Putting the Gold Back in the Golden Years

  • Dawn M. Birk
Chapter
Part of the Applied Clinical Psychology book series (NSSB)

Abstract

There are many terms for individuals in the upper age bracket of society. These include “old,” “aged,” and “elderly,” to mention a few. There are also the descriptors “young old” and “old old” that are used to further describe and classify the over-65 population. Generally speaking, none of these terms are considered flattering (Birkedahl, 1991; Daugs, 1987). Those who might meet the criteria for classification into one of these categories frequently seek other ways of describing themselves, such as “seniors” or “senior citizens.” They may also refer to themselves as simply “retirees” and remind themselves that these are the “golden years.” The rejection of certain terms used to describe individuals in the upper age bracket suggests that these terms are viewed as unpleasant, distasteful, or even derogatory. While some cultures and societies view aging adults in terms of “wise” or “venerable,” many individuals continue to associate aging only with negative concepts such as loss, deterioration, and dependence (Daugs, 1987; Foner, 1986; Janicki & Wisniewski, 1985). This may be due, in part, to the belief that aging leads to decrements in the quality of life and brings only decreased functioning, without the possibility of improvement in any area. This belief of pervasive loss needs modification if one is to make a therapeutic impact on the aging population. Leaning how to impact people 65 years and over is vital at this time, since it is predicted that by 2030 approximately 20.7% of the US population will be in this age group (Birkedahl, 1991, p. viii). In order to make therapeutic changes, aging individuals must be provided with the hope and information needed in order to continue to grow, change, maintain, and improve the condition and quality of later life.

Keywords

Life Satisfaction Nursing Home Resident American Psychological Association Housing Satisfaction Mandatory Retirement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dawn M. Birk
    • 1
  1. 1.Eastern Montana Community Mental Health CenterMiles CityUSA

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