Health> Vol.6 No.10, April 2014

Social Construction of Dependence in Elderly Men in Chile

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ABSTRACT

Based on a qualitative research restricted to aging processes in Chile, the paper presents the experience and significance of dependence in elderly men and how it is related with the social construction of old age. It is important to know how the identity of aging is configured when facing such a significant biographical and social landmark as the loss of functionality in later life. When analyzing the social construction of dependence in elderly men, three aspects of that configuration stand out: first, the way in which they understand and signify their situations of illness, physical problems, disability, and evaluation of their health; second, the characteristics of the social significant contexts in which disability or physical problems become evident; and third, the actions, roles or activities that they perform in those contexts, which are valued differently according to the experiences of dependence or autonomy. Dependence in elderly men does not appear as a static condition, but rather as a passage from physical-biological conditioners to the social context in which their everyday actions take place. So the agency of the dependence, its construction, experience and significance is the understanding of the social phenomenon of old age.

Cite this paper

Osorio-Parraguez, P. and Seguel, A. (2014) Social Construction of Dependence in Elderly Men in Chile. Health, 6, 998-1003. doi: 10.4236/health.2014.610125.

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