Conflict Perspective on Age Inequalities
The elderly in this society develop the group that is the most vulnerable and it’s influenced by the young and middle age. The role of the elderly has been seriously devalued. Growing old means the deterioration of physical and mental mechanism that are necessary for effective performance in society and this means limiting capabilities and again making them dependent of others. In a capitalist society such as ours, old age is viewed as a handicap. Old age in society presents the individual with a variety of potential problems and stresses such as, economic, social isolation, health problems, domestic violence, and fear of crime. From the conflict perspective, the position of the old age in society is not unlike that of other minority groups. They have less access to social, political, and economic power, and they are dominated by groups with more resources (Sullivan, 237). Also, their position in society is determined by the resources the elderly has access to. The elderly face many problems and one major problem of it is work and retirement.
Like in all societies, people need to work to make a living and this has no age limit unless is a minor and the parents can support them. Work not only provides an economic livelihood, it is a major source of self-esteem and sense of personal self-worth (Sullivan, 241). Old people seem to loose their jobs to benefit people in the early and middle ages. In an economic system with a scarcity of jobs, this helps to reduce competition. Fewer young workers enter the labor market, and older workers are forced out by retirement in order to open positions for younger adults (Sullivan, 237).
Older people suffer from social isolation. In many cultures or depending on their availability in caring for their elders but if it’s not possible they decide to place them in a convalescent home for others to take care of them. Some elders are isolated by their family members but try to have some kind of social life with friends or acquaintances. Isolation not only comes from family members but also due to illness. Almost half of people older than sixty-five years in the U.S. experience some limitations in the activities because of chronic illness. Health is one of the major problems faced by the elderly. Paying for the health care of the elderly poses considerable
difficulty for society as a whole and costs are likely to increase in the future as the number of very old people, those over eighty years of age, increases (Sullivan, 245). Older people face problems with physical and psychological abuse from caretakers. Some abuse of the elderly results from the stress or frustration of taking care of an older parent or grandparent who is physically or mentally impaired (Sullivan, 245). People in advance age commit few crimes but they tend to be the victims of violence and crime. Despite this, surveys find that crime is considered by many older people to be one of the more serious problems they face, especially for minority elderly and those who live in low-income communities (Sullivan, 245).
Americans of older age grows every year, but society still isn’t embracing or preparing the aging population. Society need to prepare the elderly individuals to contend with the stresses and problems of the aging process and stop the “old geezer” stereotypes and try to obtain equal standing in society for those who are 65 or older that often find themselves the victims of ageism.