Chapter 23 Late Adulthood: Biosocial DevelopmentPrejudice and PredictionsAgeismA prejudice in which people are categorized and judged solely on the basis of their chronological age.Considers people as part of a category and not as individuals, can target people of any age.
ElderspeakA condescending way of speaking to older adults that resembles baby talk, with short, simple sentences, exaggerated emphasis, repetition, and a slower rate and higher pitch than normal speech.
Believing the StereotypeThe Elderlys View of Ageism
Ageism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Stereotype threat can be as debilitating for the aged as for other groups.
Gerontology and GeriatricsGerontologyThe multidisciplinary study of old age.GeriatricsThe medical specialty devoted to aging.
The Demographic ShiftDemographic shiftA shift in the proportions of the population of various agesOnce there were 20 times more children than older people
CentenariansPeople whove lived 100 years or moreThe fastest-growing age group
The Demographic ShiftDemographic pyramidA graphic representation of population as a series of stacked bars in which each age cohort is represented by one bar, with the youngest cohort at the bottom.
The Demographic ShiftThree reasons for traditional pyramidal shape
Far more children were born than the replacement rateBefore modern sanitation and nutrition, many children died before age 5Middle-aged people rarely survived adult diseases like cancer and heart attacks
Fewer babies and more elders means countries demographic stacks become rectangles rather than triangles, as in Germany, Italy, and Japan.
Old, Older, and OldestYoung-old (70%)Healthy, vigorous, financially secure older adults (those aged 60 to 75) who are well integrated into the lives of their families and communities.Old-old (20%)Older adults (those aged 75 to 85) who suffer from physical, mental, or social deficits.Oldest-old (10%)Elderly adults (those over age 85) who are dependent on others for almost everything, requiring supportive services such as nursing-home care and hospital stays.
Primary and Secondary AgingPrimary agingThe universal and irreversible physical changes that occur to all living creatures as they grow older.Secondary agingThe specific physical illnesses or conditions that become more common with aging but result from poor health habits, genetic vulnerability, and other influences that vary from person to person.
High Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular DiseaseThe Cardiovascular Health Study Participants: More than 5,000 people over age 65 in the U.S. without coronary problems.Six years later, some participants had developed heart disease.The likelihood of CVD was strongly related to six risk factors (all more common with age):DiabetesSmokingAbdominal fatHigh blood pressureLack of exerciseHigh cholesterol
High Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular DiseaseCardiovascular diseaseDisease that involves the heart and the circulatory system
Facts about CVDCVD is considered secondary aging because not everyone develops it.No single factor (including age, hypertension, inactivity, and smoking) makes CVD inevitable.The links among aging, risk, and CVD are undeniable.A 90-year-old is 1,000 times more likely to die of CVD than is a 30-year-old, even if both have identical genes, social contexts, and health habitsLess than half those over age 65 have CVD, diabetes, or dementia but almost everyone has at least one of these three by age 90.Risk factors and diseases of the aged are not distributed randomly: If a person has one risk factor, it is likely that he or she has several.
Selective Optimization with CompensationIndividual Compensation: SleepOlder adults spend more time in bed, take longer to fall asleep, wake up more often, and feel drowsy in the daytime more often.
Social Compensation: DrivingOlder adults drive more slowly, may not drive at night or when there is bad weather and may give up driving altogether.
Compression of Morbidity
A shortening of the time a person spends ill or infirm before death; accomplished by postponing illness.Due to improvements in lifestyle, medicine, and technological aids.North Americans who live to be 95 are likely to be independent almost all of those years
The Effects of FallingWith age, bones become more porous, losing calcium and strength. This can lead to osteoporosis where bones can be broken easily.Most common liability elders experience from falling is fear so they reduced their activity which caused them to become sicker.
The SensesSenescence is pervasive and inevitable Obvious in appearance (skin gets wrinkled, bodies change shape) and the senses.Only 10% of people over age 65 see well without glasses.Taste, smell, touch, and hearing are also impaired (e.g., by age 90, the average man is almost deaf, as are about half of the women).
The SensesTechnology and Sensory Deficits: Technology can compensate for almost all sensory loss. Visual problems:Brighter lights and bifocals or two pairs of glasses are needed.Cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration can be avoided or mitigated if diagnosed early.Elaborate visual aids (canes that sense when an object is near, infrared lenses, service animals, computers that speak written words) allow even the legally blind to be independent.
The SensesAuditory problems:Small and sensitive hearing aids are available but many people still hesitate to get aids.Missing out on bits of conversation cuts down on communication and precipitates many other social losses.Younger people tend to yell or use elderspeak, both of which are demeaning.Elderly people are less vulnerable to stereotype threat if they have positive interactions with the younger generations.
The Society and Sensory LossA passive acceptance of sensory loss increases morbidity of all kinds.
Problems:It is often difficult to individualize available technology.Ageism is inherent in the design of everything from airplane seats to shoes.Many disabilities would disappear if the environment were better designed.
Theories of AgingWear and Tear A process by which the human body wears out due to the passage of time and exposure to stressors.
Genetic clockA mechanism in the DNA of cells that regulates the aging process by triggering hormonal changes and controlling cellular reproduction and repair.
How Long Can Humans Live?Maximums and AverageMaximum life spanThe oldest possible age to which members of a species can live, under ideal circumstances. For humans, that age is approximately 122 years.Average life expectancyThe number of years that the average person in a particular population is likely to live.In the U.S. today, average life expectancy at birth is about 75 years for men and 81 years for women.Dramatic variations from nation to nation
Cellular AgingOxygen free radicalsAtoms of oxygen that have an unpaired electron and which can, over time, cause cancer, diabetes, and arteriosclerosis
AntioxidantsChemical compounds that nullify the effects of oxygen free radicals by forming a bond with their unattached oxygen electron.
The Immune SystemB CellsImmune cells made in the bone marrow that create antibodies for isolating and destroying bacteria and viruses.
T CellsImmune cells made in the thymus gland that produce substances that attack infected cells in the body.
Replication No MoreHayflick limitThe number of times a human cell is capable of dividing into two new cellsTelomeresThe ends of chromosomes in the cellsTelomeraseEnzyme that increases the length of telomeresCalorie restrictionSlows down aging
The CentenariansLifestyles that promote old age:
Diet: little meat or fatWork: even the old do workFamily and community: well integrated into family and communityExercise and relaxation: most walk often, nap, and socialize