The image of the older person is "often depicted as an inevitable onset of deficiencies", associated with loss, renunciation, physical frailty, dependence, and care. The negative image supports the notion that age and its stereotypical deficits need to be postponed ... and sport is considered to be an efficient measure "to escape ageing". It is, without doubt, a deficit perspective.
This very deficit perspective is changing. "Today, ageing is understood as a dynamic process, respectively, a certain span in the continuum of birth, life and death. This interpretation is based on the fact that every stage of life allows individual development and that later life represents a period with its own specific orientations and values." Hence, we need to focus on opportunities and activity options in later life, i.e. what gerontology refers to as "successful ageing": adapting to the facts and exploiting one's potentials for active living and personal development (Tokarski, 2004).
The following aspects need to be considered when discussing sport of the elderly:
- changes in the conceptual model of ageing have led to ageing adopting a completely new image,
- daily routine, leisure and sport activities of elderly persons need to be included when analysing sport of the elderly and when understanding "life-long learning" as "life-long physical and mental exercising",
- addressing encouragement and barriers,
- promoting the ideal of continued physical exercise involvement through later life.
- Tokarski, W. (2004) Sport of the Elderly. Kinesiology, 36, 98-103
- photographs by Dean Bradshaw ("Real Life Superheroes") via