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Short answer

Test Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief. Think of someone or something you have lost. You might consider the loss of a relationship, possession, or aspect of your self-identity. For example, perhaps you dissolved a childhood friendship, sold your car, or got a bad haircut. For even a small loss, did you experience all five stages of grief? If so, how did the expression of each stage manifest? Did the process happen slowly or rapidly? Did the stages occur out of order? Did you reach acceptance? Try to recall the experience and analyze your own response to loss. Does your experience facilitate your empathizing with the elderly?

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What do you think it will be like to be ten, twenty, and fifty years older than you are now? What facts are your assumptions based on? Are any of your assumptions about getting older false? What kind of sociological study could you establish to test your assumptions?

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What is your relationship to aging and to time? Look back on your own life. How much and in what ways did you change in ten years and in twenty years? Does a decade seem like a long time or a short time in a life span? Now apply some of your ideas to the idea of aging. Do you think older people share similar experiences as they age?

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Further research

Read the article “A Study of Sexuality and Health among Older Adults in the United States.” You will find it online at the New England Journal of Medicine : (External Link)

References

Administration on Aging. 2011. “A Profile of Older Americans 2010.” Retrieved January 29, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Bazzini, D.G., and W.D. Mclntosh. 1997. "The Aging Women in Popular Film: Underrepresented, Unattractive, Unfriendly, and Unintelligent." Sex Roles 36:531–43.

Bryant, Ed. 2004. “Male and Female Sexual Dysfunction.” Voice of the Diabetic 19(1). Retrieved January 29, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Clarfield, A. Mark. 1990. “Dr. Ignatz Nascher and the Birth of Geriatrics.” Canadian Medical Association Journal 143(9):944–945, 948.

Cole, Thomas R. 1993. The Journey of Life: a Cultural History of Aging in America . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Crimmins, Eileen. 2004. “Trends in the Health of the Elderly.” Annual Review of Public Health 25:79–98.

Davidson, Kate. 2002. “Gender Differences in New Partnership Choices and Constraints for Older Widows and Widowers.” Ageing International 27: 43–60.

Drummond, Murray. 1998. “Sports, Aging Men, and Constructions of Masculinity.” Generations 32:32–35.

Erikson, Erik H. 1963 [1950]. Childhood and Society . New York: Norton.

Fredriksen-Goldsen, K.I., H.J. Kim, C.A. Emlet, A. Muraco, E.A. Erosheva, C.P. Hoy-Ellis, J. Goldsen, and H. Petry. 2011. The Aging and Health Report: Disparities and Resilience among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Older Adults . Seattle, WA: Institute for Multigenerational Health. Retrieved January 29, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Grant, Jaime M. 2009. “Outing Age 2010: Public Policy Issues Affecting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Elders.” National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute. Washington, DC. Retrieved January 29, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Hagestad, Gunhild, and Peter Uhlenberg. 2006. “Should We Be Concerned about Age Segregation?” Research on Aging 28:638–653.

Harold and Maude . N.d. Retrieved February 1, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Hillman, Jennifer. 2011. “A Call for an Integrated Biopsychosocial Model to Address Fundamental Disconnects in an Emergent Field: An Introduction to the Special Issue on 'Sexuality and Aging'.” Aging International 36:303–312.

Hospice Foundation of America. 2012a. “Welcome.” Retrieved February 13, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Hospice Foundation of America. 2012b. “What Is Hospice?” Retrieved January 29, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Jenkins D., C. Walker, H. Cohen, and L. Curry. 2010. “A Lesbian Older Adult Managing Identity Disclosure: A Case Study.” Journal of Gerontological Social Work 53:402–420.

Lindau, Stacy Tessler, M.D., L. Philip Schumm, Edward O. Laumann, Wendy Levinson, Colm A. O'Muircheartaigh, and Linda J. Waite. 2007. “A Study of Sexuality and Health among Older Adults in the United States.” New England Journal of Medicine 357:762–774.

Lloyd, Liz, Kate White, and Eileen Sutton. 2011. “Researching the End-of-Life in Old Age: Cultural, Ethical and Methodological Issues.” Aging&Society 31:386–407.

Marshall, B., and S. Katz. 2002. “Forever Functional: Sexual Fitness and the Aging Male Body.” Body and Society 8:43–70.

MetLife Mature Market Institute. 2010. “Still Out, Still Aging: The Met Life Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Baby Boomers.” Retrieved January 29, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Munch, S. 2004. "Gender-Biased Diagnosing of Women's Medical Complaints: Contributions of Feminist Thought, 1970-1995." Women&Health 40:101–121.

Munnell, Alice. 2011. “What Is the Average Retirement Age?” Center for Retirement Research . Retrieved January 29, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

National Senior Citizens Law Center. 2011. “LGTB Older Adults in Long-Term Care Facilities: Stories from the Field.” Retrieved January 30, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Packer, Dominic and Alison Chasteen. 2006. “Looking Towards the Future: How Possible Aged Selves Influence Prejudice Towards Older Adults.” Social Cognition 24:218–247.

Parker, Marti and Thorslund Mats. 2007. “Health Trends in the Elderly Population: Getting Better and Getting Worse.” The Gerontologist 47:150–158.

Pleis, J.R., J.W. Lucas, and B.W. Wared. 2009. “Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2008.” Data from the National Health Survey, Series 10. No. 242.

Riley, Matilda White. 1978. "Aging, Social Change, and the Power of Ideas." Daedalus 107:39–52.

Sharpe, P.A. 1995. "Older Women and Health Services: Moving from Ageism Toward Empowerment." Women&Health 22:9–23.

Spector-Mersel, Gabriela. 2006. “Never-Aging Stories: Western Hegemonic Masculinity Scripts.” Journal of Gender Studies 15:67–82.

Whitbourne, Susan and Stacey Whitbourne. 2010. Adult Development and Aging: Biopsychosocial Perspectives . 4th ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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