Lifespan Development – Chapter 18

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Definition: Activity Theory
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A social theory of aging that states that declining rates of interaction in late adulthood reflect social barriers to engagement, not the desire of elders. Older people will try to preserve life satisfaction by finding roles that allow them to remain about as active and busy as they were in the middle age. Distinguished from disengagement theory, continuity theory, and socioemotional selectivity theory.
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Definition: Affect of Optimization
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The ability to maximize positive emotion and dampen negative emotion. An emotional strength of late adulthood.
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Definition: Aging in Place
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In late adulthood, remaining in a familiar setting where one has control over one’s every day life.
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Definition: Congregate Housing
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Housing for the elderly that provides a vierty of support services, including meals in a common dining toom, along with watchful oversight of elders with physical and mental disabilities.
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Definition: Continuity Theory
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A social theory of aging that states that most aging adults in their choice of everyday activities and social relationships, strive to maintain a personal system – an identity and a set of personality dispositions, interests, roles and skills – that promotes life satisfaction by ensuring consistency between their past and anticipated future. Distinguished from disengagement theory, activity theory, and socioemotional selectivity theory.
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Definition: Dependency Support Script
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A typical pattern of interaction in which caregivers attend to elders’ dependent behaviors immediately, thereby reinforcing those behaviors. Distinguished from independence-ignore script
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Definition: Disengagement Theory
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A social theory of aging that states that declines in social interaction in late adulthood are due to mutual withdrawal between elders and society in anticipation of death. Distinguished from activity theory, continuity theory, and socioemotional theory
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Definition: Ego Integrity vs Despair
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In Erikson’s theory, the psychological conflict of late adulthood, which is resolved positively when elders come to terms with their lives and feel whole, complete, and satisfied with their achievements, recognizing that the paths the followed, abandoned, or never selected were necessary for fashioning a meaningful life course.
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Definition: Gerotranscendence
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According to Joan Erikson, a psychosocial stage characterizing the very old and representing development beyond ego integrity. Involves a cosmic, transcendent perspective directed forward and outward.
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Definition: Independence-ignore script
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A typical pattern of interaction in which elders’ independent behaviors are mostly ignored and as a result, occur less often. Distinguished from dependency-support script.
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Definition: Life-care communities
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Housing for the elderly that offers a range of alternatives, from independent to congregate housing to full nursing home care, guaranteeing that elders’ needs will be met within the same facility as they age.
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Definition: Optimal Aging
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Aging in which gains are maximized ans losses minimized
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Definition: Reminiscence
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The process of telling stories about people and events from the past and reporting associated thoughts and feelings
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Definition: Secondary Friends
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People who are not intimates but with whom an individual spends time occasionally, such as a group that meets for lunch, bridge, or museum tours.
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Definition: Social Convoy
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A model of age-related change in social networks, which views the individual as moving through life within a cluster of relationships. Close ties are in the inner circle, less close ties on the outside. With age, people change places in the convoy, new ties are added and some are lost entirely.
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Definition: Socioemotional Selectivity Theory
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A social theory of aging that state that social interaction in late adulthood extend lifelong selection processes. According to this view, physical and psychological aspects of aging lead to an increased emphasis on the emotion-regulating function of social interaction. Consequently, older adults prefer familiar social partners with whom they have developed pleasurable relationships. Distinguished from disengagement theory, activity,theory, and continuity theory.
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Definition: Third Age
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A new phase of late adulthood extending from ages 65 to 79 or longer, resulting from added years of longevity plus good health and financial stability, in which older adults pursue personally enriching interests and goals.
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Erikson’s Theory: Ego Integrity versus Despair
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1. Ego Integrity -feel whole, complete, satisfied with achievements -serenity and contentment -associated with psychosocial maturity 2. Despair -feel many decisions were wrong, but now time is too -short -bitter and unaccepting of coming death -expressed as anger, contempt for others
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Peck: Three Tasks of Ego Integrity
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1. Ego differentiation versus work-role preoccupation 2. Body transcendence versus body preoccupation 3. Ego transcendence versus ego preoccupation
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Gerotranscendence
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Beyond ego integrity Cosmic, transcendent perspective Directed beyond self: forward and outward Heightened inner calm Quiet reflection
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Emotional Expertise
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-Cognitive-affective complexity declines for many -Affect optimization improves maximize positive emotions, dampen negative ones -More vivid emotional perceptions make sure of own emotions use emotion-centered coping
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Reminiscence
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-telling stories about people, events, thoughts, and feelings from past self-focused: can deepen despair other-focused: solidifies relationships knowledge-based: helps solve problems
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Life Review
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considers the meaning of past experiences a form of reminiscence for greater self-understanding can help adjustment
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Personality inLate Adulthood
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1. Secure, multifaceted self-concept -Allows self-confidence -Continue to pursue possible selves 2. Shifts in some characteristics -More agreeable -Less sociable -Greater acceptance of change Resilience promotes adaptive functioning
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The New Old Age
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1. Third Age -ages 65 to 79 and beyond -marked by personal fulfillment, self-realization -high life satisfaction -need more opportunities U.S. Serve America Act 2. Fourth Age -physical decline -need for care
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Spirituality and Religionin Late Adulthood
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-About three-fourths of U.S. elders say religion is \”very important.\” -Over half attend services weekly. -Many become more religious/spiritual with age. not all: about one-fourth get less religious cultural, SES, gender differences -Physical, psychological benefits social engagement spiritual beliefs themselves
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Factors in Psychological Well-Being
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-Control versus dependency -Health poor health, depression linked suicide risk -Negative life changes -Social support, interaction
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Control and Dependency in Late Adulthood
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-Dependency-support script attend immediately to dependent behaviors -Independence-ignore script ignore independent behaviors -Scripts work together both reinforce dependency make social contact less pleasant
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Depression and Suicide
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-Physical illness, disability strong risk factors perceived negative physical health higher SES has stronger impairment-depression relationship -Mental and physical health challenges related mental health often more debilitating -Suicide rate highest over age 75 caregivers must provide autonomy when possible need for increase in mental health-care options
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Life Changes and Social Support
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-Elders: high risk for negative life changes multiple life changes test coping skills women more at risk -Positive social support increases physical and mental well-being. religion informal (family, friends) formal (paid workers, agencies) elders must select domains of control best type affirms self-worth, belonging
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Social Theories of Aging
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-Disengagement theory: mutual withdrawal of elders and society -Activity theory: social barriers cause declining interaction -Continuity theory: strive to maintain consistency between past and future -Socioemotional selectivity theory: social networks become more selective with age; extends lifelong process; emphasize emotion-regulating functions of social contact
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Age-Related Changes in Number of Social Partners
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In interviews with over 500 elders ranging in age from 69 to 104, the number of \”not close\” and \”less close\” partners fell off steeply with age, whereas the number of \”close and \”very close\” partners declined minimally
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Social Contexts of Aging
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-Communities majority live in suburbs – higher income minorities in cities – better transportation, social services few small town, rural – far from children; interact with neighbors, friends -Neighborhoods prefer other seniors -Housing prefer aging in place
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Housing Arrangements in Late Adulthood
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-Ordinary homes own home – preferred and most control with family number living alone increasing -Residential communities congregate housing life-care communities -Nursing homes restricts autonomy, social integration Green House model better
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Marriage in Late Adulthood
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-Satisfaction peaks in late adulthood. fewer stressful responsibilities fairness in household tasks joint leisure emotional understanding, regulation -If dissatisfied, harder for women
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Long-Term Gay and Lesbian Partnerships
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-Most happy, highly fulfilling healthier, happier than singles -Coping with oppression may strengthen skill at coping with physical aging -Face legal, health-care issues
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Divorce, Remarriage, Cohabitation
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1. Divorce – few divorces in late adulthood, but increasing hard to recover, especially women 2. Remarriage – rates low; decline with age higher for divorced than widowed late remarriage stable 3. Cohabitation – growing trend financial and family reasons relationships stable
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Widowhood
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-Most stressful event of life for many one-third of elderly significantly more women than men -Few remarry; most live alone must cope with loneliness -Reorganizing life harder for men more likely to remarry
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Possible Sources of Support for the Widowed
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Family Friends Senior centers Support groups Religious activities Volunteer activities
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Never-Married, Childless Older Adults
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-About 5% of Americans -Develop alternative meaningful relationships youths friends relatives -Men more likely to be lonely
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Changes in Aid Among Siblings
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In a large, nationally representative American survey, adults reported a rise in sibling aid in early adulthood, a decline during middle adulthood, and then a rise after age 70 for siblings living near one another (within 25 miles). In late life, siblings seem to be an important \”insurance policy\” when help is not available from a spouse or child.
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Friendships in Late Adulthood
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-Friends provide: intimacy companionship acceptance link to community help with loss -Feel closest to a few nearby friends -Choose friends similar to self -Sex differences continue
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Relationships with Adult Children
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1. Quality of relationship affects elders’ physical, mental health 2. Assist each other -Direction changes toward children helping as parents age. -Closeness affects willingness to help. -Emotional support most often: Parents try to avoid dependency. 3. Sex differences -Mother-daughter ties often closest
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Elder Maltreatment
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Physical abuse Physical neglect Emotional abuse Sexual abuse Financial abuse
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Risk Factors for Elder Maltreatment
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Dependent victim Dependent perpetrator (emotionally or financially) Psychological disturbance, stress of perpetrator History of family violence Low-quality nursing homes
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Deciding to Retire
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adequate retirement benefits compelling leisure interests low work commitment declining health spouse retiring routine, boring job
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Deciding to keep working
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limited or no benefits few leisure interests high work commitment good health spouse working flexible work schedule pleasant, stimulating work
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Adjusting to Retirement
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-Most people adapt well. Up to 30% report some adjustment difficulties. -Factors in adjustment financial worries workplace factors spouse influence sense of personal control social support
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Leisure Activities
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-Interests continue from earlier in life. choose personally gratifying pursuits frequency and variety drop with age -Involvement in rewarding leisure linked to better health, reduced mortality self-expression new achievements helping others social interactions
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Optimal Aging
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\”Minimize losses, maximize gains\” -Focus less on outcomes, more on processes and reaching personal goals -Some factors controllable, others not -Social policies can help

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