Spirituality and Social Work

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Spirituality and Social Work Practice Sociocultural Differences in Perspectives on Aging How people see the aging process varies greatly from culture to culture. Depending upon social standards and values aging can be viewed as undesirable. While nations like the United States and Japan concentrate more on independent care (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2016), Indian culture places more focus on family administered care to the elderly (Nair, 2014). The Japanese culture values the elderly. Respect and value of the older population are deep-rooted in families and their children. Many Japanese families have multiple generations living in one home. This arrangement is believed to be one of the several reasons the elderly in Japan live longer than any other population (Karawasa et., al, 2011). As opposed to the United States, numerous nations hold elderly citizens, particularly men, in high regard. Cultural values demand respect and regard for more seasoned individuals, who are thought to be more wise and intelligent. In China, for example, older people are held in high regard and receive the utmost respect and care. Similar examples can be seen in Japan as in both Asian countries older adults have more cohesiveness with their families (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2016). The American culture tends to overlook and even holds a bias towards the elderly. According to Cox, Abramson, Devine, and Hollon (2012), old age is a risk factor for depression caused by such prejudice. When people are biased against the elderly and then become elderly themselves, their bias turns inward, causing depression. In contrast, the support and high regard of the elderly in Japan have resulted in an increase in personal growth and satisfaction in the elderly (Karasawa et., al, 2011). When working with the aging population it is important that social workers be culturally competent. Many cultural values come into play when caring for the elderly, especially when dealing with the end of life care. While someone from the Asian culture may be content to live with family one from America might not and would feel a loss of independence. References Cox, W. T., Abramson, L. Y., Devine, P. G., & Hollon, S. D. (2012). Stereotypes, prejudice, and depression: The integrated perspective. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7(5), 427-449. Karasawa, M., Curhan, K. B., Markus, H. R., Kitayama, S. S., Love, G. D., Radler, B. T., & Ryff, C. D. (2011). Cultural Perspectives on Aging and Well-Being: A Comparison of Japan and the U.S. International Journal of Aging & Human Development, 73(1), 73–98. Nair, L. V., (2014). Aging in India-Changing Trends and Perspective. Loyola Journal of Social Sciences. 28 (1), 69-82. Zastrow, C. H., & Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2016). Understanding human behavior and the social environment (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.


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