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Chapter 19. Stress and the Elderly. The Elderly. People over 65 years of age in this country: In 1900, 3 million people In 1990, 31 million people In 2001, 35 million people Elderly are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population

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Chapter 19 l.jpg

Chapter 19

Stress and the Elderly


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The Elderly

  • People over 65 years of age in this country:

    • In 1900, 3 million people

    • In 1990, 31 million people

    • In 2001, 35 million people

  • Elderly are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population

  • Estimates are for 70.3 million over 65 years by year 2030


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Adjustments in the Later Years

  • Erikson (1963) identifies the “crisis” of late adulthood as acquiring a sense of integrity and fending off a sense of despair

  • Havighurst (1972) viewed life as a series of “developmental tasks” that one must master before moving forward


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Adjustments in the Later Years, cont’d

  • Havighurst’s six developmental tasks of the elderly:

    • Adjust to decreased strength and health

    • Adjust to retirement and decreased income

    • Adjust to death of spouse

    • Establish an affiliation with one’s age group

    • Meet social/civic obligations

    • Establish satisfactory living arrangements


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Positive Changes

  • Grandchildren

  • Sometimes valued for knowledge and wisdom

  • Free time to pursue other interests

Stressors are adaptations that can have good results


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Exercise and the Elderly

  • Both male and female older adults can benefit from aerobic and strength training

  • Exercise helps maintain ability to live independently

  • Exercise reduces risk of dying from several diseases

  • Helps reduce blood pressure

  • Helps improve mood


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Retirement

  • Significant event of one’s life

  • Affects retirees’ families as well as themselves

  • Requires adjustment, must find other ways to support self-worth and status

  • May reduce income

  • Ageism becomes a reality


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Caregiver of Elderly

  • Provide care for limited seniors

  • May experience stress of feeling captive to the needs of the elderly

  • Signs are:

    • Denial

    • Anger

    • Social withdrawal

    • Anxiety

    • Depression

  • Exhaustion

  • Insomnia

  • Irritability

  • Lack of concentration

  • Health problems


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Death and Dying

  • Dying becomes a major stressor; some people don’t fear death as much as the process of dying

  • Table 18.1 reviews the stages of ordinary grief (White & Gathman, 1973)

  • Studies reveal higher mortality rates after a stressful event such as bereavement (Helsing et al., 1981)


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Interventions

  • Life-situation interventions

  • Perception interventions

  • Emotional arousal interventions

  • Physiological arousal interventions


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Chapter 19

Stress and the Elderly


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