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Late Adulthood 
A Look at Variations and Theories 
of Late Adulthood
Defining Late Adulthood 
 Census Categories 
 65-74; 75-84; 85-100; 100+ 
 Quality of Life 
 Optimal aging 
 Normal a...
Age Structures in Society 
Population Pyramids
Source: U.S. Department of 
Census (He et als., 2005)
Unhappy Birthday 
Stereotypes of Late Adulthood
Test Your Knowledge
 There are about 10 million people aged 
65 and older living in the United States. 
 True 
 False 
 False. There are a...
 About half of those over 65 are in 
nursing homes. 
 True 
 False 
 False. Of those 38.9 million, only 1.6 
million l...
 The number of people with Alzheimer’s 
disease is expected to increase by 
2030. 
 True 
 False 
 True. As more peopl...
 About half of people over 70 have 
hearing loss. 
 True 
 False 
 False. About a third experience hearing 
loss. Rate...
Theories of Aging 
 Integrity vs. Despair 
 Disengagement Theory 
 Activity Theory 
 Continuity Theory
Continuity 
 Jimmy Buffet 
 John Mayall 
 Les Paul
Variations in Aging
Health 
 Most report good health 
 Most report being “very satisfied” with 
their life 
 1.6 million of the 38.9 millio...
Average Life Expectancy 
 In 1900, 47.3 
 In 2007: 
 White females 80.4 
 Black females 76.8 
 White males 75.4 
 Bl...
Primary and Secondary Aging 
 Primary Aging-inevitable changes 
associated with age 
 Secondary Aging-changes caused by ...
Primary Aging 
 Skin and Hair 
 Height and Weight 
 Body Fat 
 Eye Problems 
 8% of those over 75 
 Hearing Loss 
 ...
Secondary Aging 
 Arthritis 
 Hypertension 
 Heart Disease and 
Stroke 
 Diabetes 
 Cancer 
 Osteoporosis 
 Alzheim...
Why Do We Age? 
 Cell life 
 Hayflick limit 
 telomeres 
 Free Radical Theory 
 Protein Crosslinking 
 DNA damage fr...
Late Adulthood and Exercise
How Aging Affects Memory 
 Sensory Register 
 Working Memory 
 Long-term Memory 
 Keeping the brain healthy
Cognitive Changes in Late 
Adulthood 
A Look At Normal and Disease 
Related Changes
Abnormal Loss of 
Cognitive Functioning 
 Organic/Disease Related 
 Dementia 
 Alzheimer’s Disease 
 Multi-infarct dem...
Psychosocial Development 
in Late Adulthood 
A Look At Family Life, Friendship, 
and Work in Late Adulthood
Productivity in Late 
Adulthood 
 Work 
 Education (Elderhostel) 
 Volunteerism (more informal than 
formal); virtual v...
Relationships 
 Marriage 
 Widowhood 
 Divorce 
 Never Married 
 Cohabitation (SAGE) 
 Friendships (socioemotional s...
Types of Grandparents 
 Remote (30 percent) 
 Companionate (55 percent) 
 Involved (15 percent)
Frail Elderly 
 Number expected to increase 
 Most cared for by friends or relatives 
 Caregiver is typically either sp...
Frail Elderly in Nursing 
Homes 
 Nursing homes and basic needs 
 Quality of life is often poor 
 Residents lack indepe...
Elderly Abuse 
 Financial abuse 
 Neglect 
 Granny dumping (100,000-200,000 
annually)
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Lifespan Psychology Module 10 Late Adulthood

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CC-BY-SA 3.0 by Laura Overstreet from Lifespan Psychology Module 10 on Late Adulthood: http://opencourselibrary.org/econ-201/

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Lifespan Psychology Module 10 Late Adulthood

  1. 1. Late Adulthood A Look at Variations and Theories of Late Adulthood
  2. 2. Defining Late Adulthood  Census Categories  65-74; 75-84; 85-100; 100+  Quality of Life  Optimal aging  Normal aging  Impaired aging
  3. 3. Age Structures in Society Population Pyramids
  4. 4. Source: U.S. Department of Census (He et als., 2005)
  5. 5. Unhappy Birthday Stereotypes of Late Adulthood
  6. 6. Test Your Knowledge
  7. 7.  There are about 10 million people aged 65 and older living in the United States.  True  False  False. There are about 38.9 million people 65+
  8. 8.  About half of those over 65 are in nursing homes.  True  False  False. Of those 38.9 million, only 1.6 million live in nursing homes.
  9. 9.  The number of people with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to increase by 2030.  True  False  True. As more people enter late adulthood, cases of Alzheimer’s disease will increase.
  10. 10.  About half of people over 70 have hearing loss.  True  False  False. About a third experience hearing loss. Rates go to almost half for people over 85.
  11. 11. Theories of Aging  Integrity vs. Despair  Disengagement Theory  Activity Theory  Continuity Theory
  12. 12. Continuity  Jimmy Buffet  John Mayall  Les Paul
  13. 13. Variations in Aging
  14. 14. Health  Most report good health  Most report being “very satisfied” with their life  1.6 million of the 38.9 million over 65 are in nursing homes  But 85+ on increase
  15. 15. Average Life Expectancy  In 1900, 47.3  In 2007:  White females 80.4  Black females 76.8  White males 75.4  Black males 70 (historic racism)
  16. 16. Primary and Secondary Aging  Primary Aging-inevitable changes associated with age  Secondary Aging-changes caused by illness or disease  The importance of making the distinction
  17. 17. Primary Aging  Skin and Hair  Height and Weight  Body Fat  Eye Problems  8% of those over 75  Hearing Loss  Almost ½ of those over 80  ‘elderspeak’
  18. 18. Secondary Aging  Arthritis  Hypertension  Heart Disease and Stroke  Diabetes  Cancer  Osteoporosis  Alzheimer’s Disease
  19. 19. Why Do We Age?  Cell life  Hayflick limit  telomeres  Free Radical Theory  Protein Crosslinking  DNA damage from pollutants  Decline in immune system
  20. 20. Late Adulthood and Exercise
  21. 21. How Aging Affects Memory  Sensory Register  Working Memory  Long-term Memory  Keeping the brain healthy
  22. 22. Cognitive Changes in Late Adulthood A Look At Normal and Disease Related Changes
  23. 23. Abnormal Loss of Cognitive Functioning  Organic/Disease Related  Dementia  Alzheimer’s Disease  Multi-infarct dementia (MID)  Nonorganic/Preventable Causes  Depression (suicide rates high)  Alcoholism  Mixing Medications/Overmedication  Poor Nutrition  Delirium?
  24. 24. Psychosocial Development in Late Adulthood A Look At Family Life, Friendship, and Work in Late Adulthood
  25. 25. Productivity in Late Adulthood  Work  Education (Elderhostel)  Volunteerism (more informal than formal); virtual volunteering  Political activism (high)
  26. 26. Relationships  Marriage  Widowhood  Divorce  Never Married  Cohabitation (SAGE)  Friendships (socioemotional selectivity theory)  Residence/Neighbors
  27. 27. Types of Grandparents  Remote (30 percent)  Companionate (55 percent)  Involved (15 percent)
  28. 28. Frail Elderly  Number expected to increase  Most cared for by friends or relatives  Caregiver is typically either spouse, daughter, or daughter-in-law
  29. 29. Frail Elderly in Nursing Homes  Nursing homes and basic needs  Quality of life is often poor  Residents lack independence  “Infantilization”  Psychological/social needs not met
  30. 30. Elderly Abuse  Financial abuse  Neglect  Granny dumping (100,000-200,000 annually)

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