Conflict Perspectives on Aging

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Conflict Perspectives on Aging

Conflict theorists view aging as especially problematic in contemporary capitalistic societies. As people  grow older, their power  ends to diminish unless they are able to maintain wealth. Consequently, those who have been disadvantaged in their younger  ears become  even more so in late adulthood. Women age 75   

Getting Behind the Wheel to Help Older People: Meals on Wheels

this Is A wonderful thing you all do. It’s Great for me because it  it gives me someone to talk to during the day… , I’m blessed that  know  people like you. Thank )vJ. -Beverly Gilbert an elderly resident of Pennsville  Towers In New Jersey,expressing her thanks to Meals On Wheels Volunteers who have delivered a hot meal to her home and visited with her for a number of years (qtd. in   nahan, 2007)

Like Beverly Gilbert thousands of women and men across the United States who are elderly, home bound, disabled,  or frail have  nutritious meals delivered to their residence by volunteers from Meals On Wheels, an organization that  asks recipients to  contribute what they can toward the cost of their meals but relies primarily on donations of time and money to cover the cost of   he service that it provides. Although the majority of Meals On Wheels recipients are over age sixty, some younger disabled or  II persons  also benefit from this service. What do ‘Wheels” volunteers do? On their designated service days, volunteers pick up  prepared meals packed  In Insulated carriers at a neighborhood meal site and deliver the food to the people on their “route; which   usually serves about ten people and takes no more than about an hour, even allowing’for time to visit briefly with each food recipient. Along with delivering food to people’s homes,  Meals on Wheels volunteers also provide recipients with a warm  mile and a caring attitude. Volunteers serve as a  safety check to ensure that the older person is doing all right. In orientation  sessions. volunteers learn what to do  if they get to a residence and find that a person Is In need of assistance (MOWAA, 2007). What does it take to become a Meals on Wheels volunteer?  “Wheels’ volunteers must have a valid driver’s license and proof  f insurance.They Must be eighteen years of age

or older, or if they are younger, they must be accompanied  by a person over age eighteen who meets the licensing and insurance  requirements. Meals On Wheels organizations in various communities have different guidelines on how frequently they want  volunteers to work, but a minimum of  two days per month is a general requirement Obviously, many local”Wheels’organizations  would like for volunteers to work more often than that and attempt to assign volunteers  to an area near their own home or  workplace In order  to make it easier to meet that goal (GAMOW 2.007). What can you do to help provide food for elderly, home bound residents? Providing A little of our time and for  some financial support (even a small donation) greatly helps  programs such as Meals on Wheels. Although the  Meals on Wheels Association of America is a national organization that works  with  affiliate programs and member  groups across the nation, Meals On Wheels Is Largely a grassroots operation that relies on local   volunteers to provide time and money to help make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable individuals in their community.   t is estimated that as many as 40 percent of Meals On Wheels programs across the country have waiting lists because  they lack  adequate funds to meet the needs of every person who applies for meal services.A Number of programs have been especially hard   it by a dramatic increase in the number of older residents in their area and the rising price  of gasoline (GAMOW 2.007.007). If You are  interested in helping ensure that older people  in your community have nutritious food to eat, contact your local Meals on Wheels  organization or visit the website  of the Meal son Wheels Association of  for additional  formation.  Can you think of additional ways In which you might help older individuals in your community or in your own family receive food or other services they may need?  and over are among the most disadvantaged because they  they often must rely solely  n  social Security. having outlived their spouses and sometimes their children  (Harrington Meyer. 1990). Underlying the capitalist  stem is an ideology  which assumes that all people have equal access to the means of gaining wealth and that poverty results  ROM individual weakness. When older people are in need. they may be viewed as not having worked hard enough  or planned  adequately for their retirement. The family and the private sector are seen as the “proper” agents to respond to their needs. To  minimize the demand  for governmental assistance. these services are made     punitive and stigmatizing to those who need them (Latchkey and Barusch, 2004). Class-based theories of inequality assert that government programs for older persons   stratify society on the basis of class. Feminist approaches claim that these programs perpetuate inequalities on the basis of gender  and race in addition  to class (Harrington Meyer. 1994). Conflict analysis draws attention to the diversity in the older population.   itterences ill social class, gender. and race ethnicity divide older people just as they do everyone else. Wealth cannot forestall  going ·indefinitely.   ut it can soften the economic hardships faced in later  years. The conflict perspective adds to our  understanding