Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Elderly Socioeconomic Status
Most observers agree that the elderly suffered a loss in status during the periods of modernization and industrialization in the 18th and 19th centuries. According to modernization theory, older members of society failed to maintain their economic standing in the nations that were developing economically during this time, as new skills and technology replaced more primitive forms of production. These nations mainly include those on the European continent and the United States, which were transforming their economies during that time from agriculture to industrial manufacturing. These changes led to an emphasis on factory labor, which required long hours, fixed working schedules, manual dexterity, and often great physical endurance. Elders were not well equipped to compete for these jobs or to remain in good health under that stress. Modernization theorists believe that these trends led to widespread poverty among the elderly during this time, thereby giving rise to age-based prejudice as ...