University of Wrocław, Poland
Although today the aging of societies is a fact, it is not obvious which direction societies will take in facing the phenomenon. Most likely, the needs of elderly people will become more visible and social institutions will not stay indifferent and will provide help to those people in almost every area of life – business, work, social services (especially medical and educational), culture and religion. In the personal dimension aging and old age involve changes of social status, roles, and self-identification. One of the first rules an individual learns in their socialisation process is to “act your age.” This rule refers to social diversity in the context of age. It is related to particular social roles available to a member of society as well as the way these roles are played in various life stages. This raises questions about the place of senior citizens in society. Their place is defined by social roles. Do any roles referring to old age emerge as a result of demographic changes? How are social roles available to the elderly changing today? This paper aims at presenting a brief review of a basic repertoire of social roles intended for or available to elderly people, and of tendencies in the way those roles changeThis paper is an attempt to analyse this process from the perspective of one of the elements of social structure, i.e. social roles. This analysis was to indicate the direction of the population aging process.