Late adulthood years after 65
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Late adulthood years after 65. Late adulthood can be divided into: Young old 65 – 74 years Middle old 75 – 84 years Old old over 85 years Geriatrics: is the term for medical speciality that addresses the diagnosis and treatment of the physical problems of elderly person

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Late adulthood years after 65

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Late adulthoodyears after 65

  • Late adulthood can be divided into:

    • Young old 65 – 74 years

    • Middle old 75 – 84 years

    • Old old over 85 years

  • Geriatrics: is the term for medical speciality that addresses the diagnosis and treatment of the physical problems of elderly person

  • Gerontology: is a science that study all aspects of the aging process including biologic, psychologic and sociologic factors

Biologic theories of aging

  • Wear and tear theories:

    • Dr. August Weismann, a German biologist, first introduced this theory in 1882.

    • He believed that the body and its cells were damaged by overuse and abuse.

    • The organs, liver, stomach, kidneys, skin and so on are worn down by toxins in our diet and in the environment; by the excessive consumption of fat, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine; by the ultra-violet rays of the sun and by the many other physical and emotional stresses to which we subject our bodies.

Biologic theories of aging

  • Wear and tear is not confined to our organs, however; it also takes place on the cellular level.

  • When we are young the body's own maintenance and repair systems keep compensating for the effects of both normal and excessive wear and tear

  • With age the body loses its ability to repair damage caused by diet, environmental toxins, bacteria or a virus

Biologic theories of aging

  • The Neuroendocrine Theory

    • Proposes that changes in hormone production result in organism’s decline

    • When we are young, our hormones work together to regulate many bodily functions, including our responses to heat and cold, our life experiences and our sexual activity

    • Hormones are vital for repairing and regulating our bodily functions, and when aging causes a drop in hormone production, it causes a decline in our body's ability to repair and regulate itself

  • The Genetic Control Theory :

    • We are born with a unique genetic code, a predetermined tendency to certain types of physical and mental functioning, and that genetic inheritance has a great deal to say about how quickly we age and how long we live

  • Cross – linking theory:

    • Proposes that chemical reactions create strong bonds between proteins these bonds cause loss of elasticity, stiffness and loss of function

  • Autoimmune Theory

    • Proposes that immune system becomes less effective that incubated viruses in the body damage the body organs.

    • Also a reduction in immune function will increase autoimmune responses causing the body to produce antibodies that attack itself

Integumentary system

  • Skin:

    • dry, fragile and pale

    • Wrinkling and sagging in skin, eyelids, ear lobs, breast due to decrease elasticity and subcutaneous fat

    • Appearance of Lentigo Senilis(brown age spots) due to clustering of melanocytes (pigment cells)

    • Women may start to have facial hair

  • Hair loses color

  • Fingernails and toenails become thickened and brittle

  • Losses of subcutaneous fat decreases elderly tolerance of cold (hypothermia is a major health problem)


  • Steady decrease in muscle fibers and muscle tones

  • Reduction of speed and power of muscle contractions

  • Elderly may experience impaired balance (due to slower reaction time)

  • Loss of overall stature (due to atrophy of intervertebral discs)

  • Stooping posture due to muscle weakness and kyphosis: curved posture, the head down, the back and knees bent, and a forward pitch with small, shuffling steps when walking.

  • The loss of bone density and mass causes a compression of the bones especially in the vertebral area creating a slight decrease in height

  • Osteoporosis due to bone demineralization causing bones break more easily

  • A loss of cartilage makes painful joint complaints more common and contribute to a decrease range of movement and mobility

Osteoporosis is a weakening of bones due to loss of bone density.

Osteoporosis is preventable to a very large extent by calcium intake and regular load-bearing exercise, such as weight training.

Sensory/ perceptual

  • Eyes:

    • Shrunken appearance due to loss of orbital fat.

    • Slow blinking reflex

    • Looseness of the eyelids particularly the lower lid due to poorer muscle tone.

    • Continue loss of visual acuity, less power to adapt to sudden changes to more or less light or near to far objects (temporary blindness): hazard of night driving.

  • Difficulty in discriminating similar colors.

  • May have

    • Cataract

    • Glaucoma

    • Reduce peripheral vision

    • And arcus senilis (white circle around the iris: it is a peripheral corneal opacity caused by a deposition of phospholipid and cholesterol granules in the corneal stroma )

  • Hearing: after age 75, 50% or more have hearing deficits: higher tones are more difficult to hear than low ones

  • Smell and taste: older people, especially men, experience losses in both taste and smell, which may result in decreased appetite.

  • Touch: loss of skin receptors causing decrease sensation of pain, touch and temperature places the elderly at risk for burn or injuries.


  • Decreases inhalation of air due to musculoskeletal changes and calcification of costal cartilage which decreases lung expansion thus decreasing respiratory rate

  • Residual air will be greater (weaker expiratory muscle)

  • Decreased cough efficiency with age thus mucous secretions tend to collect more often causing infection

  • Dyspnoea with exercises


  • Heart working capacity will decrease especially during exercises

  • Heart rate slow in responding and slow to return to normal after physical activity

  • Decreased the arterial elasticity will reduce the blood supply to legs causing calf pain and to the brain causing dizziness.


  • Delayed in swallowing time

  • Increase tendency of indigestion due to decrease digestive enzymes and decrease muscle tone of GI system

  • Low absorption rate of nutrients and drugs due to decrease number of absorbing cells in GI

  • Decreased peristalsis movements causing constipation.


  • Decreased numbers of functioning nephrons lead to diminished kidney function

  • Urinary urgency and frequency are common in elderly due to enlarged prostate in men and weakness in muscles that support the bladder in women

Cognitive development

  • An old adult maintains cognitive skills however, this will be affected with disease processes

  • Memory: age related problems occur in short-term memory

  • Old person needs more time to learn due to problem with retrieving information

Health problems in late adulthood:

Health problems

  • Dementia:

    • is a permanent or progressive organic mental disorder

    • It is a declining of cognitive abilities, characterized by personality changes, confusion, disorientation and deterioration of intellectual functioning and memory.

    • The most common type of irreversible dementia is Alzheimer’s disease (AD)

  • Most prominent symptoms of AD are steady decline in memory, learning, attention, judgment, orientation and language skills as well as decline in physical abilities.

Health problems in late adulthood:

Alois Alzheimer

Alzheimer’s disease affects a growing number of older persons—especially those over 80 year.

Cause is not known, but involves deterioration of the brain’s abilities to maintain itself.

  • Parkinson’s disease:

    • Parkinson's disease is a chronic, progressive neurodegenerative movement disorder. Tremors, rigidity, slow movement (bradykinesia), poor balance, and difficulty walking (called parkinsonian gait) are characteristic of Parkinson's disease.

    • The cause is unknown (idiopathic)

  • Parkinson's results from the degeneration of dopamine-producing nerve cells in the brain

  • Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that stimulates motor neurons, those nerve cells that control the muscles. When dopamine production is depleted, the motor system nerves are unable to control movement and coordination.

  • Parkinson's disease patients have lost 80% or more of their dopamine-producing cells by the time symptoms appear.

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