Elderly Women Empowerment in the Aging Process: A Cognitive Perspective

Elderly Women Empowerment in the Aging Process: A Cognitive Perspective

Fahri Özsungur
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2819-8.ch016
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This study was carried out to draw a road map for the cognitive empowerment of women in the aging process. The fact that women are under negative effects in physical, biological, and cultural contexts reveals the fact that they may have some psychological and perceptual problems. Perceptually, struggle against the difficulties experienced in the aging process requires a cognitive approach. Improving women's perceptual self-management skills will lead to success in the aging process. The theoretical framework of the study is explained with the topics of successful aging theory, successful aging in the workplace, cognitive theory of aging. Cognitive empowerment is explained with the topics of perception in aging, psychological effects, socio-emotional selectivity theory, emotional regulation, expressive suppression, cognitive reappraisal self-perception in aging, the self paradox, interpersonal conflicts, personality theory of aging, physical perception effects. Besides, recommendations are presented with a cognitive approach to overcome the difficulties in the aging process of women.
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Aging is a current issue that has a physical, physiological, social, psychological and cognitive aspect that concerns human beings. Declines that occur with aging cause individuals to be psychologically negative. Social decline leads to a weakening of the individual's relationship with friends and neighbors. Aging-related diseases in the body, weakening of the anatomical structure, declines related to the five senses affect the psychological resilience of the individual. Physiological declines which revealed problems of adaptation to the physical environment, problems in blood pressure increase the risk of diseases and affect psychology. Besides, some declines in cognitive processes decrease the psychological resilience of the individual. Dysmnesia, amnesia, memory problems, learning, and perceptual problems, attention deficit, distractibility significantly affect the psychology of the individual. These declines due to aging reveal the importance of psychology and perception in terms of adaptation to the aging process. Many of these declines can be caused by individual problems.

Social roles, individual's place in society, cultural influences, physiological necessities are factors that have cognitive and psychological effects in the aging process. These factors vary significantly according to gender. Women have to cope with significant difficulties compared to men in terms of women's place in society, their roles in the family, family-work conflict, pregnancy, childcare, menstrual problems. The ability of the woman who tries to overcome these difficulties to pass the aging process successfully and to increase the well-being depends on the cognitive and psychological empowerment. Increasing awareness of the cognitive process may improve psychological resilience and ensure successful aging. Therefore, the empowerment of women in the aging process requires a cognitive approach.

The fact that women have to cope with physiological and social difficulties is a notable issue for aging and women studies. Particularly, the successful aging approach has important shortcomings due to the general framework of the approach and the fact that the differences between men and women are not taken into consideration. This deficiency can be overcome by examining the empowerment of women in the context of aging. Women experience some difficulties throughout their lives for physical, biological, social, and emotional reasons. Some of these difficulties are pregnancy, social pressure, menstruation, work-family conflict, infant care, gynecological diseases. These factors affect the psychological impact of women and the successful aging in the aging process. The social, physical and biological necessities of being a woman affect the aging process and the psychology of women. Achieving success and psychological resilience during the aging process is possible by empowering women with a cognitive approach. Therefore, the aim of the study is to reveal how to empower elderly women to cope with the psychological and negative effects caused by the difficulties experienced in the aging process with a cognitive approach. For this purpose, the literature was reviewed and the theoretical framework was formed. The results of the study were discussed with the studies in the literature and recommendations for future studies were presented.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cognitive Reappraisal: Changing the emotional reactions by the individuals via reinterpreting or rearranging the meaning of the emotionally emerging situation.

Social Gerontology: A sub-science of gerontology which examines the aging process in terms of social aspects, aims to improve the lives of elderly individuals and bring them to the society in the light of social needs and evaluates aging within the framework of macro and micro-economy.

Socio-Emotional Selectivity Theory: This theory is a life-span theory of motivation and that shows that people are selective and devote more time and resources to emotional activities in line with the advancing time and emerging needs.

Emotional Regulation: An internal and operational process in which individuals adapt to one or more emotion components consciously or unconsciously by changing their own experiences, behavioral expressions or situations that awaken emotions, the basis of emotional and social cohesion.

Self Paradox: A contradiction state due to the comparison between identity perceived by the environment and self-perceived by the individual in the cognitive process.

Gerontology: An emerging and interdisciplinary field regarding the aging process.

Expressive Suppression: A the type of strategy in which individuals try to hide, prevent, or reduce ongoing emotion-expressing behaviors.

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