ERIC Number: ED236072
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Dec-7
Reference Count: 0
Are the Elderly Retired from Active Life? A Cross-Cultural Comparison.
Shenk, Dena; Vora, Erika
A problem with gerontology theory is that it focuses on a social view of the aged, ignoring individual and cultural variables. A person is judged to have aged successfully if he has adjusted to society's definition of an "elderly person." Similarly, most studies of programs and options for the aged reflect the view of the service providers rather than the perceptions of the target population. A more realistic approach is to evaluate the needs and determine the success of a group of aging individuals from that group's perspective. Operating from within this framework, a study was conducted of the elderly in two communities in Aalborg, Denmark, and Loehne, West Germany. During the summer and fall of 1981, 200 interviewees responded to an open-ended questionnaire concerning social and recreational activity. Findings discount the generally accepted idea that the elderly withdraw from active life. Almost all those surveyed engaged in low or medium strain pasttimes such as walking, traveling, or playing cards. About one-fourth also enjoyed more strenuous activities such as swimming, gardening, and biking. Moreover, respondents maintained a high level of involvement with other people through these activities and family visits. While based on a small sample, these findings indicate the need for continued research in this area. (LP)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Denmark; Disengagement (Gerontology); Social Participation; West Germany
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (81st, Washington, DC, December 7, 1982).