During this course I have had to rethink my definition of aging. I like most people equated aging with being old, when in fact our text says that aging starts at birth and continues until we leave this earth. The term aging refers the changes that occur over a lifetime (Hooyman & Kiyak, The Growth of Social Gerontology, 2005).
Sensory function change is not consistent in humanity, affecting us all differently. The changes in sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell usually decline slowly allowing for us to make subtle adjustments in lifestyle to compensate. What I believe to be most important is our personal and social reactions to these changes. Working in retail, it is common for associates to attempt to speak to an elder only to be ignored. They may feel slighted at the time and discover later that the person was hard of hearing. In reverse, we all know a person who refuses to wear glasses or any type of corrective lenses but cannot adequately see.
The solution is twofold. Individuals must acknowledge their short comings as many do. Pretending your eyesight has not changed does not make it true. In concert with personal acknowledgement, society must value, respect and make accommodations for individuals with a myriad of differences.
Hooyman, N. R., & Kiyak, A. H. (2005). The Growth of Social Gerontology. In N. R. Hooyman, & A. H. Kiyak, Social Gerontology, A multidisciplinary Perspective (pp. 5-6). Boston: Allyyn & Bacon as Pearson Education Inc.
- How to Select a Senior Friendly Apartment (apartmentguide.com)
- Are We Underestimating How Much Help Aging Parents Need At Home? (ahadvocates.com)