The aging of the world population today is one of the most significant issues involving the whole social structure of the rich, industrialized, and technologically advanced countries. The drop in birth rates, as well as the rapid evolution of technology in the bio-medical field, has increased longevity, creating new development opportunities for the elderly and, therefore, unusual life expectancies. The increasing longevity of individuals, however, does not always lead to actual possibilities of social insertion, because of the popular ideals of efficiency and effectiveness on which the Western capitalist economies are based. From this perspective, longevity and aging represent two complementary factors that need to be adequately integrated: on the one hand, individuals now live for a longer time than in the past, on the other, they should grow old in the best way possible, in the belief that “health is a value in and of itself ” (European Commission (EC), 2013, 1). The aging experience is associated with the quality of the life that has been led and how well the individual has developed necessary skills that accompany a positive attitude toward age-related changes and transitions. Re-adaptation processes are continuing in adulthood and they are linked to biological changes and health conditions. Coping with new and unexpected life experiences requires a degree of self-transformation (Boulton-Lewis & Tam, 2011; Bowling, 2005). This chapter introduces the most advanced research perspectives in Italy that give aging as a phase of active adaptation and reconstruction. Furthermore, the way aging is experienced and managed by institutions in Italy is analyzed along with experiences and best practices. As noted in neuroscience (Glees, 1968) and psycho-gerontology (Cesa-Bianchi & Cristini, 2014; Goldberg, 2005), aging involves not only processes of destruction and homologation, but also construction and differentiation: “One starts aging while growing up and continues growing while aging” (Cesa-Bianchi & Cristini, 2009, 14). Individuals get prepared for aging by developing skills related to resilience and by facing the continuous redefinition of human and social reality. Thus, “aging, understood as the systematic result of the interaction of biological, psychological, and social processes, is a lifelong process that begins at birth” (De Natale, 2001, 11). A positive image of aging as a process of self-realization, re-adaptation, and resource is far from the negative and stereotypical conception of aging considered as decay, and loss (Barret & Cantwell, 2007; Horton, Baker, & Deakin, 2007; Levy et al., 2002; Schaie, 1988; Umphrey & Robinson, 2007).

Ageing, Physical Activity and Health

Antonia Cunti
2018

Abstract

The aging of the world population today is one of the most significant issues involving the whole social structure of the rich, industrialized, and technologically advanced countries. The drop in birth rates, as well as the rapid evolution of technology in the bio-medical field, has increased longevity, creating new development opportunities for the elderly and, therefore, unusual life expectancies. The increasing longevity of individuals, however, does not always lead to actual possibilities of social insertion, because of the popular ideals of efficiency and effectiveness on which the Western capitalist economies are based. From this perspective, longevity and aging represent two complementary factors that need to be adequately integrated: on the one hand, individuals now live for a longer time than in the past, on the other, they should grow old in the best way possible, in the belief that “health is a value in and of itself ” (European Commission (EC), 2013, 1). The aging experience is associated with the quality of the life that has been led and how well the individual has developed necessary skills that accompany a positive attitude toward age-related changes and transitions. Re-adaptation processes are continuing in adulthood and they are linked to biological changes and health conditions. Coping with new and unexpected life experiences requires a degree of self-transformation (Boulton-Lewis & Tam, 2011; Bowling, 2005). This chapter introduces the most advanced research perspectives in Italy that give aging as a phase of active adaptation and reconstruction. Furthermore, the way aging is experienced and managed by institutions in Italy is analyzed along with experiences and best practices. As noted in neuroscience (Glees, 1968) and psycho-gerontology (Cesa-Bianchi & Cristini, 2014; Goldberg, 2005), aging involves not only processes of destruction and homologation, but also construction and differentiation: “One starts aging while growing up and continues growing while aging” (Cesa-Bianchi & Cristini, 2009, 14). Individuals get prepared for aging by developing skills related to resilience and by facing the continuous redefinition of human and social reality. Thus, “aging, understood as the systematic result of the interaction of biological, psychological, and social processes, is a lifelong process that begins at birth” (De Natale, 2001, 11). A positive image of aging as a process of self-realization, re-adaptation, and resource is far from the negative and stereotypical conception of aging considered as decay, and loss (Barret & Cantwell, 2007; Horton, Baker, & Deakin, 2007; Levy et al., 2002; Schaie, 1988; Umphrey & Robinson, 2007).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11367/104954
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