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PSYC 3490 (60)
Chapter 2

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York University
PSYC 3490
Laurie Mc Nelles

Chapter Two: Physical Changes  Biological Theories of Aging 1. Rate of Living Theories - Reducing caloric intake lowers the rate of premature death, slows down a range of normative age-related changes and in some cases increases life span - Hormonal regulator systems adaptation to stress – the body’s ability to deal with stress goes through changes with age 2. Cellular Theories - Limited number of times cells can divide (Hayflick Limit) - Tips of chromosome (telomeres) is needed in DNA replication; they become shorter with each replication - Cross-linking – certain proteins in humans cells interact randomly and produce molecules that are linked in such a way as to make the body stiffer with age - Ageing caused by unstable molecules; Free radicals – highly reactive chemicals produced randomly in normal metabolism, causing cellular damage  Appearance and Mobility  Changes in Skin, Hair and Voice  Changes in Skin  Why does our skin wrinkle?  Four-step process: 1. Cell loss causes outer layer of skin to become thin (more fragile) 2. Collagen fibers that make up connective tissues lose flexibility 3. Elastin fibers in middle layer of skin lose ability to keep skin stretched out (sagging) 4. Layer of fat diminishes  Other skin changes  Pigment-containing cells decrease  Age spots, moles  Varicose veins  Changes in Hair Colour  Individual differences  Gender differences  Hair loss caused by destruction of germ centers that produce hair follicles  Greying caused by cessation of pigment production  Other hair changes  Males do not lose facial hair  Females gain facial hair  Caused by hormonal changes of the climacteric  Changes in Voice  Differences in young and old voices  Lowering in pitch  Increased breathlessness and trembling  Slower and less pronounced pronunciation  Decreased volume  Changes in Body Build  Differences in the way bodies look over time  Decrease in height and fluctuations in weight  Between mid-50s and mid-70s men lose about 1 inch and women 2 inches  Compression of the spine  Changes in posture  Weight gain then loss  Weight gain in middle age, weight loss in older age  Changes in Mobility  Muscles  Sarcopenia  No difference in the rate of muscle change between men and women  Bones  Loss begins in the late 30s, accelerates in the 50s, and slows in the 70s  Gender differences  Osteoporosis- leading cause of broken bones in older women  Joints  Osteoarthritis: disease marked by gradual onset and progression of pain and disability with minor signs of inflammation  Rheumatoid arthritis: more destructive disease of joints that develops solely and typically affects different joints and causes different types of pain  Psychological Implications  Gender differences – Compensation  Cosmetics  Hair dyes  Plastic surgery  Appearance vs. actual losses in strength and endurance   Exercise and resistance training is useful up to age 90  Adaptive behaviours  Pain in the joints may reduce mobility  Rehabilitation after hip fractures  Sensory Systems  Changes in Vision: 1. Structural changes in the eye  Occurs in the 40’s  Decrease in the amount of light that passes through the eye – meaning they need more light around them when engaging in tasks  Adaptation declines  As we grow older the lens become more yellow  Lens ability to adjust and focus declines – causes presbyopia: difficulty in seeing close objects clearly  Cataracts – abnormal structural changes which develop on lens which limits amount of light transmitted  Glaucoma – fluid in eye not drained properly; causing high pressure and cause internal damage and less vision 2. Retinal Changes  Macular degeneration  Diabetic retinopathy  Psychological effects of visual changes  Reading  TV watching  Grocery labels-cooking instructions  Driving a car  Corrective actions – Glasses (Presbyopia) – Surgery (cataracts)  Corrective environmental changes – Brighter lights – Larger type  Hearing  One of the most well-known normative changes with age  Damage due to loud environment  Presbycusis: reduced sensitivity to high-pitched ones  Four types of change – sensory, neutral, metabolic, mechanic  Social adjustment to hearing loss  Loss of indepe
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