physical and cognitive development in late adulthood 60 yrs l.
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Physical and Cognitive Development in Late Adulthood (60 yrs. >). Dr. Arra PSY 232. Late Adulthood. COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT Both fluid and crystallized intelligence decline Difficulty with working memory Procedural/implicit memory is intact

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late adulthood
Late Adulthood


  • Both fluid and crystallized intelligence decline
  • Difficulty with working memory
  • Procedural/implicit memory is intact
  • Adults are better at retrieving recent memories as opposed to remote memories
late adulthood3
Late Adulthood
  • Language processing is compromised:
  • Adults find it more difficult to find the ‘right words’ to say
  • Retrieval and memory problems
  • Depth and elaboration of processing
late adulthood4
Late Adulthood


  • Adults use strategies developed in middle adulthood
  • Married adults will collaborate in developing problem solving strategies
late adulthood5
Late Adulthood


  • Definition: extensive practical knowledge, ability to reflect on and apply that knowledge in ways that make life more bearable and worthwhile, emotional maturity, and creativity
  • When life experience is a major factor in solving problems; older people tend to do better than younger people
late adulthood6
Late Adulthood
  • Older adults have faced and overcome more adversity in life which contributes to wisdom
  • These tend to be individuals who are well educated, physically healthy, and have positive relations with others
late adulthood7
Late Adulthood
  • Mentally active individuals are likely to maintain their cognitive abilities into advanced old age
  • Retirement can bring about positive or negative changes with regard to cognitive ability
  • Terminal decline: a steady, marked decrease in cognitive functioning as death approaches is often seen
late adulthood8
Late Adulthood


  • Better health and earlier retirement allow adults to continue their education through university courses and community offerings
  • Participants are enriched by new knowledge, new friends, a broader perspective on the world, and an image of themselves as more competent
  • Unfortunately, these types of services are not as available to lower SES adults
late adulthood9
Late Adulthood


  • Vastly different rates of aging
  • Functional age: competence, performance
  • Chronological age
  • Young-old: 65-74, active, vigorous, appear young for their age
  • Old-old: 75-84, appear frail, show decline
  • All depends on physical condition
late adulthood10
Late Adulthood
  • With advancing age, women outnumber men
  • Average life expectancy: number of years an individual born in a particular year can expect to live
  • 2000 male-74


late adulthood11
Late Adulthood
  • Life expectancy is greater for females due to the extra X chromosome
  • This extra X chromosome is believed to give women biological protective value
  • Life expectancy varies with SES, ethnicity, and nationality
late adulthood12
Late Adulthood
  • 2000
  • White children are likely to live 5-7 years longer than African-American children
  • White children are likely to live 4-5 years longer than Native American children
  • Because of……injuries, life-threatening disease, poverty linked stress, violent death in low SES groups, income, lifestyle
late adulthood13
Late Adulthood


  • The number of years of vigorous, healthy life an individual born in a particular year can expect
  • Japan #1, Canada #12, U.S. #24
  • Heart disease, low fat diets, good health care, regard for the aged
late adulthood14
Late Adulthood
  • Loss of neurons especially in auditory and visual regions
  • Hearing difficulties are more common than visual difficulties, especially in men
  • Yellowing of the lens causes impaired eyesight by not allowing light through to the retina
late adulthood15
Late Adulthood
  • Cataracts: cloudy areas in the lens, resulting in foggy vision and eventual blindness
  • Caused by aging, heredity, sun exposure, and certain diseases (e.g., diabetes)
  • Treated by removing the lenses and replacement with an artificial lens or corrective eyewear; highly successful
late adulthood16
Late Adulthood
  • 25% of people in their seventies
  • 50% of people in their eighties
  • Macular degeneration: when light sensitive cells in the macula (central region of the retina) break down, vision blurs and is gradually lost
  • Leading cause of blindness among older adults
late adulthood17
Late Adulthood
  • If diagnosed early, it can sometimes be treated with laser therapy
  • Visual difficulties can affect elders’ self confidence, everyday behavior, and can be very isolating
  • Taste and odor sensitivity decline, making food less appealing
late adulthood18
Late Adulthood


  • Dementia- set of disorders occurring in old age in which many aspects of thought and behavior are so impaired that everyday activities are disrupted
  • Strikes both sexes equally
late adulthood19
Late Adulthood
  • 1% in their 60’s
  • 50% 85>
  • Parkinson’s: deterioration of subcortical regions of the brain that many times extend to the cerebral cortex, and often involves brain abnormalities resembling Alzheimer’s
late adulthood20
Late Adulthood
  • More specifically, neurons in the brain that control muscle movement deteriorate. Symptoms include tremors, shuffling gait, loss of facial expression, rigidity of limbs, difficulty maintaining balance, and stooped posture
  • Seen as irreversible and incurable
late adulthood21
Late Adulthood

Alzheimer’s Disease

  • The most common form of dementia
  • Structural and chemical brain deterioration
  • Gradual loss of many aspects of thought and behavior
  • Accounts for 60% of all dementia cases
  • 8-10% of people over 65 have Alzheimer’s
late adulthood22
Late Adulthood
  • Over 80, close to 50% are affected
  • Symptoms include severe memory loss (names, dates, appointments, etc…)
  • Recall of distant events evaporates
  • Judgment is faulty
  • Personality changes (loss of spontaneity, anxiety, aggressive outbursts, social withdrawl)
late adulthood23
Late Adulthood
  • Problems walking and moving purposefully
  • Loss of ability to comprehend and produce speech
  • Eventual lapse into coma and death
  • Course: 1-15 years; mean= 6-7 years
  • Prognosis: poor, chronic
late adulthood24
Late Adulthood


  • Memory and reasoning areas especially effected
  • Neural structures collapse; massive neuron death
  • Shrinkage of brain volume
  • Lowered levels of neurotransmitters
late adulthood25
Late Adulthood
  • Neurons containing the neurotransmitter acetycholine are attacked and therefore acetycholine is destroyed, which transports messages from distant areas of the brain
  • As a result, perception, memory, and reasoning are disrupted
  • Serotonin is also affected
late adulthood26
Late Adulthood

2 types:

  • Familial: runs in families, early onset (before 65), progresses rapidly
  • Genetic abnormalities on chromosomes 1, 14, 21 have been found; abnormal gene is dominant
  • Sporadic: no family history, progresses slower than familial type, linked to abnormal gene in chromosome 19
late adulthood27
Late Adulthood


  • Drugs, antidepressants, sedatives= control behavior
  • Use of drugs that slow down the breakup of acetylcholine
  • No cure