How do old age centers affect the person being sent to those centres?
Challenge/change at societal level?
Challenge/change at personal level?
The impact on relationships?
How it has been viewed from historical or cultural perspective?
Theories related to aging, specifically generatively?
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As a previous post mentioned, it is common in many other cultures for the older generation to live with the younger one and play a vital and important role in family life.
It was also mentioned briefly, but the connection between old and young or middle aged that is severed when the elderly are locked away in retirement homes is something that many people feel has helped lead to a degredation of life in western societies. The accumulated wisdom and experience of these older generations is no longer passed on to the younger people while also giving the older people a vital role in the home and a chance to feel important and useful.
Unless one is speaking from their own experience about living in any condition, it is pure speculation. I think that the previous post did a real nice job in explicating how there are different valences within this. For example, currently while traveling in Asia, I am amazed at how many intergenerational homes there are and how common this configuration is. Most families that I am seeing in my travels have two grandparent living in their home, or elderly aunts and uncles residing with the family. The elderly people in these homes are just as much a functioning member of the home as anyone else, do the same things as everyone else. Some that I have seen wake up before anyone else and start the morning routines or prayers. In one home, it is the grandmother who starts the day by cleaning the vessels and placing the holy kolam design in front of the house. It is seen as uncommon or out of the norm to actually have a home without an elderly influence in it. It's not even that these families would even debate the movement of an elderly person to a home or another setting. The families I have seen simply do not understand such an option. In my mind, this is very much different than in the West, where these options do exist. I am not sure about much else other than the fact that the manner in which the aged are viewed does have divergence across cultures.
There are probably too many angles to your question to fully address it in one post, but I'll tackle a few of the bigger ones.
In some cultures, it is a societal taboo to send your elderly relatives to a retirement or nursing home, as these cultures strongly believe that family should take care of family until the end of life. So in these cultures, it is sometimes very shocking to an elderly relative that they would be sent there, so they sometimes feel abandoned. This is sometimes true in cultures where there is no social taboo as well.
When entering an old age facility, a resident most strikingly feels a loss of independence, or a fear that they may never leave the facility once they enter - a fear that they are entering the last stages of life.
These homes can have different affects on relationships. While they are moving away from neighbors and family that were close by before, thus limiting social contact with those groups, they are also living more closely to people their own age, that share the same social values, remember the same history and "speak the same language" generationally. So this can actually create new relationships and give a person a more grounded social circle.
We also want to keep in mind here that old age homes run a full spectrum, from assisted living facilities where nursing care is round the clock and mobility limited, to basically retirement homes with a range of activities and social opportunities. A person's reaction may vary greatly depending on which kind of facility it is.
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