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ERIC Number: ED246971
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984
Reference Count: 0
Inevitable Decline: Exploding the Senility Myth. A Position Paper.
Boss, Roberta S.
Drawing from recent research, this paper attempts to refute some of the commonly held assumptions about the inevitable decline of intellect as part of the aging process and point to ways educators can expand educational opportunities for older adults. After exploring some of the myths and stereotypes about senile, disoriented, helpless, rigid, unproductive, and slow old people, and explaining that these myths are believed by older adults as well as their children, the paper examines recent research findings that belie these assumptions. Among these findings are the following: (1) barring illness or disease, aging is associated with a slowing down of information retrieval functions, but not with a loss of intellect or an impaired ability to learn; (2) when older workers are allowed to self-pace the intake of information, they can use their experience in problem solving and exhibit as much or more competence as their younger colleagues; (3) society's negative view of the elderly fosters erosion of self-reliance and internal locus of control; and (4) studies of the television viewing habits of older adults indicate that these people are not disengaging, but rather want to remain informed and involved in life and human affairs. The final sections address ways that educators can help increase the involvement of older people in education, suggesting that they be offered activities and pursuits appropriate to their abilities. (LAL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A