Social scientists and psychologists have tried to find the social and biological imperatives which become the motivating elements at various stages of man’s life. The cause and effect of various socio-psychological paradigms guide man’s actions and decisions. Therefore, it is difficult to say that ‘it is inevitable that the later years will be a time of loss, deterioration and decline’ in a man’s life. The paper would be primarily evaluating the factors and paradigms that have a significant impact on the aging process and influence the normative and cognitive behaviour of old people.
Aging and old age are evolving natural phenomenon that cuts across gender, race, colour and nationality. People attaining the age of 65 years are considered to have entered into the realm of ‘old age’! In the past, the average life expectancy of people was not more than 65 years of age. But in recent times, the elderly population is increasing at a fast rate, especially in the UK, US and advanced nations. Life expectancy has crossed 80 years of age that has brought in a whole new set of issues which need to be addressed urgently. More people are living beyond the time when they can be considered economically independent or productively employed. Psychologists and social scientists have categorized old age as follow:
Ward et al. (1984) assert that 20% of the population is between the age group (60-69) while a whopping 65% is above 80 years of age. The welfare of the growing number of aged has become a huge concern because aging brings about a huge plethora of new changes and issues which need to be addressed for the aged population to live with dignity.
The physiological and cognitive changes brought about by aging are the prime causes of concern for the individuals and the government. The general physical decline vis-à-vis various body parts and organ which may be followed by diseases are common features of growing old. The greying and loss of hair, wrinkle and agility are .but few of the significant features that herald aging. The older people are also prone to illness, vision and hearing impairment, joint pain etc. Such changes bring often promote insecurity amongst the people in their later age. Women especially often try to ward off the advent of aging and aging signals through cosmetic surgery, face-lifting etc.