Memberships

As a group. older adults derive a great deal of personal satisfaction, information, and material support from being members of various professional, social, and religious organizations. In particular, membership in a professional or labor organization, or in a club or lodge, provides not only a sense of belongingness and camaraderie, but also feelings of security, well-being, and prestige. Organizations vary, of course, in their purposes and the age, gender, and socioeconomic groups to which they appeal. For example, business clubs, trade unions, and other occupational associations are particularly important to young and middle-aged adults who are active in the labor force. Although most retirees remain proud of their union membership, like all social interactions, being a member of an organization becomes less important in old age. This is especially true of older adults in the working class, who direct more of their social interests toward their own families. Older adults in the middle and upper social classes are more likely to remain active in social and religious organizations and to make new friends and find new pursuits and purposes from being affiliated with such groups.

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