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Chapter 18
PS3313

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CHAPTER 18

LATE ADULTHOOD

 

 

PSYCHOSOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

 

 

WHAT HAPPENS TO PERSONALITY IN OLD AGE?

 

A common belief is that personality becomes more rigid in old age.  However, most research reveal, that personality traits tend to remain stable in late adulthood.

 

 

ISSUES REGARDING WORK AND RETIREMENT?

(If you could hire and older or younger person, which would you hire, why)

 

Older workers are often more productive than younger workers.  Although they may work more slowly than younger people, they are more accurate.

 

Older workers tend to be more dependable, careful, responsible, and frugal with time and materials than younger workers; and their suggestions are more likely to be accepted (Forteza & Prieto, 1994; Warr, 1994).

 

 

After the age of 65, a few older people continue to work for pay, but the vast majority retired.  However, many retired people start new careers or do part-time paid or volunteer work.

 

WHAT PERCENT OF ELDERLY PEOPLE DO YOU THINK ARE POOR?

(LESS THAN $8,000 ANNUALLY)

 

The financial situation of older people has improved, but still about 30 percent can expect to live in poverty at some point.  Many, especially widows and the infirm, become poor for the first time after retirement.

 

 During the first few years after retirement, people may have a special need for emotional support to make them feel they are still valued and to cope with the changes in their lives.

 

LIVING ARRANGEMENTS

 

According to surveys, more than 80 percent of older adults say the want to remain living in their own homes. 

 

Aging in place makes sense for those who can manage on their own or with minimal help have an adequate income or a paid up mortgage, can handle the upkeep, and are happy in their neighborhood).

 

For some people, especially the old old, living alone can become a problem.  Three flights of stairs may be too much to manage.  A neighborhood may deteriorate, and helpless looking older people may become prey to young thugs.  Mental or physical disabilities may make living alone impractical. 

 

 

In 1997, 96 percent of American age 65 or older lived in the community, about one third of them alone and almost all the rest with a spouse or other family members (Kramarow, 1999).

Because women live longer than men and are more likely to be widowed, older women are at least twice as likely as older men to live alone.

 

LIVING WITH CHILDREN

 

Unlike older people in many African, Asian and Latin American societies, where the older adult is expected to live and be cared for in their children’s home, most older people in the United States, even those in difficult circumstances, do not wish to live with their children. (Why Do You Suppose American elderly feel this way?)

 

Reasons:

 

Don’t want to burden their children

Don’t want to give up their freedom

Don’t want to feel useless because of loss of independence.

Bored

Isolated from friends

Do not get along well with married spouse

 

Despite these reasons, many older Americans, with advancing age, do live with adult children.  The success of such an arrangement depends largely on the quality of the relationship that has existed in the past and on the ability of both generations to communicate fully and frankly.

 

LIVING IN INSTITUTIONS

 

Many older people do not want to live in institutions, and most family members do not want them to.  Older people often feel that placement in an institution is a sign of rejection; and children usually place their parents reluctantly, apologetically, and with great guilt.  Some, though, because of an older person’s needs or a family’s circumstance, such placement seems to be the only solution.

 

What are Some Alternative to Institutions:

 

Residential Facilities

Assisted Living Housing

Retirement Villages

 

MISTREATMENT OF THE ELDERLY

 

A middle aged women drives up to a hospital emergency room in a middle sized American city.  She lifts a frail, elderly woman (who appears somewhat confused) out of the car and into a wheelchair, wheels her into the emergency room, and quietly walks out and drives away, leaving no identification (Barnhart, 1992).

 

Granny dumping” is one form of elder abuse.  Each year an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 geriatric patients are abandoned in emergency rooms throughout the United States by caregivers who feel they have reached the end of their rope (Lund, 1993).

 

Mistreatment of the elderly may fall under any of four categories:

 

1. Physical Violence (intent to cause injury).

 

2. Psychological or emotional abuse (insults and threats of abandonment).

 

3. Material Exploitation (misappropriation of money and property).

 

4. Neglect = (intentional or unintentional failure to meet a dependent older person’s needs).

 

 

 

Studies in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain suggest that about 3 percent of older people are maltreated, and the number of reported cases appears to be rising (Lachs & Pillemer, 1995).  There may be 2 million victims in the United States each year according to one estimate (AARP, 1993).

 

 

 

ALL THE WHILE I THOUGH I WAS LEARNING HOW TO LIVE, I HAVE BEEN LEARNING HOW TO DIE.

                          Notebook of Leonardo da Vinci

 

 

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