Old age in today’s world is viewed as total dependence on others, the state of isolation, constant loneliness and even hopelessness in regards to taking care of oneself. The older people are projected to be weaker and gradually become less active in their daily life (Illinois Council on Long Term Care, 2018).
*Scholarly information in human lifespan development*
The consciousness of ageing is well entrenched in our society, the majority of the people have been mindful of what they portray at a certain age simply because they want to blend with what is perceived to be a norm in relation to their age (Illinois Council on Long Term Care, 2018). This has actually been a problem as it has resulted in stereotypes about older people and to some extent, it has resulted in discrimination based on their old age. According to Hansman (2003), while older people are becoming more embraceable for the positive changes that come with a longer lifespan, other people of younger age have always conveyed the information that the elder people drain the health services and also they affect the economy.
A study conducted in Australia to determine the perception of older people of the age of 65-80 found out that the oldness is more of a state of mind rather than a certain year that one has lived. According to Minichiello, Brownie & Kendig (2000), Oldness was associated with Lack of interest, lack of enthusiasm, isolation, withdrawal among others. Hansman (2003) noted that most of this trait is applicable to any other age and therefore the older people believe strongly that the myth about old age is generalized and is also applicable to any age group.
At the final phases of human lifespan development, gradual changes take place in individual’s senses, mobility and cognitive functioning (Berk, 2014). Media has exaggerated this changes which have led to the myth that older people make little contribution to the society. Due to the reduced capacity of both physical and mental health, old people contribution social participation changes because of the transformation that occurs during this period, for instance, retirement (Minichiello, Brownie & Kendig, 2000).
According to Bukov, Maas & Lampert (2002), studies have shown that the older people remain vital to an integral part of the society. Even After retirement older men have been engaged in political activities, older men have always been engaging in paid work outside their home while mostly old women have been active in doing volunteer work and acting as caregivers of their children or grandchildren.
Illinois Council on Long Term Care (2018) reiterated that many elders have had many accomplishments after retirement example being Irving Berlin whose vitality was extended into the second century. Bob Hopes and George Burns continue entertaining millions of people in their eighties whereas water lily at the age of success in the building.
Minichiello, Brownie & Kendig (2000) observed that Older people make little contribution to society is far from being accurate, older people have a lot to contribute to the society, they might be physically weak but they still have more experience in life than us and therefore they have a place in the society mostly when it comes to assisting in decision making and acting as an overview of the society. They also ensure the cultures are not eroded as they act as a go-between between the present and old cultures (Hansman, 2003).
Fenton & Draper (2018), uses secondary research method in their research that tends to find out the contribution that the older people make in the society. This involved the analysis, summary and collation of the existing research resources. The methodology used by Fenton & Draper (2018), this research is the systematic review which basically relies on other the findings, reports and research publications generated by a primary research. In this case, an example being report from the research was conducted by the royal voluntary service.
The study conducted by the national policy office (2018), affirms in their findings the significance of older people in the society in regards to the contribution that they make. The report also relies on the secondary research method with the primary.
In the Study Fenton & Draper (2018), discovered that old people make a huge contribution to the society both socially and economically. Fenton & Draper noted that in 2010 people aged 65s and over made a net profit of over 40 billion in the United Kingdom. Other contribution could be not money wise but the old people were active members of the society that they lived in which later on contributed to the safety of community and community well-being.
This research pokes holes in the myth as it proves the impact the older people make in the society highlighting the impacts they have made across the world. Fenton & Draper (2018) research enlighten us as the community to be more embraceable to the old people and deviate from seeing them as a burden because if we give them the opportunity to feel (Smith et al , 2012)
*The strength of the research method*
The main advantage of the secondary research method used with Fenton & Draper (2018), is that due to the fact that it is based on the preceding research it makes it easier to carry additional research. This is also easy because of the much background work is usually intensive is done by the primary source (Columbus, 2012)
*Limitation of the research method*
The limitation of the research method is that its accuracy is at the mercy of the primary researchers, therefore according to Columbus (2012), it’s prone to a biased report which might affect the findings of the research. Secondly, According to Smith et al (2012), things tend to change over a period of time this is in regards to how they are measured, and also perception change with time and finally, administrative data from the primary research or accessing it might be cumbersome due to deterioration with age or intentionally withheld from the researchers (Smith et al, 2012).
*Theories, concept and research findings*
Erickson theory extends the idea of personality development through the lifespan, Erikson sketches a more accurate view of personality development. Based on his Erikson notion psychology has conceptualized the way middle and old age are viewed (Kermis, 1984). They are no longer viewed as irrelevant and they are now termed active and seen as substantial times for personal growth. Individuals find this theory easy to relate to because it touches various stages of the life cycle through which one can relate to (Ladd, 2007).
Erikson submits that there is sufficient space for a continued growth and development during the course of one’s life. The feeling of trust in our society, in trust versus mistrust Erickson, equates the early development of an infant to the scenario. (Kermis, 1984) First, the infant is unclear about the world which they found themselves in, these feelings are resolved through consistency and stability that the infant receives through their principal caregivers as Gilbert (2002), points out. Success in this stage will be shown by a virtue of hope, by the infant developing a sense of trust when a crisis arises there is a possibility that it will have people to protect and support her and failure to attain the virtue leads to the development of fear (Ladd, 2007).
Gilbert (2002), indicated that the knowledge of Erikson theory can influence professional and personal behaviour in the sense that, it highlights the need of trust, trust is earned and it is through consistent action and closeness to an individual that will earn one full trust just like an infant and caregiver.
Research is an important tool to be used in changing the perception that the society has on ageing people. Research provides critical information that proves the myth that the society believe in regards to the old age (Gilbert, 2002). It is through the research findings that we realize how important the old people are in our lives and people will start seeing them as assets rather than a reliability in their lives (Hansman, 2003).
In conclusion, the finding have shown that older people are still vital in the society. They still got a lot to contribute in the society and this myth should be dismissed as baseless as it is not supported by any study but perception.
Creasey, G. (2006). *Research methods in lifespan development*. Boston: Pearson/A & B.
Gilbert, R. L. (2002). *How we change: Psychotherapy and the process of human development*. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Ladd, G. W. (2007). *Appraising the human developmental sciences: Essays in honor of Merrill-Palmer quarterly*. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.
Kermis, M. D. (1984). *The psychology of human aging: Theory, research, and practice*. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Minichiello, V., J. Browne, and H. Kendig, Perceptions and consequences of ageism: views of older people. Ageing & Society, 2000.
Illinois Council on Long Term Care (2018). Retrieved from www.nursinghome.org/fam/fam_001.html
Hansman, D. (2003). Tropical Gardens: The Myth and the Reality. *Queensland Review,10*(02), 125-131. doi:10.1017/s1321816600003391
Fenton, S., & Draper, H. (2018). Retrieved from www.birmingham.ac.uk/Documents/research/policycommission/healthy-ageing/7-What-older-people-and-communities-are-contributing-updated.pdf
Columbus, A. (2012). *Advances in psychology research: Volume 89*. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Smith, J. A., Breakwell, G. M., & Wright, D. B. (2012). *Research methods in psychology*. London: SAGE.
National Policy Office. (2018). Retrieved from www.cotavic.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/policycompendium.pdf