Late Adulthood

Photo Credit: Ashton Avenue Dental Practice   By Dr. Monique M. Chouraeshkenazi 

Photo Credit: Ashton Avenue Dental Practice 

By Dr. Monique M. Chouraeshkenazi 

       The most challenging changes in late adulthood is reflection on life, maturity, career, marital status, experiences, and accomplished goals, also known as the “mid-life crisis.” Once adolescents transition to adulthood (in my opinion—is the most challenging transition), it seems like smooth sailing when young adults are adjusted to the change and are finding themselves. Once an individual is in the middle stages of adulthood, many questions are asked, making one wonder about their lives. For example, this week’s lesson discusses men’s’ perspectives on late adulthood. Levinson (1978) stated midlife transition tasks include:

1). Ending early adulthood

2). Reassessing life in the present and making modifications if needed

3). Reconciling “polarities” or contradictions in one’s sense of self (p. 192).

        “Early adulthood ends when a person no longer seeks adults status-but feels like a full adult in the eyes of others” (“Psychosocial Development in Middle Adulthood,” 2017). Late adulthood is considered to be the ages of mid-sixties until death (“Psychosocial Development in Middle Adulthood,” 2017). "Late adulters” will increase over the next 20+ years, so there are some factors to consider for those in that category. Aging seems to be the primary challenge within this transitional stage. With aging comes medical concerns, physical health, and the quality of life. It is inevitable to avoid these changes, especially if those aging have not been living a healthy lifestyle. According to this week’s lesson, successfully aging requires those to make the proper changes in their lives to live an improve and longer life (Psychosocial Development in Middle Adulthood,” 2017).

        I believe changes are inevitable because transitioning and developing over time is something that happens to everyone. It is something every has to accept, whether or not they are ready. According to Blackwell Publishing, adults within the late stages experience external (i.e. aging, appearance, weight, etc.) and internal physical changes (i.e. medical and biological matters) (n.d., p. 213). These changes are inevitable, and individuals cannot stop these elements from happening. As for cognitive development, Schaie’s (1996) theorizes late adulthood is a stable time and have perceptive thinking than young adults though there is a decline in reactive timing and numeric skills. Finally, with social and emotional development/behaviors, “researchers who focus on qualitative development in adult reasoning have found evidence of continuing development through the lifespan and the progression through absolutist, relativist, and dialectal reasoning may continue for decades” (Kramer, 1989). These elements in transitioning are unavoidable and I agree with living a healthy lifestyle and changing some habits that may not be for the better, are a start to living with the inevitable.

life expectancy

         Life expectancy has significantly increased over the last 50 years, primarily the twenty-first century. Health concerns are a major issue with aging and it has everything to do with lifestyle choices. Life expectancy extended is a positive attribute, but really, how good is it if people are miserable due to medical issues? Not to mention healthcare is one of the most expensive expenditures for those who reach senior citizen age. As a result, this creates additional problems for extended life—worrying about medical bills and other bills or even the affordability to retire. The Mayo Clinic Staff reported that exercise can provide health benefits for those who experience “heart disease, diabetes, pain, etc.” (n.d., para. 1). The clinic also emphasized how aerobic exercise can assist with improving “heart health, endurance, and weight loss” (n.d., para. 3). Additionally, consistent exercise helps build endurance, strength, and provide better sleeping habits (The Mayo Clinic, n.d.). With extended life expectancy, it would be intuitive to increase levels of daily activeness and creative a healthy lifestyle to mitigate future medical problems. 

Aging

        Once adults age, there are specific physical and mental limits that prevent them from doing what they were once able to do. With that said, I have found that older adults are changing their lifestyles to live healthier, longer lives. Two primary changes are increasing their activeness and changing their diets (what I mentioned in the previous section). According to the National Institutes of Health (2016) “research has shown that healthful behaviors can help you stay active and healthy in your 60s, 70s, and beyond” (para. 3). The federal agency also stated that the Seventh-day Adventists conducted a study within their congregation to show that living a healthy lifestyle extends life (2016). It is also found that living a healthy lifestyle can mitigate some of the mental and medical illnesses you listed in your discussion. It is amazing how we can control our aging process by specific habits such as diet, exercise (or lack of), and even the environment. At the same time, there are some uncontrollable factors that play an important role and should be apparent (i.e. genetic, hereditary traits, medical issues, etc.). Specific jobs can age an individual. For example, I read an article on how cognitive and physical elements can impact an aging individual’s performance on the job. Because there is an informational gap on the topic, researchers believe a study is warranted to provoke awareness on this matter of retaining older workers.  Editors Wegman and McGee (2004) suggested research needs to be conducted on the following:

  • Older workers, especially those with high skill levels, may be necessary to meet basic needs of the national economy because the nation has a strong interest to retain them
  • Aging workers and their families (para. 2-3). 

depression

        Because there are some many elements to depression and it tends to be a mental illness within younger generations, I did consider aging adults go through depression. Dr. Skolnick (2012) discussed that when older adults reach retirement, there is a sense of loss due to their careers ending and major challenges that exist during this time. He also stated something very important in terms of living reality when growing older. He emphasized, “distractions and denial collide with reality – the reality that everyone and everything we love and cherish including our own experience will be gone” (Scholnick, 2012, para. 3). Other elements of depression can include distance from family, deaths, and the thought of moving on into older age might be unbearable for some. Depression should not be taken lightly, and after doing some research believe it can more serious once an individual ages due to pscyhological and physical changes.

References

Adolescence and adulthood. (n.d.). Blackwell Publishing. Retrieved from http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/intropsych/pdf/chapter10.pdf (accessed on 19 March 2018).  

Can You Lengthen Your Life? (2016). National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2016/06/can-you-lengthen-your-life (accessed on 23 March 2018).

Kramer, D. A. (1989). A developmental framework for understanding conflict resolution Processes. Everyday problem-solving: Theory and application. pp. (138-152).

Levinson, D. (178). The seasons of a man’s life. New York, NY: Ballantine Books. Psychosocial Development in Middle Adulthood. (2017). Institution Source. Retrieved fromhttps://apus.intelluslearning.com/lti/#/document/104988112/1/f2dec2444dc00f44bbfeb3e40fe8ee54/c0cd420930baf38aa077b38c8798bbcf/browse_published_content/3651/10993/29173/2/lesson/lesson?hideClose=false&tagId=32608&external_course_id=368786&external_course_name=CHFD342%20I001%20Win%2018 (accessed on 19 March 2018).

Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Exercise and chronic disease: Get the facts. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise-and-chronic-disease/art-20046049 (accessed on 22 March 2018). 

Schaie, K. W. (1996). Intellectual Development in Adulthood: The Seattle Longitudinal Study. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Scholnick, J. (2012). Depression as we get older. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/awaken-your-brain/201210/depression-we-get-older (accessed on 23 March 2018). 

Wegman, D. H., & McGee, J. P. (2004). National Research Council and Institute of Medicine Committee on the Health and Safety Needs of Older Workers. Washington, D.C.:National Academies Press. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK207720/ (accessed on 22 March 2018).