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Temas em Psicologia

Print version ISSN 1413-389X


SANTOS, Maria de Fátima de Souza  and  ALMEIDA, Ângela Maria de Oliveira. Social practices related to elders. Temas psicol. [online]. 2002, vol.10, n.3, pp. 221-228. ISSN 1413-389X.

Based on results from different works, this paper discusses the relationship among social representation of old age and its relation to social practices towards the elder. Studies in a Brazilian urban environment show that different social groups attribute meaning to that development stage that varies from disease/physical dependency to a mental one. Healthy old age is understood as an exception to the rule. It is evaluated, based on an adult stage model, which development is at its best and, in this comparison, old age is understood as a stage of losses and regression. Aging restricts the social space of the elderly as it implies "naturally" a state of incapacity and uselessness. These ideas seem to guide and serve as excuses for social practices of exclusion, be it through some sort of "childlike behavior" of the elderly, treated with over-protection, or a lack of consideration of their opinions, ideas and feelings, leading them to isolation.

Keywords : social representation; social practices of exclusion; old age.

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