A vulnerability can be defined as the nature or state of being exposed to the possibility of being physically or emotionally attacked or harmed. It is defined as the ability of an individual or a group to face, manage and predict a potential problem. This concept of vulnerability is associated with a risk factor for social isolation, and thus with situations that can lead to illness, mental and physical health deficits. It may be rooted in poverty, social exclusion, ethnicity, disability, just illness, or certain developmental stages of life.
All these aspects reflect very important vulnerability factors among biological, psychological, social and behavioral variables. To date, no one has highlighted two critical moments in life when this brain region undergoes significant variation. It is adolescence where its development takes place and old age, when this area goes into cognitive decline with the relative loss of many higher cognitive functions. This information can help to better understand the forms of exclusion linked to vulnerability to develop new forms of social inclusion.
Social Frailty in the Elderly
Old age is often associated with vulnerability, but a new aspect associated with this concept is vulnerability. Over the age of 65, life expectancy continues to increase, but unhealthy life years make up about 20% of a person’s life. In fact, the aging population is dealing with problematic anthropological demographic and epidemiological transformations. Active and healthy aging is a necessity and social challenge shared by all countries. Frailty is a clinical syndrome that increases vulnerability to stressors and decreases physiological reserves due to a decrease in the ability to maintain homeostasis, the main characteristic of which is disruption in multiple systems.
A weak elderly is an elderly person at high risk of deterioration in psychophysical health. In fact, frailty in the elderly is a multidimensional concept that properly takes into account the complex interaction between environmental physical, psychological and social factors. Until now, there is no precise and recognized operational definition of frailty. Experts from the EIP-AHA have identified two profitable approaches: the first addresses the physical determinants (medical definition), while the second takes into account biological, cognitive, psychological, and socioeconomic factors (bio-psychosocial definition).
The operative definition of frailty is concerned with the risk of adverse health consequences (such as vulnerability, hospitalization, disability, institutionalization, and death) to which the elderly will be subject, given the relationship between the level of vulnerability and the current risk. And the more severe the time fragility level, the more serious the risk. The incidence of these negative healthcare outcomes is related not only to the patient’s functional, physical or mental state, but also to his social and socioeconomic status. The absence of even one of the last conditions leads to an increase in the use of health and social assistance services.
More importantly, social vulnerability is related to the health of older people, and should be considered as a potential vulnerability and aggravating factor. Hence, loneliness and social isolation have been associated with physical regression. Conversely, a strong social network has a protective effect. Loneliness and social isolation are different concepts. Valtorta and Hanratty (2012) reported: Loneliness is associated with the absence of a larger social network (social loneliness) or a specific desired friend (emotional loneliness). It is also one of the most widely used definitions where it is perceived as a subjective negative emotion.
Social isolation is defined objectively by using criteria such as being in contact, less participation in social activities and living alone. As a matter of fact, individuals may feel lonely without being socially isolated. They may experience equally loneliness and isolation, or be socially isolated without feeling lonely. For these reasons, the role played by social and socioeconomic factors in determining vulnerability and any possible form of intervention should be considered. Vulnerability measurement methods can provide a useful guide for measuring social vulnerability. In fact, while health status can be summed up by an under-hoarding approach, the more vulnerabilities an elderly hoard, the more vulnerable he or she is.
If several different gaps can be combined to estimate not only relative vulnerability but also social vulnerability, this index of social vulnerability offers insights into the health and social care needs of the elderly. One such idea is that Andrew and his team found that social vulnerability is higher among fraudsters and is associated with higher mortality rates. In addition, Gale et al found that even if loneliness and social isolation are not associated with the vulnerability index change rate, high levels of loneliness increase the risk of being physically vulnerable.
Unless there is a unanimous agreement on how to characterize social vulnerability, attention to social factors must be recognized as an integral part of providing care for older people. A more social and sustainable life is a process in which welfare systems are based on intergenerational solidarity. More resources should be invested in better care systems to balance work-life and prepare for demographic changes. In other words, a more social life should ensure that older people as well as young people trust their present and future.
Older citizens have many contributions to society. The active participation of older people in their communities can bring economic and social value through their contributions and opportunities as volunteers, workers, informal caregivers and consumers. It can also maintain their motivation and sense of feeling valued, thus avoiding social isolation and the many problems and risks associated with it. To date, seniors have faced many barriers to their participation in their communities.
These may include restrictions on mobility, political civic processes and access to infrastructure. Moreover, opportunities to keep up with technological changes create a lack of information, diminished social networks, loss of trust and self-esteem. Politicians, academia and authorities should provide support and create the conditions for older people to participate fully in their society. Seniors should be supported through various funding programs, research or development-oriented action.
Novara and Di Chio also made a commitment to children themselves through interviews, as part of a study aimed at identifying the most effective pedagogical interventions to promote the management of children’s fights. They listed the reasons behind these arguments and also reported that arguments can happen to anyone. The children interviewed referred to situations characterized by the presence of anger and feelings of anger. It is anger against alleged friendships, mockery, violations of the rules, possession of games or taking on roles within them.
This leads us to think that there is a close relationship between the feeling of anger and the onset of interpersonal conflicts. Van Kleef confirms this and goes even further, distinguishing between internal anger effects and interpersonal effects. The results of his study allow us to understand that anger is associated with hostile emotions, distorted perceptions, attributions, and competitive behavior at the internal level. At the interpersonal level, anger sometimes causes mutual hostility and thus competition, while in other cases it activates alternative strategies that motivate cooperation. In this context, some scientific evidence can be found regarding the fact that cooperation strategies are most effective for adequate management of conflict situations. Novara and Passerini, for example, suggested that conflict is a place where every conflict has the opportunity to make its contribution, and that it is a space created precisely because of an initial difference.
Speaking in the context of the school, also the task of the school should be to guarantee the experience of conflict in order to give everyone the opportunity to contribute to the resolution of created relationship problems. Already a few years ago, Sherif and his team made a turning point in the psychology of groups and the study of intergroup conflict, thanks to the Robbers Cave experiment. To sum up, about 20 Oklahoma City children who had never met or had not known before, but who were completely homogeneous in terms of religion and religion, were randomly divided into two groups by inviting their social backgrounds to a summer camp. The experimenters were soon told that the fact of dividing them into two groups led to a series of stereotypes and prejudices against the other group, and soon the creation of unconventional weapons, from the theft of flags and clothes to mutual jokes, always by demanding food on separate tables.
In the second phase of the experiment, it is to establish peace among the target groups. Only resorting to joint activities did not yield the desired results. But the situation changed when the experimenters turned to higher-level goals, which means that cooperation between everyone was required. However, in this cooperation, it was reported that water pipes were spreading in the field, they were sabotaged and children from both groups were selected to solve the problem. When they managed to free the blocked pipe through mutual cooperation, they found themselves celebrating together. Within a few days the weather started to change and when the experiment was over and all the children had to return home, they were all very happy to take the return trip on the same bus sitting next to each other.
As mentioned, vulnerability can be defined as the nature or state of being exposed to the possibility of being physically or emotionally attacked or harmed. In this section, it is defined as the ability of an individual or a group to face, manage and predict a possible problem. This concept of vulnerability is associated with anger as a risk factor for social isolation.
As previously reported, no one has yet brought together the two critical moments of adolescence and old age when the development of vulnerability can become the critical stage of life for social isolation. This area goes into cognitive decline with the relative loss of many higher cognitive functions. All these aspects reflect very important vulnerability factors among biological, psychological, social and behavioral variables. It can help to better understand the forms of exclusion linked to vulnerability to develop new forms of social inclusion.
Author: Ozlem Guvenc Agaoglu