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Chapter Twenty-Three


Title: Human Development Author: Grossmont-Cuyamaca Comm Coll Last modified by: Charles Pemberton Created Date: 4/30/2000 8:27:32 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Three
  • Late Adulthood
  • Biosocial Development

Prejudice and Predictions
  • Prejudices about late adulthood are held by
    people of all ages, including children and the
    very old

  • Ageisma term that refers to prejudice against
    older people because of their age
  • Why is ageism so strong?
  • cultural emphasis on growth, strength, and
  • veneration of youth
  • increasing age segregation

  • Gerontologystudy of old age
  • GeriatricsThe medical specialty devoted to old
  • Two Different Perspectives
  • doctors in geriatrics view aging as an illness
  • gerontologists view aging as socially constructed

Gerontology, cont.
  • Contrary to popular belief, many
    developmentalists now view aging, like all other
    periods, as marked by gains as well as losses

  • A reason ageism is decreasing is that there are
    more aging individuals
  • 7 percent of worlds population now over 65 years
  • 13 percent in developed nations such as United

Demography, cont.
  • Changing shape of demographic pyramid
  • the population stack has shifted from a pyramid
    to a square
  • reflects changes in recent decadesfewer births
    and increased survival
  • By 2030 the proportion of those over 65 is
    projected to double worldwideto 15 percent

Dependents and Independence
  • Dependency ratioratio of self-sufficient,
    productive adults (those between ages 15 and 65)
    to dependentschildren and the elderly
  • the greater the number of dependents compared to
    workers, the higher the dependency ratio

Dependents and Independence, cont.
  • What are some of the problems cultures may face
    as baby boomers age?
  • crisis in geriatric medicine
  • Medicare, Social Security, and quality private
    health insurance in jeopardy?
  • entire tax and caregiving burden may fall on
    shrinking middle cohort

Reasons Not to Worry
  • Technology and science combining to allow more
    production with fewer workers
  • Inverse ratio between birth rates and longevity
  • Most people over 65 are not dependent
  • only 5 percent in nursing homes or hospitals
  • elderly married couples take care of each other
  • in other nations, elderly live with their children

Young, Old, and Oldest
  • Distinctions based on age, health, and social
  • young-oldhealthy and vigorous, financially
    secure, active in family and community life
  • old-oldhave major physical, mental or social
    loses, but still have some strengths
  • oldest-olddependent on others for almost

Young, Old, and Oldest, cont.
  • Some gerontologists like the following terms
  • optimal aging
  • usual aging
  • impaired aging

Anti-Aging Measures
  • Aging has many causes
  • wear and tear
  • cellular accidents
  • declining immune system
  • programmed senescence

Calorie Restriction
  • Mammals can almost double their life span if they
    eat half as much food throughout adulthood
  • proven for mice and rats probably true for
    monkeys, chimps, and dogs
  • true for humansprobably but must be carefully
  • Pack more nutrients into fewer calories

Calorie Restriction, cont.
  • Older people take drugs that are considered
    harmless, but do affect nutritional requirements
  • Mammals with reduced calorie intake are stronger,
    more vital, and younger in their appearance as
    long as they consume adequate vitamins and

Prejudice and Delusion
  • Calorie restriction may arise from prejudice and
  • An important question what impact would calorie
    restriction have on the quality of life?
  • would people be constantly hungry, agitated,

Primary Aging in Late Adulthood
  • Primary agingall irreversible and universal
    physical changes over time
  • Secondary agingphysical illnesses or changes
    common to aging but caused by individuals health
    habits, genes, and other influences

Primary Aging in Late Adulthood, cont.
  • People vary in their selective optimization with
    compensationthe choosing of healthy activities
    that compensate for primary aging being

Changes in Appearance
  • Appearance changes as time passes
  • in ageist society, people who look old are
    treated as old
  • children quick to see the elderly as old-fashioned

The Skin and Hair
  • Wrinkles, hair changes
  • hair becomes grayer
  • hair all over body becomes thinner

Body Shape and Muscles
  • Alteration in overall body height, shape, and
  • With weight loss may come muscle loss
  • reduces flexibility
  • Self-perception can lead to a feeling of
    fragility and a fear of falling

Body Shape and Muscles, cont.
  • Falls do occur
  • injuries may require medical treatment
  • exercise a very effective preventative
  • weightlifting should be part of the exercise
  • Flexibility is one of the best predictors of

Dulling of the Senses
  • Sense Organs
  • Until a century ago, sensory losses could be
  • Today, they do not have to be debilitating

  • Only about 10 percent of elderly see well
  • Cataractsshrinking of lens, causing vision to be
    cloudy, opaque, and distorted
  • by 70, 30 percent have some visual loss due to

Vision, cont.
  • Glaucomaoptic nerve damage, causing sudden and
    total blindness
  • 1 percent of people in 70s 10 percent in 90s
  • Senile macular degenerationretinal deterioration
  • 4 percent under 75 and 18 percent over 75

  • Presbycusisage-related hearing loss
  • 40 percent over 65 experience it
  • Tinnitisbuzzing or ringing
  • 10 percent of elderly experience it

Compensation for Sensory Loss
  • Compensation, not passive acceptance, is crucial
  • Adjustment means finding balance between
    maintaining normal activities and modifying
    routines to fit diminished capacities
  • new technology available
  • specialists help connect techniques, technology,
    and people
  • personal determination helps

Compensation for Sensory Loss, cont.
  • Critical factor is recognition of the problem and
    willingness to change
  • Attitudes make sensory impairments less isolating

Compensation for Sensory Loss, cont.
  • Younger adults and social practices have not
    caught up
  • medical insurance may not pay for devices or
  • elderspeakway of speaking to elderly that
    resembles baby talk
  • simple, short sentences
  • exaggerated emphasis
  • slower rate, higher pitch, and repetition

Major Body Systems
  • Primary and secondary aging combine to make all
    major body systems slower and less efficient,
    eventually causing death
  • Exercise/physical activity is beneficial
  • helps maintain strength of heart muscle and lungs
  • lack can lead to heart attack
  • improves overall quality of life

Compensation for Aging Organs
  • Compensation entails
  • medical technology
  • specialist advice
  • personal determination
  • cultural accommodation

Compression of Morbidity
  • Compression of morbidityincreasing time for
    better quality of life without diseases or
    disability and once morbidity occurs, reducing
    amount of time remaining before death

Compression of Morbidity, cont.
  • Healthier person likely to be
  • intellectually alert
  • socially active
  • Medical science has made compression of morbidity
  • still, each individual must do his or her part

Theories of Aging
  • Many Theories of Aging (300)
  • we will look at two
  • Wear and Tear
  • Genetic Aging Theory

Wear and Tear Theory
  • Compares body to machine
  • Body wears down because of accumulated exposure
    to inadequate nutrition, disease, pollution, and
    other stresses
  • women who are never pregnant live longer
  • overweight people tend to sicken and die younger
  • today there are replacement parts
  • Wear out our bodies by living our lives

Genetic Aging
  • What makes entire body age?
  • focus on whole body rather than individual parts
  • Some theorists propose that aging is the normal,
    natural result of the genetic plan for the species

Life Expectancy
  • Genetic programming to reach biological
    maturation at fixed times and genetically
    programmed to die after a fixed number of years
  • Maximums and Averages
  • maximum life span (humans 115)
  • average life expectancy
  • affected by culture, historical and socioeconomic

Selective Adaptation
  • Epigenetic theory provides some explanations for
    primary aging
  • Early adulthood only nongenetic events are
    likely to cause death
  • Genetic diseases that affect older people may be
    passed on from generation to generation

Cellular Aging
  • Cellular Accidents
  • accumulation of minor accidents that occur during
    cell reproduction cause aging
  • mutations occur in process of DNA repair
  • instructions for creating new cells become
  • cellular imperfections and declining ability to
    detect and correct them can lead to harmless
    changes, small functional loss, or fatal damage

Free Radicals
  • Some of bodys metabolic processes can cause
    electrons to separate from their atoms and can
    result in atoms with unpaired electronoxygen
    free radicals
  • can produce errors in cell maintenance and
    repair, leading to cancer, diabetes, etc.
  • Antioxidantscompounds that nullify the effects
    of oxygen free radicals by forming a bond with
    their unattached oxygen electron
  • vitamins A, C, and E, mineral selenium

Errors in Duplication
  • Hormonal changes triggered in brain that switch
    off the genes promoting growth
  • The Hayflick Limit
  • genetic clockaccording to one theory of aging, a
    regulatory mechanism in the DNA of cells that
    regulates the aging process
  • cells stop replicating at a certain point
  • Evidence for genetic regulation from diseases
    producing premature aging

The Immune System
  • Diminished immune system is weakened
  • Two types of attack cells reduced in numbers
  • B cells in bone marrow, which create antibodies
    that attack invading bacteria and viruses
  • T cells, which produce substances that attack

Research on Immune Deficiency
  • Scientific support for the immune system theory
    comes from research on HIV/AIDS
  • HIV can be latent for many years, but eventually
    becomes AIDS
  • Individuals with weakened immune systems do not
    live as long as those with stronger immune
    systems thus, immunity not simply result of aging

Who Cares About Living Longer?
  • Most people are not interested in living longer
  • evidence for lack of interest found in daily
    habits of many adults
  • in research budgets, less money spent on
    preventing aging than on treating diseases
  • people would rather have better quality of life
    than lengthen it

The Centenarians
  • People 100 years of age or older

Other Places, Other Stories
  • Remote regions where large numbers of people have
    unusual longevity have been found in
  • Georgia, Russia
  • Pakistan
  • Peru

Other Places, Other Stories, cont.
  • Regions share 4 characteristics
  • diet is moderate, mostly veggies and herbs
  • work continues throughout life
  • family and community are important
  • exercise and relaxation part of daily life
  • But birth records of these regions not verifiable

The Truth About Life After 100
  • Habits and culture allow for better aging
  • Increasing numbers are reaching this age
  • some in very good health
  • centenarians have shorter period of morbidity
    before death

Chapter Twenty-Four
  • Late Adulthood
  • Cognitive Development

Changes in Information Processing
  • Schaies study found decline in all 5 primary
    mental abilities
  • verbal meaning
  • spatial orientation
  • inductive reasoning
  • number ability
  • word fluency

Input Sensing and Perceiving
  • With age it takes longer for information to
    register in sensory registerholds incoming
    sensory information for a split second after it
    is received
  • small reductions in sensitivity and power
  • sensory receptors (eyes, ears, etc.) now less
  • deficits can be compensated for if person is
    aware of reduction

Input Sensing and Perceiving, cont.
  • However, for information to reach perception,
    must cross sensory threshold
  • senses must pick up relevant sensations
  • this is where significant decline occurs
  • problem becomes serious because it is insidious
  • person is unaware of things not seen or heard
  • after time may miss substantial amount of

Working Memory
  • Working, or Short-Term Memory
  • processing component through which current,
    conscious mental activity occurs
  • Two Interrelated Functions
  • serves as temporary information storage
  • processes information held in mind

Working Memory, cont.
  • Older adults smaller working memory capacity
    than younger adults
  • multitasking especially difficult focusing helps
    to compensate
  • Explanations for Decline
  • inability to screen out distractions and inhibit
    irrelevant thoughts
  • decline in total mental energy

Long-Term Memory
  • Knowledge Base
  • long-term storehouse of information and memories
  • evidence suggests memory for vocabulary remains
    unimpaired and can increase with age
  • areas of expertise relatively unimpaired
  • Source amnesiaforgetting who or what was source
    of fact, idea, or conversation
  • increasingly common in late adulthood

Control Processes
  • Part of the information-processing system that
    regulates analysis and flow of information
  • e.g., selective attention, retrieval strategies,
    storage mechanisms, logical analysis
  • Older adults unable to gather and consider all
    data relevant to logical analysis and decision
  • rather, they rely on prior knowledge,
    rule-of-thumb, general principles

Control Processes, cont.
  • Use of retrieval strategies also declines with
  • possible to learn better retrieval strategies,
    but does not overcome age-related problems in
    memory and control

Explicit and Implicit Memory
  • Explicit memoryinvolves facts, definitions,
    data, concepts, etc.
  • learned consciously through deliberate repetition
    and review
  • because of rehearsal, usually easily retrieved
  • Implicit memoryinformation that is an
    unconscious or automatic memory such as habits,
    emotional responses, routines
  • contents not deliberately memorized

  • Rather than direct result of aging, decline may
    be result of
  • refusal to guess
  • deliberate choice
  • resistance to change
  • reluctance to use memory aids

Reasons for Age-Related Changes
  • Causes of declines in cognitive functioning
  • primary aging
  • secondary aging
  • ageism
  • either reflected in self-perception
  • or embedded in way scientists measure cognition

Primary Aging
  • Brain Slowdown
  • reduced production of neurotransmitters that
    allow nerve impulses to jump across synapse from
    one neuron to another
  • decrease in total volume of neural fluid
  • decrease in speed of cerebral blood flow
  • slower pace of activation of various parts of
  • Slowdown may affect learning new material, but
    the types of thinking not involving speed are
    less affected

  • Strategies of Older Adults
  • employ memory tricks
  • use written reminders
  • allow for more time to solve problems
  • repeat confusing instructions
  • Older adults slower but not less accurate than
    younger adults

Terminal Decline
  • Overall slowdown of cognitive abilities in days
    or months before death
  • marked loss of intellectual power
  • results not from agerather from being close to
  • Change in cognitive ability and increased
    depression often precede visible worsening of

Secondary Aging
  • Several diseases impair cognition among aging
  • dementia, hypertension, diabetes,
    arteriosclerosis, and diseases affecting lungs
  • Lifestyle habits contribute to these diseases
  • poor eating, smoking, lack of exercise

Secondary Aging, cont.
  • Brain deterioration due to poor lifestyle habits
    can be halted by
  • improved nutrition and exercise
  • various drugs, e.g., long-term use of
    anti-inflammatory steroids
  • aspirin and ibuprofen

Attitudes of the Elderly
  • Influence of Expectations and Stereotyping
  • people aged 5070 overestimate their early
    adulthood memory skills, which can lead to loss
    of confidence that impairs present memory
  • confidence in memory skills also eroded when
    others interpret hesitancy as sign of impaired

Ageism in Research
  • Laboratory research may favor younger adults,
    rather than older because
  • older adults at intellectual best early in day at
  • Experiments on memory biased toward people used
    to being tested
  • in school setting, young adults regularly
    memorize information not immediately relevant to
    daily life
  • older adults unpracticed at, and may be
    suspicious of, exams

Beyond Ageism
  • Laboratory research on memory
  • uniformly reports some memory loss in late
  • but few older adults consider memory loss
    significant handicap
  • Compensate by using reminders
  • the more realistic the circumstances, the better
    older people remember
  • supportive environments aid memory

  • Dementiairreversible loss of intellectual
    functioning caused by organic brain disease
  • Symptoms
  • confusion and forgetfulness
  • More common with age
  • More than 70 diseases can cause dementia
  • Difficult to diagnose

Alzheimers Disease
  • Disorder characterized by proliferation of
    plaques and tangles
  • abnormalities in cerebral cortex that destroy
    brain functioning
  • Plagues formed from protein called B-amyloid
  • Tangles are twisted mass of protein threads
    within cells

Risk Factors for Alzheimers
  • Gender, ethnicity, and especially age affect odds
    of developing it
  • women at greater risk than men
  • more common in North America and Europe than in
    Japan and China
  • less common among Asian Americans than European

Risk Factors for Alzheimers, cont.
  • Age is chief risk factor
  • incidence rises from about 1 in 100 at age 65 to
    1 in 5 over age 85
  • Alzheimers is partly genetic
  • ALZHSvariant of the ApoE gene (allele
    4)increases risk
  • in United States, 20 percent inherit ApoE4 from
    one parent thus, have a 50/50 chance of
    developing disease by age 80

Risk Factors for Alzheimers, cont.
  • Factors decreasing risk
  • allele ApoE2 dissipates protein that causes
  • lifestyle habits (e.g. physical exercise and
    mental activity) said to be protective

Stages From Confusion to Death
  • Stage 1
  • general forgetfulness
  • Stage 2
  • more general confusion
  • noticeable differences in concentration and
    short-term memory
  • speech can be aimless or repetitive

Stages From Confusion to Death, cont.
  • Stage 3
  • memory loss becomes truly dangerous
  • no longer able to take care of own basic needs
  • Stage 4
  • need for full-time care as cannot care for self
    or respond normally
  • occasionally irrationally angry or paranoid

Stages From Confusion to Death, cont.
  • Stage 5
  • completely mute
  • unable to respond with any action or emotion
  • death usually occurs 10 to 15 years after onset

Many Strokes
  • Vascular Dementia or Multi-Infarct Dementia
  • characterized by sporadic, progressive, loss of
    intellectual functioning
  • temporary obstruction of blood vessels prevent
    sufficient supply of blood to brain commonly
    called a stroke, or ministroke
  • common cause is arteriosclerosis
  • different progression than that of Alzheimers

Subcortical Dementias
  • Begin with motor ability impairments and later
    produce cognitive impairment
  • Parkinsons disease most common
  • degeneration of neurons in area of brain that
    produces dopamine, neurotransmitter essential to
    normal brain functioning
  • majority of newly diagnosed over 60

Subcortical Dementias, cont.
  • Other Dementias
  • Huntingtons disease
  • multiple schlerosis
  • Toxins and infectious agents can cause dementia
  • syphilis
  • AIDS
  • psychoactive drugs

Reversible Dementia
  • From Overmedication
  • drug management difficult for older adults living
    at home who typically consume 5 or more different
    drugs a day
  • From Undernourishment
  • can cause vitamin deficiencies which lead to
  • depression
  • confusion
  • cognitive decline

Psychological Illness
  • Anxiety, antisocial personality and bipolar
    disorders, schizophrenia, depression
  • less common among the elderly
  • higher mortality rates for people with those
  • illnesses themselves become less severe in later
  • Mental illness can produce what seems like
    dementia but is not
  • e.g., depression, anxiety
  • careful diagnosis can differentiate

New Cognitive Development in Later Life
  • Theorists believe older adults can develop
  • new interests
  • patterns of thought
  • deeper wisdom
  • Aesthetic Sense and Creativity
  • many older people gain appreciation of nature and
    of aesthetic experience
  • as for people already creative, they generally
    continue to be productive often experiencing
    renewed inspiration

The Life Review
  • Many older people do a life reviewthe
    examination of ones own past life
  • helps older people connect their own lives with
    the future as they tell their stories to younger
  • renews links with past generations, as older
    people remember ancestors
  • process is more social than solitary
  • crucial to self-worth that others recognize its

  • Are older people typically wiser?
  • But first, what is wisdom?
  • broad, practical, comprehensive approach to
    lifes problems, reflecting timeless truths
  • expertise in life fundamentals, permitting
    exceptional insight and judgment in complex and
    uncertain matters
  • Research found little correlation between wisdom
    and age, although attributes like humor,
    perspective, altruism may increase

Chapter Twenty-Five
  • Late Adulthood
  • Psychosocial Development

Theories of Late Adulthood
  • Three Types of Theories
  • self theories
  • stratification theories
  • dynamic theories

Self Theories
  • Based on premise that adults make choices,
    confront problems, and interpret reality to be
    themselves as fully as possible
  • people begin to self-actualize, as Maslow
    described it
  • each person ultimately depends on himself or

Integrity Versus Despair
  • Eriksons eighth and final stage Integrity vs.
  • older adults seek to integrate their unique
    experience with their vision of community
  • Ideally, reality of death brings life-affirming
    involvement in present
  • The more positively a person feels about him- or
    herself, the less depression or despair is felt

Identity Theory
  • Identity Challenged in Late Adulthood
  • as health, appearance, employment, crumble
  • Two Extremes of Coping
  • identity assimilationnew experiences
    incorporated into stable sense of identity
  • distortion of reality and denial anything major
  • identity accommodationaltering self-concept to
    adapt to new experiences
  • viewed as an over-adjustment

Selective Optimization
  • Older person chooses to cope with physical and
    cognitive losses
  • Older person makes selective changes to cope with
  • This readiness to make changes is a measure of
    strength of the self

Support From Behavioral Genetics
  • Behavioral genetics support self theories
  • twin studies some inherited traits more apparent
    in later adulthood
  • Power of genetics extends beyond the environments
    we seek
  • even self-concept, including assessment of
    abilities, partly genetic
  • but environment always plays major role

Stratification Theories
  • Social forces limit individual choice and direct
    life at every stage, especially late adulthood

Stratification By Age
  • Disengagement Theory vs. Activity Theory
  • Disengagement theoryaging increasingly narrows
    ones social sphere, resulting in role
    relinquishment, withdrawal, passivity
  • Activity theoryelderly people need to remain
    active in a variety of social sphereswith
    relatives, friends, and community groups. If
    elderly withdraw, they do so unwillingly due to
  • dominant view now supports activity theory

Stratification by Gender and Ethnicity
  • Sexual Discrimination
  • Feminist theory draws attention to gender
  • demographics make aging womens issue
  • because most social structures and economic
    policies have been established by men, womens
    perspectives and needs not always given a high
    priority, or even recognized

Stratification By Gender and Ethnicity, cont.
  • Many older women impoverished because of
    male-centered economic policies
  • pension plans based on continuous employment
    more unlikely to be situation for women with
  • medical insurance pays more for acute illness
    (more common in men) and less for chronic disease
    (more common in women)
  • women more likely to be caregivers for frail
    relatives, often sacrificing their independence
    and well-being

Stratification By Gender and Ethnicity, cont.
  • Critical race theory views ethnicity and race as
    social constructs whose usefulness is determined
    by ones society or social system
  • Ethnic discrimination and racism cause
    stratification, shaping experiences of both
    minorities and majorities
  • minority elderly more likely to be poor and
  • less access to senior-citizen centers, clinics,

Better Female, Non-European, and Old?
  • Positive Effects of Non-European Americans
    Strong Familism
  • fewer elderly in nursing homes
  • elderly feel more respected
  • elderly feel more appreciated by families
  • in one study, minority women outlived majority
    women who were economically better off but had
    less family support

Better Female, Non-European, and Old?, cont.
  • Current stratification effects may not apply to
    cohort shift happening now
  • more women are working
  • younger African-Americans less strongly tied to
    church and family and have fewer children
  • To better understand stratification theory, we
    need to take a multicultural perspective

Dynamic Theories
  • Dynamic theoriesemphasize change and
    readjustment rather than either the ongoing self
    or legacy of stratification
  • Continuity theoryeach person experiences changes
    of late adulthood and behaves towards others in
    much the same way as he or she did earlier in
  • adaptive change
  • dynamic response

Keeping Active
  • Reality of older peoples lives does not
    correspond exactly with either disengagement or
    activity theories

Chosen Activities
  • Employment has many advantages, but it is not
    typically something person has a choice about
  • One positive aspect of retirement allows freedom
    to be ones own personto choose ones main
  • e.g., in areas of education, helping others,
    religion, politics

Continuing Education
  • Elderhostelprogram in which people aged 55 and
    older live on college campuses and take special
  • usually during college vacation periods
  • Around the world, thousands of learning programs
    filled with retirees
  • Many elderly hesitate to take classes with mostly
    younger students
  • if they overcome this fear, typically find they
    earn excellent grades

Volunteer Work
  • Higher percent of elderly adults have strong
    commitment to their community and believe they
    should be of service
  • older adults especially likely to volunteer to
    assist the young, very old, or sick
  • 40 percent of the elderly are involved in
    structured volunteering
  • many of the other 60 percent volunteer informally
  • elderly benefit, but not if forced to volunteer

Religious Involvement
  • Religious faith increases with age
  • increase in prayer and religious practice
  • Research shows religious institutions are
    particularly important to older Americans who may
    feel alienated from overall society

Political Activism
  • Elderly more so than any other age group
  • Know more about national and local issues
  • Political participation translates into power
  • ARRPmajor organization representing elderly, is
    largest U.S. special interest group
  • Most elderly are interested in wider social
    concernse.g., war, peace, the environment

Home, Sweet Home
  • Many busy maintaining home and yard
  • Some move, but most want to age in place, even if
    adult children have moved far away
  • naturally occurring retirement community (NORC)
    created when they stay in neighborhood they moved
    into with young children
  • One result of aging in place is that many elderly
    live alone

The Social Convoy
  • Social Convoycollectively, the family members,
    friends, acquaintances, and even strangers who
    move through life with an individual
  • We travel our life in the company of others
  • Special bonds formed over lifetime help in good
    times and bad
  • People who were part of a persons past help him
    or her to maintain sense of identity

Long-Term Marriages
  • Spouse buffers many problems of old age
  • Married elders generally are
  • healthier
  • wealthier
  • happier

Long-Term Marriages, cont.
  • Nature of long-lasting relationships
  • tends to get better over time
  • sharing of accumulated experiences
  • affectionate acceptance of each others frailties
    with feelings of affection
  • passionate love still exists

Losing a Spouse
  • Divorce is rare in late adulthood
  • Widowhood is common
  • Death of a spouse eventually occurs for half of
    all older married people
  • Adjustment to loss varies depending on sex of
    surviving partner
  • Many older widows come to enjoy their independence

  • 4 x as many widows as widowers
  • Because women take better care of their health,
    they live longer than men
  • Husbands death is never easy
  • Death can mean loss of close friend, social
    circle, income, and status
  • Widows do not usually seek another husband

  • Living without a spouse is more difficult for men
  • Widowers often lack social support
  • Historical gender differences make adjustment
    more difficult
  • have restrictive notions of masculine behavior

Widowers, cont.
  • Over course of marriage, tend to become
    increasingly dependent on wives for social
    support of all kinds
  • After death of spouse, more likely to be
    physically ill than widows or married people of
    their age
  • Many widowers prefer not to remarry, but with
    favorable gender ratio and loneliness, often find
    themselves more likely to remarry than widows

Differences in Loneliness
  • Men are lonelier than women
  • Those without partners are lonelier than those
    with partners
  • Divorced or widowed are lonelier
  • Recent losses heighten loneliness
  • The more partners lost, the lonelier one is

  • 4 percent of people over 65 have never married
  • most married cohort in U.S. history
  • Never marrieds quite content
  • contentment is linked more to friends than family
  • Older women do more befriending
  • Even oldest adjust to changes in social convoy
  • Many elderly keep themselves from being socially

Younger Generations
  • Typical older adult has many family members of
    many ages
  • As more families have only one child, that child
    grows up with no aunts, uncles, siblings, etc.
  • relationship across generations may become more

Younger Generations, cont.
  • Relationships with younger generations generally
    positive, but can include tension or conflict
  • Few older adults stop parenting
  • Mother-daughter relationship is close but also
  • Assistance arises from both need and ability to
    provide it
  • Personal contact depends mostly on geographic

Younger Generations, cont.
  • Affection is influenced by a familys past
    history of mutual love and respect
  • Sons feel strong obligation, while daughters feel
    stronger affection
  • Cultures and families vary markedlythere is no
    right way for generations to interact
  • Assistance typically flows from older generation
    to their children

The Frail Elderly
  • Defined asover 65, physically infirm, very ill,
    or cognitively impaired
  • Activities of daily life (ADLs)
  • bathing, walking, toileting, dressing, and eating
  • inability to perform these tasks sign of frailty

The Frail Elderly, cont.
  • Instrumental activities of daily life (IADLs)
  • vary from culture to culture
  • require some intellectual competence
  • in developed countries phone calls, paying
    bills, taking medication, shopping for groceries
  • in rural areas of other nations feeding
    chickens, cultivating the garden, getting water
    from the well

Increasing Prevalence of Frail Elderly
  • At any moment, no more than 2 percent of world
    population are frail elders
  • Increasing number for 4 reasons
  • more people reach old age
  • medical establishment geared toward death
    prevention rather than life enhancement
  • medical care now prolongs life
  • measures that could prevent or reduce impairment
    often unavailable to people with low incomes

Age and Self-Efficacy
  • Active drive for autonomy, control, and
    independence best defense against becoming
  • Loss of control invites further weakness
  • Both ones attitudes and social structures
    influence outcomes
  • Cultural forces become more important
  • Protective buffers help

Caring for the Frail Elderly
  • Most are cared for by relatives
  • In North America, 60 percent, by family and
  • Other 40 percent, combination of family, friends,
    and professional care
  • Current U.S. trend husbands and wives care for
    each other until this becomes impossible

The Demands of Family Care
  • Toll of home caregiving is heavy
  • caregivers physical health suffers and
    depression increases
  • caregiver often has to give up other activities
  • when caregiver is appreciated by others for
    efforts, he or she may feel fulfilled by the

Demands of Family Care, cont.
  • Caregivers may feel resentful
  • if only one person is giving care while others do
    little or nothing
  • when caregiver and receiver often disagree
  • if dealing with public agencies, which rarely
    provide services until the need is so great that
    it may be too late

Elder Abuse
  • When caregiver has feelings of resentment and
    social isolation, he or she
  • typically experiences stress, depression, and
    poor health
  • may be more likely to be abusive if he or she
    suffers from emotional problems or substance
    abuse that predate the caregiving
  • other risk factors victims social isolation,
    household members lack of education and/or

Elder Abuse, cont.
  • Maltreatment usually begins benignly but can
    range from direct physical attack to ongoing
    emotional neglect
  • Frail elderly particularly vulnerable to abuse
  • Most abuse is perpetrated by family member(s)
  • Simplest form is financiala relative or stranger
    gets elderly to sign over life savings, deed to
    house, or other assets

Nursing Homes
  • Most elderly want to avoid them at all costs
  • believe they are horrible places
  • In U.S., the worst tend to be those run
    for-profit, where patients are mostly on Medicare
    and Medicaid
  • But, overall, abuse has been reduced
  • In the United States and Europe, good
    nursing-home care available for those who can
    afford it

  • Death and Dying

Deciding How to Die
  • Practices and rituals relating to dying, death,
    and bereavement are universal, but there are
  • Rituals may be changing with globalization
  • One of first steps in understanding death is to
    accept it
  • for most of human history, death accepted as
    unanticipated, unavoidable, and quick
  • today, because of medical miracles, death less
    of everyday event

Medical Professionals
  • As illness came to be perceived as a domain of
    medicine rather than of religion, we began to
    believe physicians could work medical miracles
  • Elizabeth Kübler-Ross brought solid research and
    compassionate attention to the psychological
    needs of the dying

Medical Professionals, cont.
  • In the early 21st century, only 1/2 of medical
    books discuss care of dying
  • In recent years, more physicians are more
    accepting of death
  • 3 innovations are helping to help the dying
    achieve a good death
  • hospice care
  • palliative care
  • end-of-life decision making

Hospice Care
  • Hospiceinstitution where terminally ill patients
    receive palliative care
  • provides skilled medical treatment, but avoids
    death-defying interventions
  • human dignity respected
  • Dying person and the family are considered to be
    the unit of care
  • sometimes then the home is where care given

Hospice Care, cont.
  • Hospices try to help as many people as possible,
    but do not reach everyone
  • patients must be diagnosed as terminally ill
  • patients and caregivers must accept diagnosis of
    terminal illness
  • hospices were typically designed for adults with
    terminal cancer, not older adults with severe
  • hospice care is expensive
  • availability depends mainly on location

Palliative Care
  • Designed mainly to relieve pain and suffering of
    patient and family
  • Double effectprimarily relieves pain, but could
    also hasten death
  • Psychological symptoms of patients and their
    families more difficult to treat
  • depression, anxiety

Legal Preparations
  • Explicit guidelines for a persons preferences
    for end-of-life care are needed because he or she
    often becomes incapable of making or expressing
    decisions about medical care
  • Passive euthanasiasituation in which a seriously
    ill person is allowed to die naturally via
    cessation of medical interventions

Legal Preparations, cont.
  • Active euthanasiaa situation where someone takes
    action to bring about anothers death, with the
    intention of ending that persons suffering
  • Living willdocument that indicates what medical
    intervention should occur
  • Health care proxythe person chosen to make
    medical decisions if the person who chose becomes
    unable to make his/her own decisions

Disagreements About End-of-Life Care
  • Living wills are only a start
  • Hospitals today ask about living wills and
    advance directives upon admission
  • some people resist signing them
  • End-of-life care involves probabilities, not
    certainties, until the very last moment
  • What quality of life is acceptable?

Disagreements About End-of-Life Care, cont.
  • Problems with Designated Proxy
  • many proxies choose measures neither they nor the
    dying person want
  • may involve clashing cultural values
  • family members may disagree bitterly about how
    much suffering is acceptable
  • even if patient has signed living will and
    specified proxy, hospital staff may ignore them

  • Legally, decisions made in living wills and by
    health care proxies are to be honored
  • Active euthanasia is fiercely controversial, even
    if the dying person requests it
  • is illegal in almost every part of the world

Euthanasia, cont.
  • Physician-assisted suicideform of active
    euthanasia in which a doctor provides the means
    for someone to end his or her life
  • Voluntary euthanasiaform of active euthanasia in
    which, at patients request, someone else ends
    his or her life

Euthanasia, cont.
  • Several places have legalized physician-assisted
  • the Netherlands
  • Switzerland
  • Belgium
  • Oregon

Euthanasia, cont.
  • In Oregon, the following conditions must exist
  • person must be terminally illless than 6 months
    to live
  • 2 doctors must confirm diagnosis of terminal
  • both doctors must certify patients judgment
  • person must ask for lethal drugs at least 2x
    orally and 1 time in writing
  • 15 days must elapse between first request and
    written prescription

Preparing for Death
  • Responses to death vary greatly
  • It has been denied, sought, feared, fought,
    avoided, and welcomed by all involved

Avoiding Despair
  • Kübler-Ross helped us to understand death
  • Acceptance of death was elusive before
  • Kübler-Rosss 5 Stages
  • denial
  • anger
  • bargaining
  • depression
  • acceptance

Avoiding Despair. cont.
  • Others that study death (thanatology) have
    disagreed about the stages
  • 5 stages appear and reappear throughout process
  • Research has clarified some patterns
  • older people more likely to plan for death
  • concern is more likely to be for a good
    deathswift, painless, dignified, and occurring
    at home

Cultural Variations
  • Hope takes the form of the desire that death be
    held at pay
  • can also be expressed as a belief in an afterlife
    or the significance of persons life in context
    of family and community

Death in Religions of Africa and Asia
  • In many traditional African religions, adults
    gain new status through death and the joining of
  • For Muslims, death affirms religious faith
  • life is transitory, so people should be ready for
    death at any time

Death in Religions of Africa and Asia, cont.
  • For Buddhists, death and disease are among lifes
    inevitable sufferings
  • may bring spiritual enlightenment
  • For Hindus, helping the dying to surrender their
    ties to the world and prepare for the next is a
    particularly important obligation for the family
  • a holy death is welcomed by dying person
  • eases person into the next life

Death in North America
  • Indigenous tribes (over 400) all consider death
    an affirmation of nature and community values
  • Jews hope for life to be sustained thus, death
    is not emphasized and the dying person is not
    left alone
  • Many Christians believe that death is not an end,
    but rather the beginning of eternity in heaven or
    heal so death may either be welcomed or feared

Spiritual and Cultural Affirmation
  • Religious and spiritual concerns often reemerge
    at death
  • It is common for dying people to return to their
  • For many, spiritual beliefs and a connection to
    community offer hope at time of dying

Coping with Bereavement
  • The considerable variations in practices that
    follow death are due to religion and culture
  • Bereavementsense of loss following a death

Forms of Sorrow
  • Griefindividuals emotional response to
  • private
  • Mourningculturally prescribed ceremonies and
    behaviors for expressing grief at the death of a
    loved one
  • public
  • The two are connected
  • mourning is designed by religions and cultures
  • grief, though personal and private, follows
    social rules

Forms of Sorrow, cont.
  • Mourning customs are designed by various cultures
    and religions to channel grief into
  • Crucial to reaffirmation is peoples search for
    the meaning in death
  • Unexpected or violent deaths are particularly
    likely to shock and to precipitate a search for
  • September 11, 2001

Contemporary Challenges
  • Mourning has become more private, less emotional,
    and less religious
  • funeral trends
  • cremation vs. burial
  • As mourning diminishes, grief becomes less
    welcome people are less likely to be given time
    to grieve

Contemporary Challenges, cont.
  • Disenfranchised grief is the practice of
    excluding certain people from mourning
  • the unmarried partner
  • the young child
  • the ex-spouse
  • the friend from work
  • Any kind of prohibition, restriction, or
    exclusion can make healing, hope, and affirmation
    more difficult for bereaved of all ages

Contemporary Challenges, cont.
  • Murders and suicides often trigger police
    investigations, etc., that interfere with the
    grief process
  • Inadequate grief is thought to harm the larger
    community as well

Responses to Bereavement
  • What Friends Can Do to Help the Bereaved Person
  • first, be aware that powerful, complicated, and
    unexpected emotions are likely
  • do not judge another persons sorrow
  • understand that culture and cohort play a role in
    the different responses to death

Responses to Bereavement, cont.
  • Bereavement is an ongoing, often lengthy process
    sympathy, honesty, and social support may be
    needed for months or even years
  • especially true for families
  • Recovery begins with acceptance of grief and may
    lead to reaffirmation of life

  • Working through the emotions can help the person
    have a deeper appreciation of him/herself and
    life, including human relationships
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