Chuck - Issue #6 by Peter Johnson, Zev Borow

By Peter Johnson, Zev Borow

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As she is sharing her plans with her mother, who is in her late 70’s, she notices a longing in her mother’s eyes. The mother simply say, ‘I was just thinking about what I was doing at your age…. I had six children…’ Dr. Elliott Jaques, 83 who has studied aging for 45 years, has suggested a new name for old age, the third stage. ’ David Hackett Fischer in Growing Old in America describes how at the close of the eighteenth century there was cultural shift from veneration to condescension of the old and the elderly that was then reflected in our language and our manner of dealing with our older population.

As a consequence, in defining ourselves we position the other person who is positioning us – thus it is an ongoing process in multiple contexts, places or spaces at different times. In this paper, I elaborate what such a perspective could mean for research into aging and the relating process between inquirers and elderly in particular. When it comes to aging, it is also important to study and compare insights on social construction. In particular, the contributions of Kenneth Gergen, Mary Gergen, John Shotter, Peter Dachler, Dian Marie Hosking and Henk van Dongen offer us a perspective to generate a social theory that can support us to manage the care of large numbers of aging people and in a global context where interdependency in and between care organisations increases.

5. Towards a Grammar of Social Aging as Humane Condition? My preliminary conclusion? As transdisciplinary critical thinkers on aging, we should find ways to bond and bridge differences, connect to each other and cooperate. Besides, we as scientists should inquire methods to relate to the elderly and those who construct everyday aging organisations. An inquirer enters the only world we know. We ask people to speak, we give them a voice, we learn to listen, negotiate; do not avoid debates, etc. In this way, we learn to see connections and explore potential differences and opportunities.

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