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Changes through the Aging Process. Grade 12 family studies. Observable Physical Changes with Age:.  BEFORE AGE 50 Wrinkles Crows feet Lines that link nose with mouth. After Age 50. Skin is less elastic (deeper lines) Skin becomes thinner and more spread out (baggier)

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changes through the aging process

Changes through the Aging Process

Grade 12 family studies

observable physical changes with age
Observable Physical Changes with Age:
  •  BEFORE AGE 50
    • Wrinkles
    • Crows feet
    • Lines that link nose with mouth
after age 50
After Age 50

Skin is less elastic (deeper lines)

Skin becomes thinner and more spread out (baggier)

Skin more vulnerable to bruising

Skin changes color

Accumulation of cartilage will make the nose ½” longer and wider

Ears will grow ¼” longer

Women suffer from dry skin

after age 501
After Age 50
  • Hair
    • Hair thins (decreases in diameter and rate of growth)
    • Male pattern baldness
  • Height
    • Males lose ½” before age 50 ¾” after
    • Women lose 2” between ages 25-75
declines in processes with age
Declines in Processes with Age:
  • Vision and Hearing
  • Taste and Smell
other age related physical changes
Other Age Related Physical Changes

Depletion of back up reserves (inability to fight off diseases and germs)

Reduction of pain (elderly may not feel bruise, cut or slight heart attack)

Arteriosclerosis (hardening of arteries)


Bronchitis and lung disease (can lead to emphysema)


Heart disease / heart failure


Drug misuse



What is arthritis?

  • Arthritis is due to the wearing down of cartilage, which is the material that cushions the ends of the bones.

What are the warning signs?

  • The warning signs of arthritis include:
    • pain in or around a joint
    • stiffness or problems moving a joint
    • swelling (sometimes) in a joint

What is type 2 diabetes?

Insulin is produced by the body to transform sugar into energy. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body no longer produces enough insulin, or has difficulty using the insulin it produces, causing sugar to build up in the blood. Over time, this damages your blood vessels and nerves and can result in severe complications including:



heart disease


kidney failure

erectile dysfunction

nerve damage

reduced blood supply to the limbs,

possibly leading to amputation


What are the warning signs?

  • Many people have diabetes for years before they’re diagnosed. This is especially true for older adults, whose symptoms can be slight or not apparent at all. Symptoms include:
    • unusual thirst
    • frequent urination
    • weight change (gain or loss)
    • extreme fatigue or loss of energy
    • blurred vision
    • cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
    • frequent or recurring infections
    • tingling or numbness in hands and feet
    • for men, trouble getting or maintaining an erection
heart attack heart disease
Heart Attack / Heart Disease

As you grow older, your chances of developing heart disease increase. Coronary heart disease accounts for the greatest percentage of cardio-vascular deaths in seniors, half of which are attributable to heart attacks.

A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to a part of the heart muscle itself is severely reduced or stopped due to blockage, resulting in damage to that part of the heart.  if this happens in the brain it results in a stroke.

heart attack heart disease1
Heart Attack / Heart Disease

The main symptoms and warning signs of heart attack are:

  • Chest pain
    • tightness, discomfort or crushing
    • heaviness, pressure or squeezing
    • fullness or burning
  • Pain from the centre of the chest spreading
    • down one or both arms
    • up to neck, jaw, shoulder or back
  • Other signs
    • shortness of breath
    • paleness, sweating or weakness
    • nausea, vomiting and/or indigestion
    • anxiety or fear
    • denial, refusing to admit that anything is wrong
heart attack heart disease2
Heart Attack / Heart Disease

Who is at risk?

Some risk factors for heart disease cannot be altered, while others can be modified by lifestyle changes.

Major risk factors you can’t change include age and family history.

Risk factors you can change or control include: smoking, high blood pressure, high “bad” cholesterol (LDL) levels, lack of physical activity, diabetes and obesity.


What is osteoporosis?

Bone is a living tissue, constantly renewed through a natural process in which new bone replaces old bone. As we age, the process becomes less efficient and we begin to gradually lose bone. In someone with osteoporosis, bone loss occurs more rapidly, causing the bones to become very thin and weak over time.

When bones become severely weakened by osteoporosis, simple movements – such as bending over to pick up a heavy bag of groceries or sneezing forcefully – can lead to fracture. Wrist, spine and hip fractures are the most common fractures associated with osteoporosis.

  • Women are most at risk
  • Prevention
    • Include calcium in diet
    • Enough vitamin D
    • Be active
      • Weight bearing activity makes bones stronger
    • Don’t smoke
    • Try to prevent falls
most prevalent chronic conditions in later life
Most Prevalent ChronicConditions in Later-life


Hypertensive Disease

Heart Disease

Hearing Impairments

Musculoskeletal impairments

Chronic Sinusitis


Visual Impairments

most feared conditions in later life
Most Feared Conditions in Later-life

Alzheimer’s Disease - Dementia


Physical disability that prevents independence and autonomy of “normal” life (e.g., Parkinson’s Disease)

Heart Disease/Chronic Pulmonary Disorder


alzheimer s disease dementia
Alzheimer’s Disease / Dementia

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain, which causes thinking and memory to become seriously impaired. It is the most common form of dementia. (Dementia is a syndrome consisting of a number of symptoms that include loss of memory, judgment and reasoning, and changes in mood, behavior and communication abilities).

alzheimer s disease dementia1
Alzheimer’s Disease / Dementia
  • Warning signs
    • Memory loss that affects day-to-day function
    • Difficulty performing familiar tasks
    • Problems with language
    • Disorientation of time and place
    • Poor or decreased judgment
    • Problems with abstract thinking
    • Misplacing things
    • Changes in mood and behavior
    • Changes in personality
    • Loss of initiative
seniors and chronic diseases some facts and figures
Seniors and Chronic Diseases: Some Facts and Figures

Senior women are more likely than men to have arthritis/rheumatism, cataracts/glaucoma and back problems. Rates of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, the effects of stroke, and Alzheimer's disease/dementia are higher among senior men (Gilmour and Park, 2006).

Between 10 and 15 percent of seniors in the community suffer from depressive symptoms and/or clinical depression (Conn, 2002).

Late-life dementias, which include Alzheimer's disease, affect 8 percent of seniors over the age of 65 and more than 25 percent of those over the age of 80. Dementia is considered to be one of the greatest public health challenges of the coming generation (Canadian Study of Health and Aging Working Group, 1994).

nutritional needs of the elderly
Nutritional Needs of the Elderly
  • As we grow older, nutrition needs change:
    • Total energy needs decrease due to changes in metabolism and physical activity
    • Need for nutrients does not decrease; it increases
      • Women tend to be low in calcium, riboflavin, thiamin, iron and Vitamin A.
      • Men tend to be low in calcium, riboflavin, vitamin A and C.
    • What problems can poor nutrition cause?
nutritional needs of the elderly1
Nutritional Needs of the Elderly
  • Poor nutrition in older age can result in many adverse effects.
    • Poor nutrition exacerbates declines in immune and sensory functions (such as macular degeneration), and worsens symptoms related to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer.
    • Inadequate intake of B vitamins may also have a negative effect on cognitive functioning and even dementia among older adults.
    • Skipping meals or not eating enough can cause dizziness and weakness, which, in turn, can precipitate falls with sustained injuries that may eventually lead to a loss of independence.
nutritional needs of the elderly2
Nutritional Needs of the Elderly
  • Problems:
    • Limited income
      • Unable to afford nourishing meals
      • Programs available to aid this
    • Difficult shopping
      • May receive assistance through churches, grocery stores, city
      • Meals on Wheels
    • Loneliness
      • Eating is a social activity therefore making meals difficult
      • Services available  community centers etc.
social changes
Social Changes
  • Retirement
    • May be difficult if a person’s sense of worth and self-esteem have been tired to work
maslow s hierarchy of human needs and the aging adult
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs and the Aging Adult

Needs met through company

Needs met at retirement






Work Environment





Continuing Education

Self Employment


Volunteer Work


Financial Planning



social changes1
Social Changes
  • Gender Roles
    • Roles may blend
  • Friendships
    • Often more important
    • Grown children move away
emotional changes
Emotional Changes

May experience loneliness or depression

Need to balance activity and involvement

cognitive changes
Cognitive Changes

Difficulty with memory and/or problem solving

Speed may decrease but skill in logic and understanding are often improved

May need to work longer and harder but will learn more thoroughly

Mental simulation is necessary to keep older adults thinking effectively.

concerns of older adults
Concerns of Older Adults

Finances: Where will my money come from?

  • The Government
    • OAS – Universal (everyone gets it)
    • CPP – You contribute while you are employed
    • GIS / SPA – Need
  • Private Pension Plans
    • Company Pension Plans 70% of salary
    • Personal Pension Plans
  • Personal Savings and Investments
    • Savings
    • GICs – Guaranteed interest certificate
    • RRSPs – Registered Retirement Savings Plan
    • Stocks and Bonds
concerns of older adults1
Concerns of Older Adults

Medical Care

Many adults older adults need more medical care due to aging or chronic illness.

Over medication is another problem.

Dangers of mixing drugs

concerns of older adults2
Concerns of Older Adults

Living Arrangements

Most older adults want to remain independent as long as possible

Self worth is often measured in how well they can care for themselves

living arrangements and wellbeing
Living Arrangements and Wellbeing

Although there are many factors are associated with happiness it was found that compared to seniors living with a spouse or with other persons, those living alone are less likely to describe themselves as very happy.

In 2003, more than half of seniors aged between 65 and 74 and living with their spouse described themselves as very happy (53%), compared to 39% of those living alone, and 37% of seniors in other types of living arrangements.

assignment choices

Assignment Choices

Pick one of the following


Film Review Essay:

Review a film where the main characters are elderly

Then compose a 1-2 page essay discussing how topics research discussed in class coincide with characterizations or themes expressed in the film. You CANNOT pick “The Notebook”


Interview an Older Adult:

Conduct a semi-structured interview of an older adult and provide a case study discussing how your understanding of the person coincides with topics discussed in class.

Our learning goal is to find practical application of theory and research to “real” lives and experiences, and further our understanding of various aspects of adult development and aging.