Psychosocial aspects of aging
The society views old age with both respect and fear. In my opinion, old age is viewed with respect because it is a special thing to get old as not everyone gets to that age. In addition, almost all societies in the world reserve a special position for the old people. For example, they are considered wise and more likely to make sound decisions. Thus, whenever younger people have social problems they rush to their elders for advice. The feeling is that having encountered several challenging life situations, the older people are more equipped to deal with these social challenges than the young generation. Conversely, people tend to fear to associate with old people, especially those who are extremely old. This fear stems from the fact that old people are demanding in time and resources. As people advance in age, they lose their energy and become unable to keep their jobs. Thus, they tend to depend on the people around them to provide everything for them. This tends to scare close relatives away as no one wants to shoulder the burden of taking care of the elderly. The dilemma is real in my life! While I long to enjoy the respect associated with old age, I dread a situation where someone else will have to take care of me, including assisting me to the toilet. The feeling that you can no longer do anything on your own irritates. According to literature, it is actually the source of depression in old age. For someone who has always been the breadwinner of the family for decades, it’s quite distressing that you would depend on donations. Nonetheless, it remains a desire to live to a full age and become a social consultant to younger people and to my grandchildren.
Changes in comfort level
Most people, including myself, find it easier discussing social issues with the very old as compared to the middle age. The feeling is that the very wise enough to avoid judging people based on their life experiences. I like keeping my issues to myself because I believe that everyone has his or her own issues. However, I would consider sharing some bits with responsible adults when the issues become too many and overwhelming. Generally, one can discuss personal issues with any granny. However, one would only consider close relatives of middle age to share or discuss personal issues with. The trend seems to change as one grows older. At teenage, I would discuss virtually everything with my parents or siblings. In fact, I would not need to be asked why I was upset or moody. The stories would begin flowing as soon as I sat close to any family members. Essentially, there was no need to keep any secrets at the moment because the things I engaged myself in were all socially acceptable. Even if they were, I knew that they would not attract great punishment as everyone considered the age factor.
However, as age advances the reality sets in and one realizes that so much needs to be kept secret. It all starts with the guy who blinked at you and you blinked back. Soon thereafter, several things follow that no one would wish their parents to know. However, when they got to be discussed to ease social tension, people prefer to go to older people they are most comfortable with. Essentially, the level of comfort generally decreases as one gets older. At adolescence, one would rather discuss with a distant age mate rather than a family member for fear of retribution. The level of comfort drastically goes down as people become old to the extent that most secrets are never shared beyond a certain age (Ram, 2001).
In conclusion, old age is a blessing in disguise because only a few people grow to such an age. It should be a reason to be grateful if one becomes a geriatric in this era of terrorism and technological accidents. In the same manner, it is a curse to become old because suddenly, one becomes an irresponsible child once again. For someone who has raised a family, it is disheartening to learn that one can no longer take care of himself or herself. The manner in which people relate with older persons seems to change over the years. While it starts with a great confidence in childhood, the confidence is soon lost in teenage and disappears completely thereafter. This is the reality of our lives!