Chapter 17 Physical And Cognitive Development In Late Adulthood Pdf
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- Chapter 17 Physical and Cognitive Development in Late Adulthood.
- Chapter 28: Physical Development in Late Adulthood
- 6.5 Late Adulthood: Aging, Retiring, and Bereavement
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Chapter 17 Physical and Cognitive Development in Late Adulthood.
We have seen that, over the course of their lives, most individuals are able to develop secure attachments; reason cognitively, socially and morally; and create families and find appropriate careers. Eventually, however, as people enter into their 60s and beyond, the aging process leads to faster changes in our physical, cognitive, and social capabilities and needs, and life begins to come to its natural conclusion, resulting in the final life stage, beginning in the 60s , known as late adulthood.
The changes associated with aging do not affect everyone in the same way, and they do not necessarily interfere with a healthy life. The golfer Tom Watson almost won the British Open golf tournament at the age of 59, playing against competitors in their 20s and 30s.
And people such as the financier Warren Buffet, U. Senator Frank Lautenberg, and actress Betty White, each in their 80s, all enjoy highly productive and energetic lives. Aging does not affect everyone equally. All of these people—in their 60s, 70s, or 80s—still maintain active and productive lives. Researchers are beginning to better understand the factors that allow some people to age better than others. Perceptions also matter. People who believe that the elderly are sick, vulnerable, and grumpy often act according to such beliefs Nemmers, , and Levy, Slade, Kunkel, and Kasl found that the elderly who had more positive perceptions about aging also lived longer.
In one important study concerning the role of expectations on memory, Becca Levy and Ellen Langer found that, although young American and Chinese students performed equally well on cognitive tasks, older Americans performed significantly more poorly on those tasks than did their Chinese counterparts. Furthermore, this difference was explained by beliefs about aging—in both cultures, the older adults who believed that memory declined with age also showed more actual memory declines than did the older adults who believed that memory did not decline with age.
In addition, more older Americans than older Chinese believed that memory declined with age, and as you can see in Figure 6.
Is Memory Influenced by Cultural Stereotypes? Levy and Langer found that although younger samples did not differ, older Americans performed significantly more poorly on memory tasks than did older Chinese, and that these differences were due to different expectations about memory in the two cultures. Adapted from Levy, B. Aging free from negative stereotypes: Successful memory in China among the American deaf. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66 6 , — Whereas it was once believed that almost all older adults suffered from a generalized memory loss, research now indicates that healthy older adults actually experience only some particular types of memory deficits, while other types of memory remain relatively intact or may even improve with age.
But slower processing and less accurate executive control does not always mean worse memory, or even worse intelligence. Perhaps the elderly are slower in part because they simply have more knowledge. Indeed, older adults have more crystallized intelligence —that is, general knowledge about the world, as reflected in semantic knowledge, vocabulary, and language. As a result, adults generally outperform younger people on measures of history, geography, and even on crossword puzzles, where this information is useful Salthouse, The differential changes in crystallized versus fluid intelligence help explain why the elderly do not necessarily show poorer performance on tasks that also require experience i.
A young chess player may think more quickly, for instance, but a more experienced chess player has more knowledge to draw on. Some older adults suffer from biologically based cognitive impairments in which the brain is so adversely affected by aging that it becomes very difficult for the person to continue to function effectively.
Without this neurotransmitter, the neurons are unable to communicate, leaving the brain less and less functional. Figure 6. Older adults who continue to keep their minds active by engaging in cognitive activities, such as reading, playing musical instruments, attending lectures, or doing crossword puzzles, who maintain social interactions with others, and who keep themselves physically fit have a greater chance of maintaining their mental acuity than those who do not Cherkas et al.
Because of increased life expectancy in the 21st century, elderly people can expect to spend approximately a quarter of their lives in retirement. On the other hand, retirement may also serve as an opportunity for a positive transition from work and career roles to stronger family and community member roles, and the latter may have a variety of positive outcomes for the individual.
Retirement may be a relief for people who have worked in boring or physically demanding jobs, particularly if they have other outlets for stimulation and expressing self-identity. Psychologist Mo Wang observed the well-being of 2, people between the ages of 51 and 61 over an 8-year period, and made the following recommendations to make the retirement phase a positive one:.
Whereas these seven tips are helpful for a smooth transition to retirement, Wang also notes that people tend to be adaptable, and that no matter how they do it, retirees will eventually adjust to their new lifestyles. By contrast, Jews observe a 7-day, publicly announced mourning period.
In some cultures the elderly are more likely to be living and coping alone, or perhaps only with their spouse, whereas in other cultures, such as the Hispanic culture, the elderly are more likely to be living with their sons and daughters and other relatives, and this social support may create a better quality of life for them Diaz-Cabello, Margaret Stroebe and her colleagues found that although most people adjusted to the loss of a loved one without seeking professional treatment, many had an increased risk of mortality, particularly within the early weeks and months after the loss.
These researchers also found that people going through the grieving process suffered more physical and psychological symptoms and illnesses and used more medical services. People serving as caretakers to partners or other family members who are ill frequently experience a great deal of stress themselves, making the dying process even more stressful. Despite the trauma of the loss of a loved one, people do recover and are able to continue with effective lives.
Angner, E. Health and happiness among older adults: A community-based study. Journal of Health Psychology, 14 , — Baltes, P. Life-span psychology: Theory and application to intellectual functioning. Annual Review of Psychology, 50 , — Blanchard-Fields, F. Age differences in everyday problem-solving effectiveness: Older adults select more effective strategies for interpersonal problems.
Bonanno, G. The other side of sadness: What the new science of bereavement tells us about life after a loss. Burke, D. Language and aging. In The handbook of aging and cognition 3rd ed.
Cherkas, L. The association between physical activity in leisure time and leukocyte telomere length. Archives of Internal Medicine, , — Corr, C. Death and dying: Life and living 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Diaz-Cabello, N. The Hispanic way of dying: Three families, three perspectives, three cultures. Ertel, K. Effects of social integration on preserving memory function in a nationally representative U. American Journal of Public Health, 98 , — Hebert, L. Journal of the American Medical Association, 17 , — Kennedy, Q.
The role of motivation in the age-related positivity effect in autobiographical memory. Psychological Science, 15 , — Levy, B. Longevity increased by positive self-perceptions of aging.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83 , — Myers, D. The pursuit of happiness. Scientific American, 5 , 70— Neimeyer, R. Meaning reconstruction in later life: Toward a cognitive-constructivist approach to grief therapy. Gallagher-Thompson, A. Thompson Eds. Nemmers, T. The influence of ageism and ageist stereotypes on the elderly. Persad, C. Inhibitory changes after age 60 and the relationship to measures of attention and memory. Pushkar, D. Social behavior and off-target verbosity in elderly people.
Psychology and Aging, 15 2 , — Responding to the challenges of late life: Strategies for maintaining and enhancing competence. Rubin, L. The development of the person: The Minnesota study of risk and adaptation from birth to adulthood. Salthouse, T.
What and when of cognitive aging. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 13 4 , — Scheibe, S. New territories of positive life-span development: Wisdom and life longings. Snyder Eds. Stroebe, M. Bereavement research: Contemporary perspectives. Stroebe, R.
Chapter 28: Physical Development in Late Adulthood
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The aging process often results in a loss of memory, deteriorated intellectual function, decreased mobility, and higher rates of disease. Late adulthood is the stage of life from the 60s onward; it constitutes the last stage of physical change. Average life expectancy in the United States is around 80 years; however, this varies greatly based on factors such as socioeconomic status, region, and access to medical care. In general, women tend to live longer than men by an average of five years. During late adulthood the skin continues to lose elasticity, reaction time slows further, and muscle strength diminishes.
Why do we age? There are many theories that attempt to explain how we age, however, researchers still do not fully understand what factors contribute to the human lifespan Jin, Research on aging is constantly evolving and includes a variety of studies involving genetics, biochemistry, animal models, and human longitudinal studies NIA, a. According to Jin , modern biological theories of human aging involve two categories. The first is Programmed Theories that follow a biological timetable, possibly a continuation of childhood development.
6.5 Late Adulthood: Aging, Retiring, and Bereavement
Depression is less prevalent among older adults than among younger adults but can have serious consequences. Over half of cases represent a first onset in later life. Although suicide rates in the elderly are declining, they are still higher than in younger adults and more closely associated with depression. Depressed older adults are less likely to endorse affective symptoms and more likely to display cognitive changes, somatic symptoms, and loss of interest than are younger adults.
There are numerous stereotypes regarding older adults as being forgetful and confused, but what does the research on memory and cognition in late adulthood reveal? Memory comes in many types, such as working, episodic, semantic, implicit, and prospective. There are also many processes involved in memory, thus it should not be a surprise that there are declines in some types of memory and memory processes, while other areas of memory are maintained or even show some improvement with age. In this section, we will focus on changes in memory, attention, problem-solving, intelligence, and wisdom, including the exaggeration of losses stereotyped in the elderly. Working memory is composed of three major systems: The phonological loop that maintains information about auditory stimuli , the visuospatial sketchpad , that maintains information about visual stimuli , and the central executive, that oversees working memory, allocating resources where needed and monitoring whether cognitive strategies are being effective Schwartz,
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