A person's self-concept is how they view themselves and what the consider to be their strengths, weaknesses, personality traits, etc. A person's self concept can often change in response to life events and they can come to have a different perception about themselves than they had before.
In later life, there are many experiences that can have a significant impact on a persons self-concept and perception of themselves. Instances that could cause one's self concept to positively increase, could be situations such as retiring peacefully and not having to worry about working or earning money. Financial stability would allow them to feel confident and happy in their ability to plan effectively and save for retirement. They would not be a burden on their loved ones and this would also improve their self-concept and cause them to view themselves in a positive light. Other instances that could improve an individuals self worth in later life could include self-reliance and independence. The ability to be independent despite old age could easily be a reason for pride. Additionally, maintaining one's health despite age could also be very positive.
Instances that could decrease one's self concept could be the emergence of a disease or fatal condition. This could lead to anxiety, worrying, and self-pity and significantly lower one's self-concept. Institutionalization or isolation from loved ones could also cause a lowered self-concept as it could cause individuals to question their place in life. Age related abuse or discrimination could lead to social stigma that could also lead to lower self esteem or self-concept. Seeing loved ones pass and friends leave before you, could certainly lower one's self concept and could cause one to be down on themselves as they will feel they are becoming isolated.
Often times certain events could have a positive or negative impact or both depending on the individual. For instance isolation for some could be a sign of pride for being independent and not being a burden on one's family, while for other it could also be sign of distress and make one feel lonely leading to an indirect lowering of self-concept or self-worth. Retiring to a life of relaxation and rest could be a positive event that many look forward to, while for others who enjoy working it could be a depressing and could cause them to question why their weaknesses due to old age that caused them to eventually retire. It is clear that events can have interesting and sometimes unpredictable effects on one's self-concept. Whether the impact will be positive or negative, truly depends on the individual person and the circumstances.
Overall, there are many instances that could cause an individual's self-concept to rise or fall later in life. Often these instances have a direct impact on how one views oneself or it has an indirect impact by impacting other facets of their life that could cause emotional distress that could translate to a lower self-concept indirectly.
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