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Mental health has an impact on physical health and vice versa. For example, older adults with physical health conditions such as heart disease have higher rates of depression than those who are healthy. Additionally, untreated depression in an older person with heart disease can negatively affect its outcome.

Physical changes due to aging (PSY)

Older adults are also vulnerable to elder abuse - including physical, verbal, psychological, financial and sexual abuse; abandonment; neglect; and serious losses of dignity and respect. Current evidence suggests that 1 in 6 older people experience elder abuse. Elder abuse can lead not only to physical injuries, but also to serious, sometimes long-lasting psychological consequences, including depression and anxiety.

Physical Development in Late Adulthood

Dementia is a syndrome, usually of a chronic or progressive nature, in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities. It mainly affects older people, although it is not a normal part of ageing. The total number of people with dementia is projected to increase to 82 million in and million in There are significant social and economic issues in terms of the direct costs of medical, social and informal care associated with dementia.

Moreover, physical, emotional and economic pressures can cause great stress to families and carers. Support is needed from the health, social, financial and legal systems for both people with dementia and their carers. Depression can cause great suffering and leads to impaired functioning in daily life. Depression is both underdiagnosed and undertreated in primary care settings. Symptoms are often overlooked and untreated because they co-occur with other problems encountered by older adults.


  • Chapter 13. Aging and the Elderly.
  • Biofuel crops!
  • The Political Economy of Trade Integration.
  • Age-Related Physiological Changes and Their Clinical Significance.

Older people with depressive symptoms have poorer functioning compared to those with chronic medical conditions such as lung disease, hypertension or diabetes. Depression also increases the perception of poor health, the utilization of health care services and costs. It is important to prepare health providers and societies to meet the specific needs of older populations, including:.

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The mental health of older adults can be improved through promoting Active and Healthy Ageing. Mental health-specific health promotion for older adults involves creating living conditions and environments that support wellbeing and allow people to lead a healthy life. Promoting mental health depends largely on strategies to ensure that older people have the necessary resources to meet their needs, such as:.


  • Author notes.
  • HOW TO COPE WITH THE AGING PROCESS.
  • Aging changes in the nervous system;
  • Aging: Late Adulthood;
  • Age-related physiological changes and their clinical significance.?

Hearing and vision—so sharp in our twenties—decline significantly; cataracts, or cloudy areas of the eyes that result in vision loss, are frequent. The other senses, such as taste, touch, and smell, are also less sensitive than they were in earlier years. The immune system is weakened, and many older people are more susceptible to illness, cancer, diabetes, and other ailments.

Cardiovascular and respiratory problems become more common in old age. Seniors also experience a decrease in physical mobility and a loss of balance, which can result in falls and injuries. The aging process generally results in changes and lower functioning in the brain, leading to problems like memory loss and decreased intellectual function. While a great deal of research has focused on diseases of aging, there are only a few informative studies on the molecular biology of the aging brain. Many molecular changes are due in part to a reduction in the size of the brain, as well as loss of brain plasticity.

Brain size and composition change along with brain function. Computed tomography CT studies have found that the cerebral ventricles expand as a function of age in a process known as ventriculomegaly. More recent MRI studies have reported age-related regional decreases in cerebral volume. The brain begins to lose neurons in later adult years; the loss of neurons within the cerebral cortex occurs at different rates, with some areas losing neurons more quickly than others.

The frontal lobe which is responsible for the integration of information, judgement, and reflective thought and corpus callosum tend to lose neurons faster than other areas, such as the temporal and occipital lobes. The cerebellum, which is responsible for balance and coordination, eventually loses about 25 percent of its neurons as well. Memory also degenerates with age, and older adults tend to have a harder time remembering and attending to information.

Procedural memory is memory for the performance of particular types of action; it guides the processes we perform and most frequently resides below the level of conscious awareness. In contrast, working memory is the system that actively holds multiple pieces of transitory information in the mind where they can be manipulated.

The reduced capacity of the working memory becomes evident when tasks are especially complex.

Human aging

Semantic memory is the memory of understanding things, of the meaning of things and events, and other concept-based knowledge. This type of memory underlies the conscious recollection of factual information and general knowledge about the world, and remains relatively stable throughout life. As an individual ages into late adulthood, psychological and cognitive changes can sometimes occur. A general decline in memory is very common, due to the decrease in speed of encoding, storage, and retrieval of information.

This can cause problems with short-term memory retention and with the ability to learn new information. In most cases, this absent-mindedness should be considered a natural part of growing older rather than a psychological or neurological disorder. Most of these disorders are slow and progressive; by the time a person shows signs of the disease, the changes in their brain have already been happening for a long time. There is no cure for dementia, but for people who suffer from these disorders and for their caregivers, many measures can be taken to improve their lives.

These can include education and support for the caregiver and daily exercise programs or cognitive or behavioral therapies for the person with the disorder. Growing older means confronting many psychological, emotional, and social issues that come with entering the last phase of life.

The problem

As people approach the end of life, changes occur and special challenges arise. As people age, they become more dependent on others. Many elderly people need assistance in meeting daily needs as they age, and over time they may become dependent on caregivers such as family members, relatives, friends, health professionals, or employees of senior housing or nursing care. Many older adults spend their later years in assisted living facilities or nursing homes, which can have social and emotional impacts on their well-being.

Chapter Aging and the Elderly – Introduction to Sociology – 2nd Canadian Edition

Older adults may struggle with feelings of guilt, shame, or depression because of their increased dependency, especially in societies where caring for the elderly is viewed as a burden. If an elderly person has to move away from friends, community, their home, or other familiar aspects of their life in order to enter a nursing home, they may experience isolation, depression, or loneliness.

Increased dependency can also put older adults at risk of elder abuse. This kind of abuse occurs when a caretaker intentionally deprives an older person of care or harms the person in their charge. The elderly may be subject to many different types of abuse, including physical, emotional, or psychological. Approximately one in ten older adults report being abused, and this number rises in the cases of dementia or physical limitations.

Some examples of devices are a medical alert and safety system, shower seat preventing the person from getting tired in the shower and falling , bed cane offering support to those with unsteadiness getting in and out of bed , and ADL cuff used with eating utensils for people with paralysis or hand weakness. Advances in this kind of technology offer increasing options for the elderly to continue functioning independently later into their lives. A central aspect of positive aging is believed to be social connectedness and social support. You might become more sensitive to glare and have trouble adapting to different levels of light.

Aging also can affect your eye's lens, causing clouded vision cataracts. Your hearing also might diminish. You might have difficulty hearing high frequencies or following a conversation in a crowded room. Your gums might pull back from your teeth. Certain medications, such as those that treat allergies, asthma, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, also can cause dry mouth.

As a result, your teeth and gums might become slightly more vulnerable to decay and infection. With age, your skin thins and becomes less elastic and more fragile, and fatty tissue just below the skin decreases. You might notice that you bruise more easily.