Ch. 15 Invitation to Lifespan

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Theory of Late Adulthood
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Development is more diverse in late adulthood than at any other age.
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Theory of Late Adulthood
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Some elderly people run marathons and lead nations, while others are no longer able to move or think.
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Theory of Late Adulthood
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Many social scientists have tried to understand these variations as well as the general course of old age.
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Self Theories
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Theories of late adulthood that emphasize the core self, or the search to maintain one’s integrity and identity.
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Integrity vs Despair
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The final stage of Erik Erikson’s developmental sequence, in which older adults seek to integrate their unique experiences with their vision of community. -Self-perception normally tilts toward integrity rather than despair.
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Continuity Theory
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The theory that each person experiences the changes of late adulthood and behaves toward others in a way that is consistent with his or her behavior in earlier periods of life. -In this perspective, each innovation is a new expression of the old self. -One source of continuity is temperament. -The Big Five personality traits (see Chapter 13) are maintained throughout old age as in younger years.
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Positivity Effect
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-The tendency for elderly people to perceive, prefer, and remember positive images and experiences more than negative ones. -Selective memory is a way to compensate for whatever troubles occur. -Unpleasant experiences are reinterpreted as inconsequential.
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Stratification Theories
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Theories that emphasize that social forces, particularly those related to a person’s social stratum, or social category, limit individual choices and affect a person’s ability to function in late adulthood as past stratification continues to limit life in various ways.
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Stratification by age
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-Industrialized nations segregate elderly people, gradually shunting them out of the mainstream of society as they grow older. -Segregation by age harms everyone because it creates socialization deficits for members of all age groups.
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disengagement theory
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The view that aging makes a person’s social sphere increasingly narrow, resulting in role relinquishment, withdrawal, and passivity.
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activity theory
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The view that elderly people want and need to remain active in a variety of social spheres—with relatives, friends, and community groups—and become withdrawn only unwillingly, as a result of ageism.
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Work
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-The activities of older people are intense and varied. -The psychological benefits of work can be obtained through volunteer work. -Work provides social support and status, boosting self-esteem. -For many people, employment allows generativity.
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Home Sweet Home
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-One of the favorite activities of many retirees is caring for their own homes. -In keeping up with household tasks and maintaining their property, many older people demonstrate that they prefer to age in place. -They want to stay in the same dwelling where they lived as younger adults, adjusting but not leaving when health fades.
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Naturally Occurring Retirement Community
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-A neighborhood or apartment complex whose population is mostly retired people who moved to the location as younger adults and never left. -An important reason for both aging in place and NORCs is the social convoy, the result of years of close relationships.
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Continuing Education
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-About one out of five U.S. adults age 66 and older was enrolled in some kind of ______ ________ in 2005. -Most elderly students are motivated primarily by a desire for personal or social improvement. -In some ways, late adulthood is an ideal time for learning.
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Religious Involvement
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-Older adults are less likely to attend religious services than are the middle-aged. -But, faith increases with age, as do praying and other religious practices. -Religious institutions fulfill many needs, and a nearby house of worship is one reason American elders prefer to age in place.
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Political Activism
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-Fewer older people turn out for massive rallies and only about 2 percent volunteer in political campaigns. -More older people write letters to their elected representatives, vote, and identify with a political party. -Many government policies affect the elderly, especially those regarding housing, pensions, prescription drugs, and medical costs.
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Long Term Partnerships
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-Spouses buffer each other against the problems of old age, thus extending life. -Married older adults are healthier, wealthier, and happier than unmarried people their age.
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Shared Laughter
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-One characteristic of long-married couples is that they often mirror each other’s moods. -Thanks to the positivity effect, the mood is often one of joy.
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Impact of retirement
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In addition to relinquishing the work role, retirees must usually adjust the marriage interaction, now that they will be spending more time at home with their spouse. This increased interaction sometimes precipitates relationship conflicts.
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Death of Spouse
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-Another common event that long-married older adults must face is the ____ of ____ -Adjustment to being widowed is especially difficult during the first two years after the death. -Because women tend to marry older men, the average married woman experiences 4 to 10 years of widowhood and the average man, none.
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Relationships with Younger Generations
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-In past centuries, most adults died before their grandchildren were born. -Today, some families span five generations. -Beanpole family +multiple generations but only a few members in each one
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Filial Responsibility
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-The obligation of adult children to care for their aging parents. -A major goal among adults in the United States is to be self-sufficient. -Adult children may be more willing to offer support than their parents are to receive it.
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Grandchildren
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-Most (85 percent) elders over age 65 are _____parents -Factors influencing the nature of the grandparent-grandchild relationship: -personality -ethnicity -national background -past family interactions -age and the personality of the child
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Remote
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(sometimes called distant grandparents) are emotionally distant from their grandchildren.
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Companionate
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(sometimes called \”fun-loving\” grandparents) entertain and \”spoil\” their grandchildren.
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Involved
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are active in the day-to-day lives of their grandchildren.
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Surrogate
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raise their grandchildren, usually because the parents are unable or unwilling to do so.
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Friends
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-Many middle-aged adults, married and unmarried, have no children. -Elderly people who have spent a lifetime without a spouse usually have friendships, activities, and social connections. -All the research finds that older adults need at least one close companion.
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Frail Elderly
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-People over age 65, and often over age 85, who are physically infirm, very ill, or cognitively disabled. -Most older adults become frail if they live long enough. -Frailty is most common in the months preceding death.
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Activities
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Actions that are important to independent living, typically identified as five tasks of self-care: eating bathing, toileting dressing transferring from a bed to a chair Inability to perform any of these tasks is a sign of frailty.
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Instrumental Activities of Daily Life
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-Actions (for example, paying bills and driving a car) that are important to independent living and that require some intellectual competence and forethought. -The ability to perform these tasks may be even more critical to self-sufficiency than ADL ability.
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CAring for the frail elderly
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Family caregivers experience substantial stress. Their health may suffer, and their risk of depression increases, especially if the care receiver has dementia. In the United States, the spouse is the usual caregiver.
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Assisted Living
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-A living arrangement for elderly people that combines privacy and independence with medical supervision. -Assisted-living facilities range from group homes for three or four elderly people to large apartment or townhouse developments for hundreds of residents.

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