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Death and Dying in Adulthood


Generativity vs. Stagnation: Am I contributing to the world? Can lead to a renewed ... Include miscarriages, stillbirths, spontaneous abortions (non-elective) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Death and Dying in Adulthood

Death and Dying in Adulthood
  • Young, middle-aged, and elderly

  • Erikson early 20s to 65
  • Intimacy vs. Isolation can you find someone with
    whom to share your life? (How might coping with a
    life threatening illness impact intimate
  • Generativity vs. Stagnation Am I contributing to
    the world? Can lead to a renewed appreciation of
    life. (How might coping with a life threatening
    illness impact this stage of life?)

What causes death?
  • Early Ages 25-44
  • Accidents
  • Cancer
  • Heart Disease
  • Suicide
  • HIV
  • Homicide
  • Late 45-64
  • Cancer
  • Heart Disease
  • Accidents
  • Strokes
  • Lung Disease
  • Diabetes

Attitude Toward Death
  • Sandwich Generation
  • Individuals in this age group are surrounded by
  • Their parents, miscarriages, potentially the
    death of their own child.
  • Much of death is seen as death of others, but
    there is a growing realization of their own

Adult Bereavement and Grief
  • All significant, but the order of significance is
    generally understood to be
  • Ones own child
  • Ones spouse
  • Ones parents

Fetal Deaths
  • Include miscarriages, stillbirths, spontaneous
    abortions (non-elective).
  • Of confirmed pregnancies, 11 end in miscarriages
    or stillbirths.
  • Grief is often ignored. Yet, parents often have
    begun to changes lives and become attached.
  • Some parents choose to complete the bonding
  • Even those who electively abort or give a child
    up for adoption report a sense of loss and grief.

Neonatal Deaths
  • Two main categories
  • (1) Congenital abnormalities, low birth weight,
    respitory distress syndrome.
  • Involves a large amount of medical intervention.
  • Death occurs in an institutional context.
  • (2) SIDS
  • The first symptom is death.
  • Back to Sleep campaign.

  • Do you have another child?
  • What do you tell the other children?
  • Do you feel guilt?

  • Six potential sources
  • Death causation did you fail to protect?
  • Illness related related to perceived
    deficiencies in the parental role during the
    childs illness or at the time of death.
  • Parental role guilt failed to live up to
    societal/self expectations in the overall
    parental role.
  • Moral guilt childs death was punishment for
    your sins.
  • Survival parent shouldnt outlast child
  • Grief guilt did you grieve properly?

The Elderly
  • Defined as 65 or older.
  • Arbitrary distinction tied into life expectancy
    and Social Security.
  • Beginning to divide the category further
  • 65-74
  • 75-84
  • 85 and up

  • A form of discrimination.
  • What are the causes of ageism?
  • Physical attractiveness stereotypes.
  • Productivity and the Protestant work ethic.

Erickson and the Elderly
  • Final stage is Ego Integrity vs. Despair
  • A positive resolution equals the attainment of an
    inner sense of wholeness.
  • Similar to Maslows concept of self-actualization.

Causes of Death
  • The elderly comprise 74 of all deaths in the
    United States.
  • Most causes are chronic or degenerative illnesses
    (e.g., heart disease, cancer, strokes).
  • Although there are some noteworthy exceptions
    (e.g., flu/pneumonia, septicemia, accidents).

  • Highest suicide rate is among the elderly
  • Particularly in the 85 and up age group.
  • This appears to contradict the research on
    happiness among the elderly.
  • Theories
  • Have lived long lives.
  • View selves as having less value.
  • Accept own death after seeing many others.

  • Caucasian males are most likely.
  • Much less likely to fail than adolescents.
  • Arguments used to stop adolescents tend not to
    work for the elderly.
  • Greatest factor is depression
  • Loss of sense of productivity
  • Institutionalization
  • Death of spouse
  • Physical/mental losses
  • Social isolation

Bereavement and Grief
  • Cumulative impact?
  • Death of own children
  • As life expectancy increases the probability
  • 10 of elderly experience death of a child after
    the child has reached 60 years of age.
  • Is there survivor guilt?
  • What if child were primary care provider?
  • Do you become responsible for grandchildren!?