Culture, social, and enculturation are fundamental factors that affect the elderly in a major way in the society. This is because they are practices that individuals encounter from childhood to adulthood until their old age or point of death. While cultural practices play a major role in the adulthood of many individuals in certain communities, it may not give expected results in individuals and the society. For example, some communities practice the rite of passage which is meant to officially make one and adult ready for marriage, parenthood, and other responsibilities. After this practice, a girl or boy becomes an adult who can be delegated duties and tasks that only adults can perform. On the other hand, if these practices are not professionally performed, severe consequences are likely to occur in terms of people’s health. This means that people may develop complications that eventually lead to serious medical conditions. In addition to this, it may also cause young girls and boys’ severe cases of infertility, which affect their adulthood and elderly years (Campbell 142-145).
Social expectations affect the conception and experiences of elderly people in terms of the cures, health status, and frequency of illnesses. When a person is ageing and there is no one around them to meet his or her social needs, he is likely to have a breakdown with illnesses that he encounters because of the feeling of loneliness and rejection. This may cause them to be vulnerable to occurrence of other severe symptoms, and the lack of care or failed social expectations may raise their chances of early death. In most cases, ill elderly people suffer quick death without proper care and a normal environment to cater for their needs physically, spiritually, and mentally. Because there are mental effects and changes that occur during old age, such as loss of memory, this kind of condition can only be properly managed with ample love and care of family or fulfilled social expectations. In other words, death occurs either in hospitals, homes for the elderly or family home. Depending on the environment provided, death will occur maturely or prematurely (Campbell 142-145).
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Cases of lost memory include Alzheimer disease and dementia. According to Dr, Miller Thayer, there is no substantial solution to these problems once they occur except proper care giving. This is because those suffering Alzheimer and dementia are not able to interact with others and usually have very low expectations of others. Evidently, those giving care to the old people need to understand the nature and nurture of these conditions and the whole process of ageing so that they can develop skills of caring for their patients. This way they can meet the patients’ expectations. However, in some cases, elderly patients prefer to practice euthanasia, which makes the process of death easy and bearable. While cultural practices such as rite of passage may contribute to death and severe conditions in one’s health, some religious beliefs do not authorize the practice of culture and euthanasia acceptable. This is because just like cultural practices in different communities, religious practices and beliefs also have expectations of the people (Newcott 174-176).
Through euthanasia, patients can choose when and how to die because they will have support and help of nurses to have a less severe and painful death. On the other hand, cultural and social factors do not provide options of death for patients. Different religions would view issues of quality of life and quantity of life in various ways. There are those communities or religions that value life according to the quality while others value life according to quantity. This simply means that if a person is elderly, some religions will not prioritize his life as compared to when he is young because of the many opportunities in the future. In addition, other religions and communities will value a person’s life if he is old because elderly people are unique and rare blessings of wisdom and guidance. This is because his experiences may offer guidance to younger generations. In other cases, person’s life is saved depending on his popularity and achievements, which should be passed to others. Although death is not an option for many elderly people, doctors and caregivers can offer to help them have a slow and less painful death when and if they request for it (Diaz-Cabello 196-203).
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Life support machines are usually readily available for patients who are willing to live longer and when these patients decide otherwise, the life support machines can be withdrawn. Religious factors and practices determine the means and place of death of a person in that there are religions that believe in reincarnation. In such cases, a person should die in the presence of the Supreme powers so that life after death is easier. They should also be ready for liberation of the mind and body so that they are aware of the time of death and the available new life. While patients and doctors can choose to make death easier and less traumatizing, cultural beliefs and practices such as rite of passage, affect the practice of euthanasia in that doctors can opt to help patients die by exercising the rite of passage. While social and cultural factors define a person’s experiences in his elderly years, the family and culture have obligations to ensure peaceful environment of death for patients. The family determines the process of illnesses and recovery by the support and love they offer their loved one. They can achieve this by creating a normal and conducive environment for the one suffering the illness. A normal environment helps them have an easy transition from adulthood to elderly expectations and experiences as well as illnesses (Diaz-Cabello 196-203).
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In conclusion, culture, social, and enculturation factors affect the elderly in a major way in the society. Most of these practices play a major role in defining a person’s adulthood in the community. The successful passage of rites through the performance of these practices may affect a person’s elderly years negatively or positively. If the community only allows professionals to perform the rites, it may have a positive impact on an individual’s life because they will have no health complications; as compared to when a non-experienced person performs the rite, there will be health complications, which affect a person in their elderly years. With health complications, there is frequency of illnesses and developing symptoms, which affect the experiences and conceptions of elderly people and their beliefs. For this reason, they may have a breakdown that eventually leads to severe conditions of illnesses and then death. On the other hand, when there are no health complications, an elderly person is able to survive many attacks health wise because they will be able to maintain a strong immunes system, hence no severe illness experience. This means they can live longer than expected.
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