Sociocultural Differences in Perspectives on Aging Response

Respond to at least two colleagues who addressed cultures that are different from the ones you addressed. Share an insight from reading your colleagues’ postings. Describe how you might incorporate the cultural perspectives on aging described by your colleagues into your own social work practice.

Be sure to support your responses with specific references to the resources. If you are using additional articles, be sure to provide full APA-formatted citations for your references.

Colleague 1: Jessica

Japanese Culture & Nigerian Culture vs. Western Culture

In Japanese culture their elderly hold a higher status, to be elderly in Japan is associated with wisdom and respect (Zastrow et. al., 2019). Nigerian culture is very similar to Japanese culture in the aspect of elderly care. Nigerian culture tends to show great respect and admiration to the elder population (Curry, n.d.). In western culture (my culture) to be elderly means to be a burden and to have a lost mind. The way the elderly is treated within these to cultures is vastly different. Typically in Japanese culture the elderly live with family members and are celebrated, however in western culture the elderly are typically put into a home for the elderly and occasionally visited by family (Zastrow et. al., 2019). Nigeria is considered to be an area of poverty and therefore if an individual makes it to an elderly age they are very well respected (Curry, n.d.). The differences seem to exist due to the difference in values within Japanese/Nigerian cultures and western cultures. Japanese and Nigerian value family and tradition (Zastrow et. al., 2019; Curry, n.d.). While the western culture value jobs and urbanization, these difference in values show in the care of their elderly.

Social Work Practice

Social workers should always take into account the culture of the individual they are working with. The culture of the individual may change their perceptions on the care the social worker is providing. The National Association of Social Work (NASW) code of ethics makes it a point that all social workers act in a culturally competent manner. A social worker may come across different perceptions of death or health care or even different communication patters based upon the individual’s culture or religious beliefs (Lopez, 2007). Understanding these cultural aspects could make the difference in helping an individual as a social worker (Lopez, 2007).


Curry, T. (n.d.). Nigeria. Countries and their Cultures. Retrieved,

Lopez, S. (2007). Honoring Cultural Diversity at the End of Life. Social Work Today.7(6). P.36. Retrieved,…

Zastrow, C. H., Kirst-Ashman, K. K., & Hessenauer, S. L. (2019). Understanding human

behavior and the social environment (11thed.). Cengage Learning.

Colleague 2: Paul

Post a discussion that compares your culture’s perspective on aging to the perspective of the two cultures you research. Explain why you think these differences exist.

Western culture and Japanese culture are the two cultures that I researched. Being an American and also as someone originally from Nigeria, west Africa, There is a sharp difference between how people from west Africa and most western cultures such as the U.S., UK, Australia and Germany treat their elderly family members. In West Africa, families have time for their aging family members. For instance, in most families, especially in the rural areas do not take their aging family members to nursing homes rather they stay at home with their families and taken care of by their young family members. In the western cultures, in most cases, it is completely the opposite, a lot of families are not able to have their elderly family members at home.

According to Mayumi Karasawa (2018), Older Adults in Japan would rate aspect of their well-being (personal growth, purpose in life and positive relations with others) more highly than older U.S. Adults. In Japan, there is high regard for people in their later adulthood. The young members of the society bowed when they come across people in their late adulthood, they are regarded as people with a lot of wisdom. Unlike the western cultures, the Japanese older adults are widely socially accepted and respected. Lack of time is one of the reasons why most western cultures have little or no regard for the elderly population. The irony is that even in many Africa cultures where a lot of time is being created for taken care of their elderly family members, are now gradually becoming like the western culture because of migration and industrialization. More and more people are migrating to bigger cities and the western countries in search of opportunities that in most cases only the elderly people and young children are left at home.

In the western cultures, there is hardly enough time to get things done, as a result, it is almost impossible for people to have their aging family members live with them. According to Rinald, D. Tucker Seeley in the resource reading childhood financial hardship and lifetime earnings were not associated with the absence of morbidity, however, childhood financial hardship was associated with an 8% higher number of chronic conditions.

Explain how different perspective on aging might impact social work practice

The western culture is more challenging to social workers when it comes helping the elderly population. It is much easier for social workers to render their service to their elderly clients if their family members are involved in their care. Social workers and family members can easily form a strong partnership in caring for the elderly clients. For instance, in a culture like the Japanese culture where the elderly population is already widely socially accepted and respected, it will be much easier for social workers to help their aging clients.


Tucker-seeley, R. D. Li, Y., Sorensen, G., & Subramanian, S. V. (2011) lifecourse socioeconomic circumstances and multimorbidity among older adults. BMC Public Health. 11 (14)

Karasawa, M. (2018) Cultural perspective on aging in Japan: Retrieved from

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