Cultural Diversity Aging Family
Aging has been one of the most debated issues in the contemporary world. Of course, there is ambiguity as to what should be encompassed in discussions about age. Nevertheless, aging does not revolve around a single experience, rather it also incorporates the manner in which the society views other people based on their looks and actions. This chapter examines how ethnicity and culture interplays with various factors that impact on older families and aging.
Summary of 3 prominent points of the article
One of the key points in the article is that while the media is rife with images of lonely old people, over half of adults aged 65 are married. However, there are variations in the marital status of men and that of women. While the ratio of old women to that of old women is 141: 100, old men have a higher likelihood of being married than their female counterparts (Karasik & Hamon, 2007). This discrepancy may be explained by the variation or difference in life expectancy, sociocultural expectations pertaining to marriage and remarriage, as well as divorce.
The second key point is that the relationship between siblings increases at old age despite a decrease during the child-bearing age. However, the type and amount of contact that siblings have in their later life is mediated by the geographic proximity, individual differences and gender, as well as race. Siblings play a crucial role in enhancing the social support networks pertaining to older adults that are culturally diverse (Karasik & Hamon, 2007).
Third, as much as grandparenthood has become a universal aspect amongst many people, the intimacy and interaction between grandparents and grandchildren has been changed tremendously. This is because of gaps in the cultural values and language differences among other factors. While it is accepted that the grandparents would take an active role in bringing up the grandchildren, research shows that the role incorporates a considerable stress level. However, varied factors such as family support and context of caregiving moderate the stress that the grandparents experience in caregiving (Karasik & Hamon, 2007).
The sociology of the family looks at the family as a unit and institution of socialization via varied sociological perspectives. This article has outlined the interplay of various aspects of the family in the issues pertaining to aging and old age. The authors acknowledge the traditions of numerous groups concentrate on the collectivity and interdependence where the needs of the collective are prioritized over those of the individual (Karasik & Hamon, 2007). This material cemented my knowledge and understanding of the potential roles that the grandparents would play in the lives of their grandchildren. These roles mainly revolve around being teachers of the young generations or being their role models. They can be either companionate grandparents or involved grandparents and break the barriers such as geography, cultural values and time to reach out to the grandkids so as to enhance the quality of their lives (Karasik & Hamon, 2007).
Another issue that crops up in aging families is the companionship bit. It is well established that a large number of old people are married and not lonely. However, it is noteworthy that a large number of these people are men. While there are various explanations to this fact, it is noteworthy that social and cultural expectations pertaining to marriage have been the key cause of the disparity (Karasik & Hamon, 2007). The pool of men who would be willing to marry the widowed women is diminishing while that of men is endless, thanks to the media which still depicts men as ageless while women are shown as unattractive. In essence, most men remarry and remain married in their old age while their female counterparts stay single and lonely thanks to the expectations of the society (Karasik & Hamon, 2007).
Personal effect of the information
The information presented in this chapter is extremely insightful as far as cementing knowledge on the interaction between old age and culture. One of the most insightful things in the material revolves around the positive impact that parenting African American grandparents may have in the lives of their grandchildren. Such relationships have potential strengths such as involving grandchildren in the community, offering socioeconomic support, playing a part in the education of the grandchildren, maintenance of effective communication, eliminating the grandparents’ vulnerabilities, as well as allowing for the participation of the extended family and acknowledging that the biological parents are not present (Karasik & Hamon, 2007). It is worth noting that research shows that while numerous grandchildren would acknowledge that there exists a gap between them and their grandparents, their grandparents would be unlikely to acknowledge the gap. This may be surprising especially considering that most research on this research involves self reporting. However, it could be implying that the grandparents have not evolved as to meet the new or emerging demands and needs of their grandchildren as far as their relationship is concerned.
Another insightful aspect revolves around the fate of a sibling or family relationships. The article has noted that family relationships were arguably the most enduring. However, this trend would be likely to change as the size of the family decreases in the contemporary world (Karasik & Hamon, 2007). This is dreadful especially considering that siblings are a crucial component of the mutual support networks for old people. While there is a difference in the relationships between siblings across races, it is imperative that issues such as immigration are dealt with in a conclusive manner so as to cement the sibling relationships that exist among old people.
Karasik, R.J & Hamon, R.R (2007). Cultural Diversity and Aging Families. New York: Sage Publications