Adulthood: Notes

Topics: Old age, Death, Gerontology, Ageing, Senescence, Cognition / Pages: 3 (501 words) / Published: Mar 10th, 2011

-begins around age 20 and lasts until about age 40 to 45 with middle adulthood beginning then and continuing until around age 65.

Physical Development: The Peak of Health
*Early adulthood – marks the peak of physical health
*Middle adulthood – people gradually become aware of changes in their bodies
*late adulthood – in our 50’s and 60’s we may experience a gradual decline in height because of loss of bones and a further decrease in output of lungs and kidneys, an increase in skin wrinkles and a deterioration in joints.

Physical Changes in Late Adulthood
The Aging Body
*genetic preprogramming theories of aging:
-theories that suggest that human cells have a built-in time limit to their reproduction, and that after a certain time, they are no longer able to divide.
*wear-and-tear theories of aging
-theories that suggest that the mechanical function of the body simply stop working

Cognitive Changes: Thinking About and During Late Adulthood
-one reason for the changes in view is that more sophisticated research techniques exist for studying the cognitive changes that occur in late adulthood
-other difficulties hamper research into cognitive functioning during late adulthood
*Alzheimer’s disease – a progressive brain disorder that leads to a gradual and irreversible decline in cognitive abilities

The Social World of Late Adulthood: Old but not Alone
*Disengagement theory of aging
-a theory that suggests that aging produces a gradual withdrawal from the world on physical, psychological, and social levels.
*Activity theory
-a theory that suggests that the elderly who are most successful while aging are those who maintain the interests and activities they had during middle age.
*Life review
-the process by which people examine and evaluate their lives

Adjusting to Death
-Elizabeth Kubler Ross brought the subject of death into the open with her observation that those facing impending death tend to move

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