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Ageism in America

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Ageism in America: The Elderly
Tommy Brooks
SOCW 230 Social Welfare History October 5, 2012

Ageism in America: The Elderly In this paper I will look at the concept of old age. I will take a brief look back through history at how society viewed the elderly. Starting in the 1500’s in England, here I will look at the life expectances and the way it fluctuated. I will take a brief look at the life expectancy of women in France in the 1700’s. This will show how age accounted for a significant minority of the populations across the world. The elderly have been categorized throughout history. By the early modern periods the concept of old age was accompanied by a long list of expectations. These included: experience, social, and cultural signals, within which consisted socially constructed markers: gender, social class, and individual life experiences. Other signs were physical: hunched back, lameness, deafness, toothlessness, balding or graying hair, and just plan grumpy and frail. I will give a brief look at how the elderly were perceived at times negative and even vicious. Back to where the elderly women were viewed as wise and nurturing elderly mothers. Here we will see where the age of sixty was widely associated with the onset of old age. Then we will move into the time of the first settlers in America. It’s true at this time as it was in Europe, the elderly men and women constituted a miniscule proportion of the white population.
Then I will begin a journey into the protection of the elderly in America. I will look at some of the first local support systems enacted to help aid the elderly. While moving forward in time I will look at the local, state, and government levels of protection established throughout history for the protection of the ageing population of America. Also I will look at the policies enacted to law, (The Social Security Act), for...

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