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Aging Retirement and Mental Health

Aging Retirement and Mental HealthTrinity CounselingAnthony P. Montez

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Contrast between East and West Views of Aging and Death EastThe individuals self, life, and death is placed within the process of the human experience. The personal experience blends with the universal.Life and death are familiar and intertwined.Death is welcomed as a relief from suffering, a step upward to join ancestors, a passage to another reincarnation, or a release from the eternal cycle achieved through enlightenment.

WestDeath is considered to be outside the process of the human experience.To be a self (a person) one must be alive, in control, and aware of what is happening.The emphasis of Individuality and Control makes death an outrage, a tremendous affront to humans rather than the logical and necessary process of old life making way for new.

Obsolete, Flawed Social Theories in the American ExperienceSocial Darwinism Survival of the Fittest (Herbert Spencer) A persons value is measured by their productivity and contribution. Failure was evidence that a person was not among the fittest rather than failure being a consequence of overwhelming social forces.

Disengagement Theory Older people and society mutually withdraw from each other as part of normal aging, and that this withdrawal is characterized by psychological well-being on the part of the older person.

Aging, Retirement, and Research.Prior to 1950 very little research existed on aging. By the 1990s The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) undertook collaborative studies involving separate academic disciplines and medial specialties over a period of 11 years.The NIMH findings show that much of what had been called aging is actually disease.

Five Popular Aging Myths A person is old based on their chronological age. The belief that old people are senile. The Tranquility Myth.Myth of UnproductivityOld people are resistant to change.

Research and Healthy AgingActivity Theory: The most agreeable psychological climate for older people is to remain active as long as they possibly can.When an activity or association must be given up, substitutes should be found.An older persons personality is a key element in shaping reactions to biological and social changes an active rather than passive role is important for mental health and satisfaction.

Things to ConsiderThe institution of retirement is barely 100 years old and is a result of a vast number of people living longer.Many people will spend 20 years or more in retirement.The United States lacks structured and meaningful rites for retirement. This tends to create anomic nonparticipation of many people in American life. Stay Active, Replace activities as activities are discontinued, Get regular medical check-ups, take care of your health.

Some Special Characteristics of Older PeopleDesire to leave a legacyThe Elder FunctionAttachment to Familiar ObjectsChanges is the Sense of TimeSense of the Life Cycle

Other Things to Consider

Maria and Tony Maria and Tony Wedding Day 30th Anniversary 1983 2003


A Fifty-Year Perspective of changes in the medical and social parameters that enframe the patient and health care provider relationship. 1950 2000

Chronic diseases became overwhelmingly the most common cause of death and most frequent reason for seeking medical care, displacing infections and other acute diseases.Access to health care came to be considered a right. Most western nation (but not the United States) provided universal access to care.The therapeutic revolution took place, grounded on progressively greater knowledge of medical science. Technological advance became a driving force.The cost of medical care rose worldwide. Economic and legal forces became increasingly important, frequently displacing moral determinants.The organization and financing of the delivery of medical services changed. Fee-for-service medicine withered and physicians increasingly became employees of medical care organizations, were paid according to predetermined fee schedules, or received a capitated rate. The political and social power of physicians shrank.Physicians performance was increasingly measured by evidence-based, process, or outcome guidelines. The bioethics movement arose in the 1960s and became an influential voice.

Cassell, E. J. (2000). The Principles of the Belmont Report Revisited. Hastings Center Report, 30(4), 12-21.

The relationship between patient and physician shifted. Consumerism and ideas such as patient-centered medicine became commonplace. The public became knowledgeable about medicine and medical science.The form and content of medical education changed little, although the curriculum was updated to reflect advances in medical science. The surrounding society was also in flux: The social unrest and antiwar protests of the 1960s challenged the social structure of the nation and accompanied a decreased respect for government and authority in general.Rights movements came to prominence-civil rights, womens rights, patients rights, disability rights, and gay rights.Pride in ethnicity and diversity and a still greater emphasis on individualism made the melting pot metaphor of the United States obsolete.Computers and, latterly, the Internet widely disseminated information that was previously available only to professionals.The power of the law and financial incentives to influence social behavior and professional relationships increased, overwhelming the established moral order. The bottom line became the bottom line.The gap between the rich and the poor grew steadily.

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