The primary distinction between activity theory and continuity theory is that activity theory asserts that elderly adults are happiest when they are active and maintain social interactions, whereas continuity theory asserts that elderly people maintain the same activities, behaviors, personalities, and relationships that they grew up in. Activity theory has its roots in the work of George Herbert Mead, while continuity theory is based on the ideas of Abraham Maslow.
Activity theory was first proposed by John Kenneth Galbraith in his book The Affluent Society. He argued that one way to measure a society's success is by looking at how it accommodates or not its most productive members by allowing them to continue their participation in economic life. The more a society allows its elderly to remain active and involved in the community, he believed, the more successful it is. Galbraith called this process "personalization," because it means that individuals are not simply receiving benefits but are also contributing to society through their work and involvement with other people.
Continuity theory was first proposed by Louis M. Gomez in his book A History of Old Age from 1800 to 1950. Like Galbraith, he believed that an important indicator of a country's prosperity is how it treats its older citizens. However, he argued that the most effective way for countries to accommodate their elderly is by providing for them financially rather than engaging them in social activities.
The main difference between activity theory and disengagement theory is that activity theory suggests that elderly people stay happy when they are active and engage in social interactions, whereas disengagement theory suggests that as people age, they naturally withdraw from society and personal relationships. Other differences include activity theorists believing that older people can be as happy as younger people if they get enough exercise and positive experiences, while disengagers claim that older people are less likely to be happy.
Activity theory was first proposed by Lester F Beck Jr and M Richard Lee in 1979. They argued that there are two factors that determine whether or not elderly people are satisfied with their lives: physical health and emotional well-being. If they are healthy and feel good about themselves, then they will be happy.
They also suggested that older people can be as happy as younger people if they get out of their houses and take part in community activities at least once a week.
Emotional well-being involves feeling joy, contentment, and satisfaction with one's life. It also includes avoiding feelings such as anxiety and depression. Activity therapists believe that if you look after your body by getting some exercise every day and staying away from dangerous things like alcohol and drugs, then your mind will be at peace too. They say that happiness is possible for everyone, even if you aren't doing anything exciting all the time.
According to the continuity hypothesis of normal aging, older persons will typically keep the same activities, behaviors, and connections that they did in their younger years. One of three primary psychosocial theories that describe how individuals evolve in old age is the continuity hypothesis. The continuity theory states that as we get older, we continue with those behaviors that worked well for us in earlier life stages.
The discontinuity theory of aging states that as we get older, we stop doing certain things and start new relationships or careers. It explains why some people remain active in sports or social clubs into their 80s while others decline significantly at a similar rate to general population statistics.
The adaptation theory of aging states that we change what we do depending on what needs to be done around the house or at work. For example, if one of our neighbors has been having trouble with her roof, we would help out by letting her use our ladder to repair her own roof rather than buying a new one. In other words, we would adapt to our situation rather than stick to our plan of action.
Continuity vs. Discontinuity: According to the continuity theory, everyone aged 50+ will experience the same types of changes and have the same levels of activity. If this were true, then older adults would likely find the process of aging less frustrating and more manageable.