Successful Aging: Culture By Culture

1568 Words 7 Pages
“Successful” aging is a concept that has differing meanings depending on where you are. For example, being successful in your aging process will be quite different from North America to Botswana. Different practices will influence aging and its perceptions of being successful or unsuccessful throughout the world. Generally, successful aging is defined culture by culture. Therefore, there is no strict set of rules regarding how to age successfully in a universal light. While this has proven effective in past studies, it can be frustrating when attempting to compare different cultures. Although, according to Professor Edmonds in his Permanent Personhood article, “the term ‘successful aging’ reflects an optimistic view of aging as a process …show more content…
In recent years in Brazil, plastica is becoming a household term as individuals, mainly women, seek to avoid looking and feeling older (Edmonds, 2014: 246). Plastica, or plastic surgery, is something that has become widespread throughout the country and to ever growing demographics of the population (Edmonds, 2014: 248 ). This surgery is seen in various ways by individuals as both a way to look better but also as a way to be able to look as young as they feel. Tatiana, one of the subjects in this research study was quoted as saying, “If you are super happy, have an active life, and a wrinkle that bothers you, why not do something about it? Aging is not cool,” (Edmonds, 2014: 246). Tatiana is one of the individuals that now uses plastica in a way that draws some similarities to North American culture, but with some key differences. In Brazil, it has now become socially acceptable to participate in plastica as a way to both look and feel better throughout the life course. Typically, women in other countries are not using plastica as commonly for the use of psychological help. While the research surrounding Brazil focused more on the female aspect of aging and how it “should be” to be successful, several of those characteristics can be extended to elderly men as well. Another subject in her fifties was quoted as saying, “The moment you see that you’re young again is really good because, in …show more content…
Recently, individuals are experiencing hardships as they are facing botsofe while their children are also facing the new idea of botsofe (Livingston, 2003: 218). This has lead to elderly individuals who are classified as botsofe needing to take care of their children, who are also now regarded as botsofe (Livingston, 2003: 219). In fact, “the current reconfiguring of the relationship between physiological signs, experiences of senescence, and social aspects of elderhood is making for a longer and more fraught period of botsofe (old age), one in which physical weakness is beginning to mark social disempowerment rather than, as it once did, aggregated authority,” (Livingston, 2003: 205-206). This means that individuals are being disabled at younger and younger ages, which is affecting the cultural ideas of what should be in old age. This has led to some resentment and tension throughout the culture between generations in regards to caretaking and financial assistance (Livingston, 2003: 220). The cultural way of thinking of botsofe itself has also been changing in recent years with a now, “physiology triggered definition. Wrinkled skin, gray hair, failing eyesight, and ‘’walking on sticks’ (the use of canes) all signaled to observers the onset of botsofe, much as they do today. But physiology itself was never the total measure of age;

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