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Late Adulthood . Ch 17-19 Developmental Psychology Jen Wright. The aging process. Aging can be beautiful !. what ages? . All internal systems Cardiovascular, respiratory, etc. Sense organs Immune system Muscles, joints, bones Sexual/reproductive system Brain Sleep

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late adulthood

Late Adulthood

Ch 17-19

Developmental Psychology

Jen Wright

what ages
what ages?
  • All internal systems
    • Cardiovascular, respiratory, etc.
    • Sense organs
  • Immune system
  • Muscles, joints, bones
  • Sexual/reproductive system
  • Brain
    • Sleep
    • Cognitive processing
  • Physical appearance
  • Attitudes
different kinds of aging
different kinds of aging
  • Universal aging
    • Primary aging
  • Probabilistic aging
    • Secondary aging
  • Chronological aging
  • Biological aging
  • Social aging
    • Ageism
  • Population aging
universal biological aging
universal/biological aging
  • Senesence
    • The universal biological processes of a living organism approaching an advanced age.
  • Oganismal senescence
    • Increasing homeostatic instability
    • Declining ability to respond to stress
    • Increasing risk of disease, dysfunction, disability
Cellular senescence
  • It was once believed that normal cells were in principle immortal
    • Environmental factors responsible for cell death
  • Now we know that most (but not all) cells die
  • Hayflick limit
    • Number of times a cell will divide before dying
    • 52 times in 20% oxygen (normal air)
    • 70 times in 3% oxygen (human internal conditions)
what controls cell division
what controls cell division?
  • Cells possess molecular clocks
    • Telomeres
      • Non-coding appendix on ends of DNA
    • Shortened by mitosis
    • At certain length, cell will no longer divide
    • Protective mechanism against chromosome destruction, mutation, and cancer
  • Other forms of programmed cell death
    • E.g. apoptosis
    • Triggered by mitochondria
biological theories of aging
biological theories of aging
  • Aging clock theory
    • Telomere theory
  • Evolutionary theory
    • Late-acting deleterious mutations not selected against

Passing on genes

Early-acting disease

Middle-acting disease

Late-acting disease

Wear and tear theory
  • Error theory
    • Somatic mutation theory
    • Free-radical theory
    • Accumulative waste theory
How long is a normal life?
  • maximum life span
      • the oldest possible age that members of a species can live
      • under ideal circumstances for humans
        • approximately 122 years
  • average life expectancy
      • the number of years the average newborn in a particular population group is likely to live
  • People living to be 100+ years old
    • 55,000 in US in 2005
      • 1 in 50 women, 1 in 200 men
    • 30,000 in Japan
      • Okinawans 5x more likely
    • 450,000 world-wide
    • Super-centenarians: 110+ years
Reviewing lives of different centenarians
    • Many differences in lifestyles
  • Yet, they were similar in four ways…
      • diet was moderate
      • work continued throughout life
      • family, friends, community ties were important
      • exercise and relaxation were part of daily routine
nun study
Nun study
top 4 disease related deaths
Top 4 disease-related deaths
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Pulmonary disease
Other diseases that occurs with increasing frequency with age:
    • Arthritis
    • Cataracts
    • Osteoporosis
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Hypertension
    • Alzheimer’s disease
aging prevention
aging prevention
  • Artificial extension of telomeres
    • Trade-off between aging and cancer
    • Vitamin D naturally lengthens
  • Increased sirtuins – repair damage to DNA
  • Organ/tissue repair and rejuvenation
    • Free-radical therapy
    • Stem cells
  • Organ/tissue replacement
    • Artificial and cloned organs/tissue
Caloric restriction
    • 60% of required calories
    • Reduction in Type2 diabetes, cancer
    • Extension of life in all species tested
  • Intermittent fasting
Adolescence: Identity achievement
  • Young Adulthood:Developed network of intimacy
  • Mid-life: Generativity vs. Stagnation
    • Creating/giving vs. “self-absorption”
  • Late-life: Integrity vs. Despair
    • Life-review
  • Creative life projects
  • Feeling needed by people
  • Helping younger generation develop
  • Influence in community or area of interest
  • Productivity and effectiveness
  • Appreciation/awareness of older generation
  • Broader, more global perspective
  • Interest in things beyond family
  • Life-review: was one’s life meaningful?
  • Regrets involve four major themes:
      • Mistakes and bad decisions
      • Hard times
      • Social relationships
      • Missed educational opportunities
  • Reminiscence therapy: discussing past activities and experiences with another individual or group
  • Wisdom
    • Acceptance of life circumstances
    • Finding meaning/purpose
Dimensions of well-being
    • Self-acceptance
    • Purpose in life
    • Positive relationships
    • Environmental mastery
    • Personal growth
    • Autonomy
  • Conscientiousness predicts lower mortality risk from childhood through late adulthood
  • Low conscientiousness and high neuroticism predicts earlier death
  • Older adults characterized by negative affect do not live as long as those characterized by more positive affect
  • Older adults benefit from altruism and engaging in volunteer activities
  • Helping others may reduce stress hormones, which improves cardiovascular health and strengthens the immune system
  • Volunteering is associated with a number of positive outcomes
    • More satisfaction with life
    • Less depression and anxiety
    • Better physical health
social networks
Social networks
  • Convoy Model of Social Relations:
    • individuals go through life embedded in a personal network of individuals from whom they give and receive social support
  • Social Support:
    • Improves physical and mental health
    • Reduces symptoms of disease
    • Increases one’s ability to meet health-care needs
    • Decreases risk of institutionalization
    • Associated with lower rates of depression
Social Integration
    • Greater interest in spending time with a small circle of friends and family
    • Low level of social integration is linked with coronary heart disease
    • Being a part of a social network is linked with longevity, especially for men
  • Four-generation families have become more common because of increased longevity
  • Great-grandparents can transmit family history to future generations
selective optimization with compensation
Selective Optimization with Compensation
  • Successful aging is linked with three main factors:
    • Selection: need to select those activities of most value
    • Optimization: maintain performance through practice and use of technology
    • Compensation: find constructive ways to accommodate/work around increasing disability
social aging
Social aging
  • Unlike gender/ethnicity
    • Doesn’t apply for entire life.
    • (potentially) applies to everyone.
  • Ageism
    • Negative stereotypes associated with age negatively influence performance, function, and well-being.
      • Stereotypes against older adults are often negative
      • Most frequent form is disrespect, followed by assumptions about ailments or frailty caused by age
    • Positive stereotypes associated with age positively influence performance, function, and well-being.
development of dementia
Development of dementia
  • Loss of intellectual ability in elderly people has traditionally been called senility.
  • The pathological loss of brain function is known as dementia—literally, “out of mind,” referring to severely impaired judgment
    • dementia
      • irreversible loss of intellectual functioning caused by organic brain damage or disease
      • becomes more common with age, but it is abnormal and pathological even in the very old
alzheimer s disease
Alzheimer’s disease
  • First described by German psychiatrist
    • Alois Alzheimer (1906)
  • Generally diagnosed in people over 65 years
    • Early-onset (before 65 years) only 5-10% of patients
    • Several genetic causes
  • 4.5+ million American suffer from it
    • 5% of 65-74 years
    • Nearly 50% of 85+
  • 1 in 6 women over 55; 1 in 10 men over 55
symptoms of pre dementia
Symptoms of Pre-dementia
  • Early symptoms similar to age-related or stress-induced memory loss
    • Difficulty remembering recently learned facts
  • Subtle cognitive difficulties
    • Executive function of attentiveness
    • Planning, flexibility
    • Abstract thinking
  • Impairment in semantic memory
    • New memory formation
  • Mild confusion/Apathy
  • As early as 5-10 years (some say 20 years) before official diagnosis
moderate stages
Moderate stages
  • Hindering of independence
  • Paraphasias
    • Phonemic paraphasia - Mispronunciation, syllables out of sequence. e.g. "I slipped on the lice (ice) and broke my arm."
    • Verbal paraphasia - Substitution of words
      • Semantic paraphasia - The substituted word is related to the intended word. e.g. "I spent the whole day working on the television, I mean, computer."
      • Remote paraphasia - The substituted word is not really related to the intended word. e.g. "You forgot your lamp, I mean, umbrella."
Memory problems worsen
    • STM and LTM
  • Start of failure to recognize friends/ relatives
  • Behavioral changes
    • Wandering
    • Sundowning
    • Irritability
    • Labile affect
  • Progression is typically 2-10 years
advanced stages
Advanced stages
  • Complete dependence
  • Significant language impairment
    • Eventual loss of speech
  • Apathy, exhaustion
  • Loss of mobility, ability to feed oneself
  • External causes of death
  • Progression is typically 1-5 years


    • Amyloid-beta proteins
  • Tangles
    • Neurofibrillary congestion
  • Several competing hypotheses:
  • Cholingeric hypothesis
    • Caused by reduced synthesis of acetylcholine
    • Increase in acetylcholine doesn’t cure dementia
  • Amyloid hypothesis
    • Caused by amyloid beta deposits caused by APP (chr21)
    • Universal development in Down Syndrome by 40
    • Gene that leads to excessive deposits in early-onset
    • Transgenic mice
    • Weak correlation with neuron loss
Tau hypothesis
    • Caused by tau protein abnormalities
    • Formation of neurofibrillary tangles
  • Herpes simplex virus (HSV1) hypotheis
    • Cold sore virus
    • May be responsible for up to 60% of cases
    • Promotes formation of beta amyloid plaques
      • Uses APP for transportation
      • Causes inflammation in brain
    • HSV1 found in brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients
    • Cheap available drugs for treatment
risk factors
Risk factors
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Head trauma
  • High cholesterol
  • Being American!
    • Higher rates in
      • Japanese-Americans than Japanese
      • African-Americans than Africans
  • Depression
  • Lower rates in highly educated
    • Beneficial consequences of learning and memory
other forms of dementia
Other forms of dementia
  • The second most common cause of dementia is a stroke
  • Vascular dementia (VaD), also called multi-infarct dementia (MID)
      • a form of dementia characterized by sporadic, and progressive, loss of intellectual functioning caused by repeated infarcts, or temporary obstructions of blood vessels, which prevent sufficient blood from reaching the brain
  • Subcortical Dementias
    • Forms of dementia that begin with impairments in motor ability and produce cognitive impairment in later stages
      • Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis are subcortical dementias
  • Reversible Dementia
    • dementia caused by medication, inadequate nutrition, alcohol abuse, depression, or other mental illness can sometimes be reversed
population aging
population aging
  • Increased age of population
  • Two causal factors
    • Rising life expectancy
    • Declining fertility
  • Asia/Europe face severe population aging
    • Average age approaching 50
  • Economic implications
    • More savings/less spending
    • Increased health care
    • Less education
    • Retirement/social security