this is far from reality. The elderly are a diverse group in terms of age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political orientation, and so on, and this diversity is often shaped by the generation to which they were born. Understanding this diversity is key to understanding the aging process. As you review the Population Bulletin: 20th Century U.S. Generations located in the Resources area, think about each generation and the watershed events that took place during each generation and that may have had a shaping influence on each generation. This will help you to better “see” the elderly.

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FASTSTATS. (n.d.). Life expectancy. Retrieved from Quadagno, J. (2011). Aging and the life course: An introduction to social gerontology. Boston, MA: McGraw- Hill.

Shrestha, L. B. (2006). Life expectancy in the United States. Retrieved from

Vincent, G. K., & Velkoff, V. A. (2010). The next four decades the older population in the United States: 2010 to 2050. Retrieved from

Werner, C. A. (2011). The older population: 2010. Retrieved from

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