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Chapter 18: Late Adulthood
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Chapter 18: Late Adulthood

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  1. Chapter 18: Late Adulthood Module 8 Social and Personality Development in Late Adulthood

  2. PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT AND SUCCESSFUL AGING

  3. Personality Development and Successful Aging • Personality change depends on specific personality characteristics • What do you think these are? 447

  4. Continuity and Change in Personality • Fundamental continuity to personality • Profound social environmental changes throughout adulthood may produce fluctuations and changes in personality • Some discontinuities in development 448

  5. Discontinuities of Development: What Do Theorists Say? Changes in personality occur as a result of new challenges in later adulthood. • Erik Erikson • Robert Peck • Daniel Levinson • Bernice Neugarten 448

  6. Erik Erikson EGO-INTEGRITY-VERSUS-DESPAIR Process of looking back over one's life, evaluating it, and coming to terms with it • Integrity • Comes when people feel they have realized and fulfilled the possibilities that have come their way • Despair • Occurs when people feel dissatisfied with their life, and experience gloom, unhappiness, depression, anger, or the feeling that they have failed 448

  7. Robert Peck Personality development in elderly people is occupied by three major developmental tasks or challenges • Redefinition of self-versus-preoccupation-with-work-role • Body-transcendence-versus-body-preoccupation • Ego-transcendence-versus-ego-preoccupation 448

  8. Daniel Levinson People enter late adulthood by passing through transition stage • View themselves as being “old” • Recognize stereotypes and loss of power and respect • Serve as resources to younger individuals • Discover new freedom to do things for simple sake of enjoyment and pleasure 449

  9. Bernice Neugarten Four different personality types in people in their 70s • Disintegrated and disorganized • Passive-dependent personalities • Defended personalities • Integrated personalities 450

  10. Life Review and Reminiscence Common Theme of Personality Development • Triggered by increasingly obvious prospect of one’s death • Provides better understanding of past • Resolves lingering problems and conflicts • Leads to sense of sharing, mutuality, and feeling of interconnectedness with others 451

  11. Age Stratification Approaches to Late Adulthood Suggest that economic resources, power, and privilege are distributed unequally at different stages of the life course 451

  12. What else? • Power and prestige for elderly have eroded in industrialized societies • Rapidly changing technology causes older adults to be seen as lacking important skills • Older adults are seen as non-productive members of society and in some cases simply irrelevant

  13. Developmental Diversity • Cultural differences in the way the elderly are treated are often exaggerated • Eskimos do not leave their elderly to die on ice floes • Chinese revere old age but there is great individual variation 452

  14. Homogeneous in socioeconomic terms Control of finances by older adults Continued engagement in socially valued activities Organized around extended families Cultures that revere old age have several things in common 452

  15. Does age bring wisdom?

  16. Things to Consider • Wisdom reflects accumulation of knowledge, experience, and contemplation • Wisdom is not the same as intelligence 453

  17. Staudinger and Baltes Study • Older participants benefited more from experimental condition designed to promote wise thinking • Older adults appear to be able to draw on a more sophisticated theory of mind 453

  18. Successful Aging Secrets Three major approaches • Disengagement theory • Activity theory • Continuity theory 454

  19. Late adulthood involves gradual withdrawal from world on physical, psychological, and social levels Withdrawal is a mutual process and not necessarily negative Disengagement Theory: Gradual Retreat 454

  20. Activity Theory: Continued Involvement • Happiness and satisfaction from high level of involvement • Adaptation to inevitable changes • Continuing/replacing previous activities 454

  21. And so… Neither disengagement theory nor activity theory provides a complete picture of successful aging

  22. Continuity Theory: A Compromise Position • People need to maintain their desired level of involvement in society to maximize their sense of well-being and self-esteem • Regardless of activity level, most older adults experience positive emotions as frequently as younger individuals • Good physical and mental health is important in determining overall sense of well-being 455

  23. Review and Apply REVIEW • Erikson calls older adulthood the ego-integrity-versus-despair stage, Peck focuses on three tasks that define the period, Levinson suggests that older people can experience liberation and self-regard, and Neugarten focuses on the ways people cope with aging. 456

  24. Review and Apply REVIEW • Societies in which elderly people are respected are generally characterized by social homogeneity, extended families, responsible roles for older people, and control of significant resources by older people. • Disengagement theory suggests that older people gradually withdraw from the world, while activity theory suggests that the happiest people continue to be engaged with the world. A compromise position—continuity theory—may be the most useful approach to successful aging, and the most successful model for aging may be selective optimization with compensation. 456

  25. Review and Apply APPLY • How might personality traits account for success or failure in achieving satisfaction through the life review process? 456

  26. THE DAILY LIFE OF LATE ADULTHOOD

  27. Places and Spaces • Living at Home • Specialized LivingEnvironments • Continuing-care community • Assisted living • Nursing institutions • Adult day care • Skilled nursing 457

  28. Living in Nursing Homes • Greater the extent of nursing home care = greater adjustment required of residents • Loss of independence brought about by institutional life may lead to difficulties • Elderly people are as susceptible to society’s stereotypes about nursing homes 457

  29. Where do you hope to spend the last days of your life?

  30. I think I can, I think I can…or can I? Institutionalism and Learned Helplessness • Institutionalism • Learned helplessness 458

  31. Profound effect on their well-being Consequences of Loss of Control in Nursing Home Care 458

  32. People who were well-off in young adulthood remain so in late adulthood Those who were poor remain poor in late adulthood Economics of Late Adulthood 458

  33. Financial Vulnerability in Older Adulthood • Reliance on a fixed income for support • Social Security benefits • Pensions, and savings, rarely keeps up with inflation • Rising cost of health care 458

  34. Elderly face rising health costs Average older person spends 20 percent of his or her income on health care costs Nursing homes can cost $30,000 to $40,000 a year The Cost of Staying Well 460

  35. Work and Retirement • Retirement is major decision • Social Security • Part-time employment • Mandatory retirement 460

  36. What does this research tell us about retirement?

  37. Other Questions to Consider • Besides finances, what do you think are some important factors in deciding on the right time to retire? • What factors might contribute to the specific retirement path a given person takes? 460

  38. Combating Age Discrimination There was an old lady who lived in a shoe…and we were not sure just what she could do!

  39. Some employers.. • Encourage older workers to leave their jobs in order to replace them with younger employees whose salaries will be considerably lower • Believe older workers are not up to demands of the job or are less willing to adapt to a changing workplace 460

  40. Retirement Retirement decision based on variety of factors • Burnout • Health concerns • Employer incentives • Desire to travel, study, or spend more time with family 460

  41. Atchley & Barusch • Stages • Honeymoon period • Disenchantment • Reorientation • Retirement routines • Termination 461

  42. Becoming an Informed Consumer of Development Planning For—and Living—a Good Retirement • Plan ahead financially • Consider tapering off from work gradually • Explore interests before retirement • If you are married or in a long-term partnership, spend some time discussing views of ideal retirement with partner • Consider where you want to live • Determine advantages and disadvantages of downsizing your current home. • Plan to volunteer your time 461

  43. Review and Apply REVIEW • Elderly people live in a variety of settings, although most live at home with a family member. • Financial issues can trouble older people, largely because their incomes are fixed, health-care costs are increasing, and the lifespan is lengthening. • After retirement, many people pass through stages, including a honeymoon period, disenchantment, reorientation, retirement routine, and termination. 462

  44. Review and Apply APPLY • Based on research on successful aging, what advice would you give someone who is nearing retirement? 462

  45. RELATIONSHIPS: OLD AND NEW

  46. Marriage in Later Years: Together, Then Alone 463

  47. Stress of Retirement • Stress of retirement or old age may change relationship • 2 percent of divorces in the U. S. involve women over 60 • Husband may be abusive or alcoholic • Husband may find a younger woman • Divorce is harder on women than men • 5 percent of the elderly never married and late adulthood brings fewer changes to their lives 463

  48. More time together More sharing in household chores Role reversals Health changes Refashioned Relationships 463

  49. Caring for an Aging Spouse • Wide variety of reactions • Positive • Negative 464

  50. Death of Spouse • Few events are more painful than death of spouse • No longer part of a couple • Must deal with profound grief • No one to share life with and social life often changes • Economic changes often occur 465