Late Adulthood And End Of Life

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Late Adulthood and End of Life

Late Adulthood and End of Life

Late Adulthood and End of Life


Late adulthood is a time of reflection, enjoying friends, family, and grandchildren, and maintaining health in preparation for the final years of the lifespan. Although genetics play a significant role in the quality of life during these final years, individuals who modify destructive lifestyles and embark on healthier options will experience an improvement in their health and sense of well being.

During this stage of adulthood, older adults remain socially active and independent rather than subjecting themselves to isolation and withdrawal. As more aging adults continue to live healthy, socially active lives and maintain important family roles, it is important to refrain from stereotypical thought and the negativity of ageism, which can contribute to their premature decline. With technology and high quality medical care, aging adults continue to be a valuable resource for younger generations.

Late adulthood and development

Developmental theory posits that a main task of late adulthood is the review of efforts and achievements in the preceding stages. Contemporary approaches define successful aging as the ability to cope with and learn from the challenges of life and aging. Late adulthood is a time very often beset with numerous and demanding adjustments, such as the need to adapt to the deterioration of physical strength and health, to retirement and reduced income, to the death of one's spouse and close friends, the fear of one's own death, and the need to establish new affiliations with one's peer group. Because of the important losses that characterize the late adulthood period, preoccupation with issues of identity and relatedness are assumed to characterize this period. Current theoretical and empirical studies on life-span development show that, during the old adult period, perceptions of the self and relationships with others are renegotiated, imposing a reassessment of one's identity, ego integrity, and autonomy, as well as close interpersonal relatedness.

Research suggests that impaired capacities in dealing with issues of self-identity and/or relatedness may have conspicuous deleterious effects in late adulthood. The fastest growing segment of world population is the 65-plus age group. The proportion of the population over the age of 65 will continue to grow well into the next century. At present, approximately 13 percent of the population of the United States is over age 65. By 2030, that percentage will increase to more than 20 percent. This factor by itself indicates a need for personality researchers to understand the growth, development, and changes that occur in the later years.

Death Stage

Death is relevant to the study of Neediness and Self-criticism as vulnerabilities to depression in late adulthood, since it relates to issues of fear of abandonment as well as to fear of losing one's identity and self-control. In addition, the possibility that fear of death may moderate the link between personality vulnerability factors and depression can be extrapolated from terror management research indicating that high self-esteem seems to have an anxiety-buffering function among people exposed to death-related ...
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