The Later Years Chapter 7 section 3 Pgs. 164-171
The Later Years People over the age of 65 are the fastest growing population in the world? People over 65 years old made up 12% of the population in 2000. By the year 2030 the number is projected to be over 20% –What happened 65 years ago that would cause this large population?
The Later Years Gerontology: the scientific study of the processes and phenomena of aging. Social gerontology: the study of non- physical aspects of the aging process.
Change Continues People are now living longer. Life at different ages experience different stages. People who are 65 years old are very different from people who are 85. There are divided into 3 stages. –Young-old, middle-old, and old-old.
Change Continues Young-old: ages 65-74 Adjustment to retirement. Middle-old: ages 75-84 and Old-old: ages 85 and older –Issues surrounding physical and mental decline as well as death take on importance. As the body begins to wear and for most senior citizens, physical and mental functioning declines with the passing years and for each person the rate is different.
Adjustment to Retirement In our society we identify people by their jobs. It is reasonable to assume that people have difficult adjusting to retirement? –Why?? For some people the loss of work is a great shock.
Adjustment to Retirement Research actually shows that most senior citizens see retirement as the least stressful time. People who are happy and well adjusted with their jobs will generally enjoy retirement. People who are unhappy or unfulfilled in their work rarely find retirement satisfying. Studies also find that factors such as income, health, social networks, and identity affect adjustment to retirement. Give examples of how these might affect retirement.
Adjustment to Retirement Failure to adapt to retirement can have negative consequences. Suicide rates are high among people over the age of 65, particularly among white men.
Physical and Mental Functioning As you age, body cell begin to die. Muscles and tissues shrink. The skin develops wrinkles. The entire body slowly loses weight. The weakened muscles lesson the individual’s strength and endurance. The nervous system functions more slowly and less accurately. Hair gradually turns to gray or white as the cell roots produce less and less pigment. All the organs and functions of the body slow down. As a result, elderly individuals do everything more slowly then they did when they were younger.
Physical and Mental Functioning Although people tend to slow down as they age, most remain mentally alert. Some research showed that younger people score better on IQ tests. Studies have found that intelligence, learning, and memory do decline with aging. Some aspects of intelligence and learning improve. –Vocabulary for example can increases until people are in their 70’s.
Alzheimer’s Disease For some people aging is accompanied by marked mental decline and dementia. The most common form is Alzheimer’s Disease: an organic condition that results in the progressive deterioration of brain cells. The progress of this disease is slow but steady usually lasting about 8-10 years from first symptom to death. One of the early symptoms is inability to remember current events
Alzheimer’s Disease As it progresses –Trouble performing simple tasks Driving a car, going to work –May become hostile and disoriented –Eventually their eyesight, speech, and muscle coordination begin to fail. –In the final stages of the disease, people often regress to a childlike state and are no longer able to control their bodily functions. –8-15% of the population suffers from Alzheimer’s.
Dealing with Dependency and Death For the middle-old and old-old, dependency and death take on increased significance. –Dependency: is the shift from being an independent adult to being dependent on others for physical or financial assistance. –Independence is one of the greatest desires for elderly people. Dependency often strains the parent-child relationship –Can you think of reasons why?
Dealing with Dependency and Death Although dependency may scare the elderly, death does not appear to. –Fear of death is more common among middle aged people. –Several factors contribute to lower levels of fear of death among senior citizens. Elderly people are at the end of their lives, they see fewer prospects for the future, thus they feel they have less to lose.
Dealing with Dependency and Death Second, many elderly people, having lived longer than they expected, feel they are “living on borrowed time”. Finally, facing the deaths of friends and family members who are close to them in age helps prepare older Americans for their own deaths. For many older Americans, particularly those who are financially secure, retirement is accompanied by a feeling a freedom.
New Opportunities Older people have the time to do the things they always wanted to do. They can try new things. Many people travel, others take college courses. Some pursue activities such as gardening, crafts, golf, photography, etc. Some become active in politics. Some elderly Americans begin a second career. Many businesses attempt to draw from this growing pool of experienced workers. Many volunteer programs provide opportunities for people to get involved in the community.
Conclusion Research shows that individuals who have planned ahead for retirement are in a better position to take advantage of the opportunities in this period of life. This involves financial planning and also broadening one’s interests and developing hobbies during middle adulthood. It involves taking care of one’s health as well. Most important, it involves cultivating patterns of living that makes the most of life in every growth period.