Textbook Notes - Chapter 17

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Department
Family Relations and Human Development
Course Code
FRHD 1010
Professor
Triciavan Rhijn

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Chapter 17: Late Adulthood – Physical and Cognitive Development Did you know: 1. Canadians have a higher life expectancy than our neighbours in the USA. a. The difference is likely due largely to the differences in our health care system. 2. In historical times, aging was viewed so positively that men often claimed to be older than they actually were. a. Maturity was considered a mark of prestige but asking job applicants their age is illegal in Canada. 3. Age-related sexual changes occur more gradually for men. a. Unlike many women’s changes, which are related to menopause, men’s changes are not clearly related to one biological event. 4. Most older adults remain living independently. a. More than 2 out of 3 adults over the age of 65 live in their own homes. 5. Medication issues are common in old age. a. Medication issues can be confused for signs of aging L01: Discuss physical development in late adulthood Physical development: In 1900, only 1 person in 25 was over the age of 65. Today, that figure has more than tripled, to 1 in 8 of us. By mid-century, more than 1 in 5 North Americans will be 65 or older. By 2050, we expect the percentage of North Americans over the age of 75 will have doubled. To put these numbers in historical context, consider that through virtually all of human history, until the beginning of the 19 century, only a small fraction of humans lived to the age of 50. Longevity and life expectancy • Life span or longevity – length of time one can live under the best circumstances; depends on genetics and environment; people can live to 115. • Life expectancy – number of years a person in a given population group can expect to live o European American 100 years ago born in USA – 47 years o African American – 35.5 years • Life expectancy in the past – german measles, smallpox, diphtheria – controlled/eradicated now; water supplies, diet, health care • Longevity gap between genders is narrowing; gap exists because women have estrogen that offers some protection against heart disease; men likely to die of accidents, cirrhosis, strokes, homicide, suicide, AIDS, cancer – more unhealthy living • Men are more reluctant o visit doctors and talk about health concerns Canada 1920-1922: Males – 59; Females – 61 Canada 1930-1932: M60; F62 Canada 1940-1942: M63; F66 Canada 1950-1952: M66; F71 Canada 1960-1962: M68; F74 Canada 1970-1972: M69; F76 Canada 1980-1982: M72; F79 Canada 1990-1992: M75; F81 Canada 2000-2002: M77; F82 2005-2007 NF: M78; F83 2005-2007 PEI: M76; F81 2005-2007 NS: M77; F82 2005-2007 NB: M77; F83 2005-2007 QC: M78; F83 2005-2007 ON: M79; F83 2005-2007 MB: M77; F82 2005-2007 SK: M77; F82 2005-2007 AB: M78; F83 2005-2007 BC: M79; F84 Physical and social changes • Physical peak in our 20s, biological functions begin to decline • Newbies are now old guard; newlyweds now celebrating silver/golden anniversary • Aging can bring greater harmony and integration in our personalities; need to learn to adapt to changes in mental skills and abilities • Mature people used to hold greater prestige • Ageism – prejudice against people because of their age • Changes in Sensory Functioning o Vision: lenses of the eyes become brittle beginning in mid-age. Cataracts: cloud lenses of the eye; glaucoma leads to tunnel vision/blindness o Hearing: presbycusis – age-related hearing loss o Taste and smell become less acute o Bone Density – begin to lose density in mid-adulthood; osteoporosis disorder where bones lose so much calcium that they are prone to breakage; shorten, deform posture, men and women are at risk; men have larger bone mass Sleep • Need about 7 hours of sleep per night • Disorders: insomnia, sleep apnea – stop breathing during the night, causes one to waken, can be more than a sleep problem, linked to heart attacks and stroke • Sleep problems symptomize psychological disorders – depression, anxiety, dementia • Men with enlarged prostate glands need to urinate more causing one to waken • Other causes of lack of sleep – loneliness • Medications can help with insomnia; keeping regular sleep schedule, calming worries, relaxation techniques, breathing, surgery for sleep apnea or nose mask Sexuality • Sexual daydreaming, sex drive and sexual activity tend to decline with age, but sexual satisfaction may remain high • Sexual activity influenced by physical and psychological well-being, feelings of intimacy and cultural expectations • Changes in women: decline in estrogen production; vaginal walls lose elasticity and grow paler and thinner; sex may be irritating; thinning walls may place pressure on bladder and urethra during sex leading to urinary urgency or burning sensation; vagina shrinks, labia majora lose fatty deposits and become thinner; vaginal opening constricts and penile entry may become difficult; produce less lubrication; nipples still erect; orgasm less though uterine contractions during orgasm may become discouragingy painful for some older women • Changes in men: teen males can get an erection in seconds, after age 50, takes longer, erections can be less firm because of lowered testosterone levels; sperm production declines; less ejaculate, contractions of orgasm become weaker and fewer • Patterns of sexual activity: years of sexual experience may more than compensate for any lessening of physical response; frequency declines because of hormonal changes, physical problems, boredom, cultural changes; sexuality among older people viable; some lose interest; couples adapt to physical changes and broaden sexual repertoire to include more diverse forms of stimulation L02: Compare programmed and cellular damage theories of aging Theories of Aging: So far, everyone who has lived has aged – which may not be a bad fate, considering the alternative. Programmed theories of aging • Aging and longevity determined by biological clock that ticks at a rate governed by genes • Cellular Clock Theory: focuses on the built-in limits of cell division; telomeres are the protective segments of DNA at the tips of chromosomes which shrink each time cells divide • Hormonal stress theory: focuses on endocrine system which releases hormones into bloodstream; foster puberty and menopause; programmed by genes • Immunological Theory: immune system preset to decline by internal biological clock Cellular damage theories of aging Programmed theories assume that internal bodily processes are preset to age by genes. Cellular damage theories propose that internal bodily changes and external environmental assaults cause cells and organ systems to malfunction, leading to death. • Wear and tear: as we age, organs and ells are less capable of repairing themselves • Free-radical theory: attributes aging to damage caused by accumulation of unstable molecules called free radicals which are produced during metabolism and oxidation, possibly damaging cell proteins, membranes and DNA, disarmed by nutrients and enzymes called antioxidants • Cross-linking theory: cell proteins bind to one another, toughening tissues; stiffens collagen – results in coarse dry skin; stiffening of body proteins accelerates and eventually breaks down bodily processes L03: Identify common health concerns associated with late adulthood Health concerns and aging: Though aging takes a toll on our bodies, many gerontologists believe that disease is not inevitable. They distinguish between normal aging and pathological aging. In normal aging, physiological processes decline slowly with age and the person is able to enjoy many years of health and vitality into late adulthood. In pathological aging, chronic diseases or degenerative processes, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, lead to disability or premature death. Older persons typically need more health care than younger persons. Though people over the age of 65 make up about 12% of the population, thestoccupy 25% of the hospital beds. As the numbers of older people increase in the 21 century, so wll the cost of health care. Maintaining a strong and cost-efficient health care system remains a key political priority for most Canadians. • More than 2 out of 3 adul
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