FRHD*1010 Chapter 14

6 Pages

Family Relations and Human Development
Course Code
FRHD 1010
Susan Chuang

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FRHD*1010 th th November 10 2013 – November 17 2013 Chapter 14: Late Adulthood – Body & Mind Prejudice & Predictions  Prejudice about late adulthood is common among people of all ages Ageism: A prejudice whereby people are categorized and judged solely on the basis of their chronological age  Can target people of any age Believing the Stereotypes  When children believe an ageist idea, few people teach them otherwise unlike with racism or sexism  Therefore later on their long-standing prejudice is extremely resistant to change undercutting their own health and intellect Ageist Elders  Ageism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy  Most elderly people above 70 think their doing better than others their age  Elders miss the insult in sayings such as “having all her marbles”  Stereotyping threat can be debilitating for the aged (as for any group)  If elderly fear they are losing their minds, that fear itself has undermined cognitive competence  When older people believe that they are independent and in control of their life they are likely to be healthier – mentally & physically – than others their age Ageism Leading to Illness  Ageism impairs daily life  Prevents depressed older people from seeking help b/c they resign themselves to infirmity  Leads others to undermine the vitality and health of the aged  Makes people think that the patterns of the young are ideal which leads to a deficit at any other age  Self-imposed ageism leads elderly to exercise less, which increases stiffness and reduces range in motion Elderspeak Elderspeak: A condescending way of speaking to older adults that resembles baby talk, w/ simple and short sentences, exaggerated emphasis, repetition, and a slower rate and higher pitch than used in normal speech.  Many people who think they’re end to being compassionate to infantilize the elderly  Ageism is evident in many caregivers  Elderspeak reduces communication as higher frequencies are harder for the elderly to hear, stretching out words makes comprehension worse and shouting causes stress Destructive Protection  Some younger adults and the media discourage the elderly from leaving home The Demographic Shift Demographic Shift: A shift in the proportions of the populations of various ages The World’s Aging Population  UN estimated that nearly 8% of the world’s population in 2010 was 65 or older  Expected to double by 2050 Dependency Ratio: A calculation of the # of self-sufficient, productive adults compared w/ the number of dependents (children and elderly) in a given population Ongoing Senescence Theories of Aging Wear & Tear: A view of ageing as a process by which the human body wears out because of the passage of time and exposure t environmental stressors  True for some body parts  Some body parts benefit from use such as exercise increases heart and lung functioning 1 Genetic Clock: A proposed mechanism in the DNA of cells that regulates the aging process by triggering hormonal changes and controlling cellular reproduction and repair  Evidence for genetic aging comes from premature ageing such as disease of progeria  Other genes allow for an extraordinary long and healthy life  Societies need younger generations to reproduce the next generation and then need the elders to die so that the new generation can thrive Cellular Ageing: The ways in which molecules and cells are affected by age. Many theories aim to explain how and why ageing causes cells to deteriorate  Toxins damage cells over time so minor errors in copying accumulate and overtime imperfections proliferate  The job of the immune system cells is to recognize and destroy pathogens but immune system weakens with age  Eventually the organism can no longer repair every cellular error resulting in senescence Hayflick Limit: The # of times a human cell is capable of dividing into 2 new cells. The limit for human cells is approx. 50 divisions, and indication that the life span is limited by our genetic program Calorie Restriction  The practice of limiting dietary energy intake for the purpose of improving health and slowing down the aging process  Remaining right vitamins and minerals  Would be really hard to test Selective Optimization  Social scientists have another goal, not about adding years to life but adding life to years  One method called selective optimization with compensation  The goal that elderly people will compensate for any impairments by optimizing whatever specific task they select to do Individual Compensation: Sex  Most people are sexually active throughout adulthood  Some continue to have sex long past 65 but tends to become way less frequent  Many older people don’t think that sex is the only optimal measure of sexual activity but instead include cuddling, kissing, caressing Social Compensation: Driving  With age, sign reading takes longer, head turning is reduced, reaction time slows, and nigh vision worsens  The elderly compensate: many drive slowly or avoid night driving  As a result elderly people get in fewer accidents than do younger adults  Although drivers compensate, few societies do  If older adult causes a crash, age is blamed but not the family or the law Technological Compensation: The Senses  Every sense becomes slower and less sharp with each passing decade (touch, taste, smell, pain, sight, hearing) st  In the 21 century tons of manufactured devices can compensate for sensory loss Cognition  Ageism impairs elders minds  The fear of losing their minds is worse than the facts and makes compensation less likely The Aging Brain  New neurons form and dendrites grow in adulthood  The brain becomes less efficient as people grow older just like other parts (legs, heart etc.) Slower & Smaller 2  Senescene reduces production of nurotransmitters – glutamate, serotin and dopamine that allow nerve impulses to jump quickly across synaptic gap from 1 neuron to another  Results in overall brain slow down, evident in reaction time, moving, talking and thinking  Slowdown can be a severe brain drain on intellect because speed is crucial for many aspects of cognition  Deterioration correlates w/ slower walking as well as with almost every kind of physical disability  Brain ageing also evident in size- some areas shrink more than others (e.g hippocampus and prefrontal cortex) Variations in Brain Efficacy  Variability from person to person is obvious but the reasons aren’t  Higher education and vocational challenge correlate w/ less decline either because keeping the mind active is protective or because such people began late adulthood with more robust and flexible minds  Exercise, nutrition and normal blood pressure are powerful influences on brain health and all predict old age intelligence Using more of the brain  Older adults tend to use more parts of their brains including both hemispheres to solve problems as compared younger ages  This may be selective compensation: using only 1 brain region may be adequate so the older brain automatically activates more parts  Brain shrinkage interferes with multitasking Information Processing After Age 65 Input  Processing info requires that sensations precede perception but no sense is as sharp at age 65 as at age 15  Info must cross the sensory threshold, the divide between what’s sensed and what\s not in order to be perceived  Sensory losses may not be recognized because the brain automatically fills in missed sights and sounds  Acute hearing is also needed to detect nuances of emotion  Older adults are less able to despiser the emotional content in speech even when they hear the words correctly Memory  Second step of info processing is memory  If older people think their memory is failing, anxiety itself impairs memory  Some aspects of memory remain strong throughout late adulthood, including vocabulary while others don’t such as memory for names  One memory deficit is source amnesia forgetting the origin of a fact, idea, or snippet of a conversation  Working memory shrinks w/ age and speed is critical here Control Processes  Elderly tend to rely on prior knowledge, general principles, familiarity and rules of thumb I dec
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