SOC 1104 Study Guide - Comprehensive Final Exam Guide - Canada, Disability, World War I

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20 Nov 2018
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SOC 1104
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Motor and Sensory Systems
Declines in motor performance usually include a decrease in the ability to make decisions, along
with a slowing of reaction time. Part of the latter is due to a decline in neuron signal strength. As
a result, the central processing mechanisms become less efficient because they need more
time to process the signals. As long as a situation does not have a time limit for the decision,
older people can perform as well as when they were young. The motor system also experiences
changes when it comes to mobility, where balance, posture, and gait are compromised. More
than 40 per cent of Canadians aged 65 or older report having at least one disability that
influence, to some extent, their ability to perform activities required in daily life. The biggest
problem with disabilities and other mobility deficits is that the impediments can increas a
person’s risk of falling. A fall for an older person can have devastating consequences. It can
lead to fractures, hospitalization, and a decrease in mobility, possibly causing loss of
independence or even death.
Changes in the sensory systems occur gradually with age. The sensory system becomes even
more important with age, because a decline in one sense can lead to higher dependence on
another sense. Senses are important for everyday life, including communicating with others,
and are often taken for granted until an impairment begins to develop. Vision and hearing are
two senses that often experience age-related declines. Changes to the sensory system can
affect the things that a person is able to do, or believes they are able to do. Sensory
impairments are often contributing factors to depression, social isolation, and loss of self-
esteem. Discussion of vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell, and pain can be found in Chapter 3,
under: Sensory processes.
Changes in sexuality are common with age. A widely held myth is that older people are not
interested in sex or are unable to engage in sexual behaviours. Research, however, shows that
older people are sexually active and enjoy being intimate with their partner. Some difficulties
may arise due to hormonal changes, prescription drugs, or health problems, which can affect
sexual desire or ability. There can also be social or psychological problems that affect an older
person’s opportunities to express their sexuality with a partner, such as fear of inadequacy, and
anxiety around dating in older adulthood.
Attitudes in society can also make older people feel like they are doing something wrong by
wanting to be sexually active and they may be embarrassed to talk about it. Increasingly,
problems are arising in nursing homes because of the lack of privacy and acknowledgement
that older people living in institutions also have a right to be sexually intimate. More training and
research is needed in this area in order to develop appropriate methods to address this topic.
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