Social relationships have become a center of scientific study among scholars who are interested in the understanding of the process of aging. A healthy social relationships are perceived to have an influential and positive effect on an individuals overall well being. However, during the past, there is only a minimal interest given to the study of social relations and only recently has scholars worked on its definition and its effect on an individual's lifespan. The convoy model of social relationships is one among the theoretical structures that aims to study the correlation between individuals and their relationships within and across specific periods of time.
The Convoy Model of Social Support
During the 1980s, Khan and Antonucci came up with the convoy model of social relationship with the aim of reshaping the traditional notion about relationships and they offered a theoretical outline for people to better understand social relationships. The theorists projected that the convoy of social support serves as a “protective layer of social relations to guide, socialize, and encourage individuals as they move through life” (Lachman 572). This convoy model of social support puts an emphasis on the importance of family and friends and their role in providing social support to an individual throughout his life. Accordingly, the social support networks refer to the framework of a person’s important social relationships. The support network of an adult speaks of the “objective characteristics of the network such as the number of people in one’s network, the number of family members, age, sex, proximity, or frequency of contact with network members” (Lachman 579).
Adult’s Social Support
There are several types of social support: the aid, affective and affirmation supports. The aid denotes the tangible support given to an individual, such as financial support as well as other types of help needed by the person. The affective support, on the other hand, refers to the emotional support that gained from the constant communication with family and friends; while the affirmation support is the approval by others of an individuals values and beliefs, as well as their goals and aspirations (Lachman 580). The last type of social support is perceived to be less specific when compared to the aid and affective support, however, its importance cannot be set aside as a person continuously needed the approval and understanding of others throughout.
Changs in Old Age
There are many changes that occur in old age, for instance, physical changes may be noted when a person reached a specific age. A physical change such as hearing deterioration is noted in most people over 75 years of age, in addition to other physical decline. Cognitive changes are also linked to the aging process as it is noted that older people tend to be slower in learning and retrieving information. There are also the occurrences of psychological problems in older people, for instance a number of them suffer from depression, anxiety, and other dysfunctions such as dementia. Generally, older people experience a decline in their overall physical health and ability and it is in their best interest that their family and friends help them to live and learn to adapt to these limitations. Becoming older does not mean that one has to leave a lonely and isolated life, rather older people should live a happy and productive life. This can be achieved by the help of a responsive and close social support from family and friends.
Antonucci, T. C., K. J. Ajrouch, and K. S. Birditt. "The Convoy Model: Explaining Social Relations From a Multidisciplinary Perspective." The Gerontologist (2013): 82-92.
Lachman, M., Handbook of Midlife Development. John Wiley & Sons, 2002.