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WHAT DO WE HAVE TO DO WITH AN AGEING BODY?

Dmitry Rogozin (e-mail: nizgor@gmail.com)

Institute of Social Analysis and Forecasting, RANEPA, Moscow, Russia

Citation: Rogozin D. (2018) Chto delat' so stareyushchim telom? [What do we have to do with an ageing body?] Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 21(2): 133–164 (in Russian). https://doi.org/10.31119/jssa.2018.21.2.5

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Abstract. The article presents the results of the all-Russian survey of people over 65 years old. The survey was conducted in July 2017. A total of 2,000 people were interviewed, 1120 of which, or 56%, are the elderly ones, and 880, or 44%, are the family members with whom we were talking about their elderly relatives. The author describes the features of an ageing body related to (1) difficulties and discomforts, (2) mobility, (3) intimate practices and (4) hygiene, body care, as well as its and the urgent need for care and attention to one's body and the corporality of ageing relatives. Old age is a period of recognition of instability and integrity of the physical and spiritual, the period of awareness of purpose and expediency of anyone’s life. Old age is a gift that you need to learn to use, learn to reflect without betraying yourself and your body, without depriving yourself of embodiement. Despite the age of any person, his/her body needs not only attention and care, but also love. Only due to the presence of the latter we may talk about meaningful aging, acceptance of old age. To grow up, grow old, get on in years means to be in harmony with oneself, to take place in this world, to find one's destiny. Therefore, the main answer to the question of what to do with the ageing body is to learn to love and not turn away from the body, not to betray one's intimacy, to be in motion. The latter is the main sign of life, positive tone, subjective well-being. It is not so important what one have to do to be mobile. Some people can go for a short walk or do exercises, others go to the country and travel to the sea annually. The very fact of physical displacements is important. Active ageing is regular movement against pain and despondency, but not a gift of fate or fortune.

Keywords: gerontology, health, intimacy, problems with hearing, sight and movement, sex, sociology of aging, mobility, corporality

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