Chapter summary imageThe Greying of Society

How do health and aging affect stratification?

  • race, age, social class, and gender affect health; example: people from higher social classes generally have better health

What theories exist about the aging process?

  • functionalism: as people grow older, they reduce their interactions with others – a practice that is unavoidable, mutual, and acceptable to the individual and society
  • conflict theory: society places a negative stigma on the elderly, which segregates them from others
  • symbolic interactionism: successful aging encompasses health, psychological wellbeing, role integration, and social engagement
  • feminism: men and women experience aging differently, partly because society treats older men and women differently

How do we take care of retired Canadians?

  • first pillar: the Old Age Security pension is given to most Canadians over 65 years old; it is not based on employment earnings, and it is taxable
  • second pillar: the Canada Pension Plan and Quebec Pension Plan pay a modest pension to working Canadians when they retire; benefits are based on lifetime earnings contributions
  • third pillar: company pensions and private savings, such as Registered Retirement Savings Plans, are another source of retirement income for Canadians