Physical Development in Late Adulthood (65-death) Module 8.1 General Information Functional Ages-Description of a person based on their well-being Young old-Healthy and physically active Old old- some health problems, typical old person, still healthy. Oldest old- frail, need assisted living 1 in 8 Americans is over 65 Ageism Prejudice and discrimination directed at older people Suggests old people aren’t mentally stable Can occur as attitude towards older people or direct behaviors of prejudice Occurs most in modern US society Outward Signs of Aging Primary Aging- universal irreversible signs of aging, and deterioration Secondary Aging- Individual characteristics that happen because of lifestyle. (smoking, too much sun) Outward changes Gray and thinning hair Wrinkled skin Women viewed more negatively for looking old Internal Aging Osteoporosis now occurs 25% of women Brain becomes smaller and lighter Heart pumps less blood Respiratory system is less efficient Digestive system works slower Muscles decrease Lifestyle choices can slow down most of these changes Reaction Time Peripheral Slowing Hypothesis Nerves from spinal cord and brain to limbs becomes less efficient Generalized Slowing Hypothesis Processing is less efficient in all of the nervous system including the brain Longer reaction time leads to more accidents Changes in Senses - Vision Further reduces Driving at night may become difficult Cataracts: cloudy areas on the lens Age-related Macular Degeneration: area near the retina degenerates Changes in the Senses - Hearing 30% have some loss at 65-75 50% have some loss over 75 Hearing aids Can severely impact social life Can speed up cognitive decline Changes in Senses – Taste and Smell Decreases in both Food appears less appetizing Can lead to malnourishment Over salting to try to get taste may increase high blood pressure Health Problems – Physical Disorders ¾ die from heart disease, cancer, or stroke Immune system weakens, increases infections Arthritis- inflammation in the tissue around your joints High blood pressure Health Problems - Psychological Lower psychological disorders than young adults Major depression Dementia-a broad category that includes a loss in memory and other declines in mental functioning Because so broad other diseases fall under this category Health Problems – Psychological Alzheimer’s Disease A form of dementia Progressive loss of memory and confusion First sign is forgetfulness Late stages include loss of muscle control and speech Health Problems – Psychological Alzheimer’s Disease Cause: production of a specific protein in the brain malfunctions causing large cell masses that cause nerve cell deterioration Clear genetic contribution May be impacted by high blood pressure or diet No cure Some medications treat symptoms Sex in Late Adulthood In the US people remain sexually active into their 80’s and 90’s Impacted by physical and mental health as well as previous regular sexual activity Approaches to Aging Gerontology-the study of again in late adulthood Genetic Programming Theory Evidence: new cells in the lab will only successfully divide 50 times Wear and Tear Theory Evidence: oxygen free radicals are found to be related to some diseases of old age Life Expectancy Average age of death for members of a specific group Has increased likely due to better health and sanitation Oldest person lived to 122 Postponing Aging Have increased life span for worms and flies Ways to postpone in humans: Telomere therapy Unlocking longevity genes Reducing free radicals through antioxidants Restricting calories Replacing worn out organs Cognitive Development in Late Adulthood Module 8.2 Intelligence All cognitive abilities decline slightly by 67 Declines are minimal until 80’s Impacted by environment, culture, and individual differences Memory Memory loss is less in societies that value the elderly Episodic memory decreases more than semantic or implicit More difficult to remember things presented quickly and orally as well as unfamiliar topics Autobiographical Better for earlier years than more recent to some degree Ex. A 70yr old is more likely to remember what happened in their 20s rather than what happened 5yrs ago Memory Reasons for Decline Environmental: medications, less use of memory, less motivation Information processing: speed may decline, decline in ability to pay attention, less ability to inhibit irrelevant information Biological: result from brain and body deterioration Learning Still capable of learning Increases in late adults in college Episodic Memory Things that happened in your life Semantic Memory Facts Implicit Memory Like riding a bike. You Learn and its hard to forget.