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Late Adulthood and End of Life Paper

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    Berger (2008) state that late adulthood, which begins at age 65, is the final stage of the life span development process that culminates through the death of an individual. During the course of the twentieth century the notion of late adulthood changed significantly (Kowalski & Westen, 2009). The average person’s life expectancy increased probably by 30 years. This changed the proportion of North Americans over 65 years from 1900s one in 30 to a projection by the year 2040 that it will be one in five.

    This drastically changed the perceptions of late adulthood (Kowalski & Westen, 2009). For example, persons viewed adults in their late sixties a mere three decades prior as “old” (Kowalski & Westen, 2009). On the contrary, Kowalski and Westen (2009) indicates that in the present societies it is not surprising to see that persons 70 and older still active. In addition, during this phase, research suggests that most persons adjust to the difficulties involved in aging, such as the decline in cognitive functions, changing of social roles, and inevitably death plausibly (Guest, 2011).

    The changes in the statistics during late adulthood stage of the life span development process stems from factors, such as the promoting of health and wellness into late adulthood to mitigate the negative effects of aging. Analyzing ageism and stereotypes types associated with late adulthood. The exploration of the different views of death and dying at different the points in human development. Further, through examinations of various cultures’ attitudes toward death and dying. How individuals can promote health and wellness into late adulthood and mitigate the negative effects of aging.

    The resounding view is that throughout the course of the life span development healthy habits are necessary to promote health, wellness, and to mitigate the negative effects during each of the stages. Therefore, like the other stages, late adulthood has health habits specific to the stage, which can mitigate the negative effects of aging. Further, like the other stages the establishment and maintenance of healthy habits relies upon the choice of the individual and his or her social circumstance (Berger, 2008).

    Some of the health habits that relate to late adulthood phase of the life span development process are nutrition, exercise, and drug use. Nutrition During the late adulthood phase of life span development in attempts to promote health and wellness and mitigate the effects of aging proper nutrition is essential. As the human body ages it ability effectively to digest foods and absorb their nutrients declines. For example, for one to maintain a consistent weight during this stage his or her diet has to comprise of a smaller quantity of daily calories as opposed to earlier in his or her life.

    They should consume foods such as fruits, vegetables, cereals, and grains (Berger, 2008). However, they should ensure that they are not under eating, which can stem from factors such as depression, economic status, dental issues, or medical problems. In late adulthood many of the individuals various types of medications for health issues that they may develop during the course of time. These medications can affect the absorption of the nutrients from foods. For example, the daily use of aspirin by individuals with heart related issues can increase their need for vitamin C (Berger, 2008).

    Hence, the individuals would have to ensure that they carefully monitor their medications and diet so as to maintain a health diet and body. Exercise Later in one’s life, exercise as nutrition becomes more important than it was earlier in life. During this stage the mere task of walking can pose a problem for some individuals. The level of mobility for some can become limited because their muscles become rigid affecting their range of motion. Their flexibility, strength, and balance decrease, which is more noticeable in the legs.

    Their walking pace slows down, for some it becomes painful, and some even require a walker or cane to help them to ambulate. Further, for some of these individuals the inability to ambulate in manner in which they did during their younger years begin to affect their perception of themselves. Hence, they choose the stay indoors more or opt for a wheelchair. This can be a positive and negative change because it can help to prevent falls, but it can also become debilitating. Falls can become a serious issue during this phase during this time because they can cause permanent damages, such as head injuries.

    However, exercising can help to strengthen muscles, cause improvements in their cardiovascular system, respiration, and digestion. Drug Use Another factor important when promoting health and wellness is the issue of drug use. During the late adulthood phase just as any of the other phases, the smoking, and the use of alcohol can pose several health problems. At every age cigarette smoking ranks as a leading killer (Berger, 2008). However, in late adulthood every health issue relating to lung, cardiovascular system, and brain as a result of smoking. Smoking cessation can be beneficial to every smoker’s health regardless of their age.

    Unlike cigarette, the use of alcohol has gray areas as it relates to whether it is beneficial or harmful to the health of late adults. This is because some do not use it by personal choice, or moral regulation. On the other hand, some persons might choice to abuse its use. However, according to Berger (2008) its use in moderation by elders can be beneficial to their hearts and help those suffering from dementia. The use of prescription drugs is another gray area because it might be beneficial for the elders to take the legal drugs for their medical issues.

    However, they are often not concerned about their ability to become addicted to these drugs. They only focus on the relief that the drugs are offering them. Analyzing of Ageism and Stereotypes Associated with Late Adulthood. In every stage of development persons have stereotypes attached to various stages. The late adulthood stage has various stereotypes about what happen to individuals during this phase. Berger (2008) states that some of the stereotypes associated with the elderly is that they are not interested in sex, incompetent sexually, approaching senility or they are already there, old-fashioned, and inflexible.

    Hence, these stereotypes project them as lacking energy, fragile, submissive, dependent, irritable, and drained. These stereotypes, however, are very far from the truth about what occurs during the late adulthood stage. They stem from a form of prejudice referred to as ageism (Berger, 2008). Gerontologists define ageism as “A form of prejudice used to categorize and judge individual based on their chronological age only” (Berger, 2008, p. 615). The issue of ageism can promote patronizing treatment toward persons in the late adulthood stage and even foster discrimination.

    For example, people in the West unconsciously process information regarding the elderly in a negative manner (Kowalski & Westen, 2009). Explore different views of death and dying at different points in human development. In the exploration of the different views of death and dying from different points in human development Berger (2008) states that the meaning that one attaches to term “death” is dependent to some degree upon one’s maturation cognitively and individualized experience.

    Therefore, one’s view of death and dying during childhood would differ from the views of persons experiencing adolescence and emerging adulthood, adulthood, and late adulthood. The Views of Death During Childhood Berger (2008) mentions as young as two can understand the concept of death to some degree, which is obviously differs from persons older than them. Adults can be of the opinion that children do not grasp the concept because they do not express their emotions or feelings the same way as adults might express their emotions or feelings.

    However, adults should seek to be as honest and open as possible with children about the issue, whether it is the child is dying or someone that the child knows. They adults should also strive to be as supportive as they possibly can to children. This will most certainly help the children to cope with the different aspects of the death and dying process. The Views of Death and Dying during Adolescence and Adulthood Individuals in this stage of their stage of their lives tend to have a more carefree attitude toward death.

    They often view this stage as only the beginning of their lives, hence they fear death less, take risks, and seek adventure and thrill. Some of them are more likely to take their lives for granted. Hence, they die as a result of different kinds of accidents, gang related killings, etc. The Views of Death and dying during Adulthood and Late Adulthood As adulthood approaches the issue of death and dying becomes a reality. At this point in most persons’ lives, they have created attachments true marriage and other situation. They value these connections so dearly that they are afraid for them or the persons who formed the connections with to die.

    Most persons change their lives from one occupied with the seeking of thrills to one more simple and subtle. Most times, it is very difficult for them to accept the death of other more so their own. Persons in their late adulthood, on the other hand, do not fear death as much as those in there adulthood. Most often try to enjoy what their current experiences and try to prepare themselves mentally as much as possible stage of death and dying. They take steps, such as making peace with family members and friends, getting more involved in their religious faith, making provision for their family, etc.

    Examination of Various Cultures’ Attitudes toward Death and Dying Apart from the ways in which one views death and dying is viewed at the various development stages. Another, interesting to gain more insight into the issues of death and dying is through the attitudes of different cultures. Although various countries might have religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Native Indians, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam they are differences culturally. Buddhism The Buddhists in China view of death and dying is inevitable and a mere part of the circle of life.

    However, it is not end of a person he or she returns through rebirth, hence if someone is dying the person is not unhappy because he or she can look forward to the rebirth. However, if the person makes it into “nirvana,” the needs and reincarnation ceases. Hinduism Hinduism, views dying as a process of setting the person free of his or her ties to this world and making preparation for the next world. They are on the floor, surrounded by family, prayers offered, reciting of scriptures, and their water from the Gages River moisten their lips.

    Judaism For Jews, they do not place much emphasis on death or anything there after. However, they ensure that someone is always with the dying person. Further, when the person eventually succumbs there is mourning by family member for a week at home. There are also many visitors who try to be supportive by bring food and showing comfort. Christianity Depending upon a Christian’s faith or belief he or she might embrace death or fear it because they view death as the beginning of eternal life either in heaven or hell (Berger, 2008).

    Their customs differ depending upon the denomination. For most of the funerals occur with the person placed in coffin and a service that family and friends attend and express his or her grief. Islam Muslims view death as the affirmation of their faith. They view caring for someone dying as a holy cue of death and the promises that lay ahead in the afterlife. When some dies, they usually offer prayers, clean the body, and have a funeral at which they bear the coffin. Conclusion Adulthood is the final stage in the life span development process.

    One experiences this stage when he or she becomes the chronological age of 65 years. As the other stages of human development late adulthood there are health habits that can foster health and wellness and reduce the negative effects of aging. Further, every stage of development has their preconceptions or stereotypes that stem from “ageism. ” However, during the different stages of development there are varying views as it relates to death and dying. Also the views of death and dying are different culturally.

    Reference

    Berger, K. S. (2008). The developing person through the life span (7th ed.). New York: Worth Publishers. Kowalski, R. & Westen, D. (2009) Psychology (5th ed.) Danvers, MA: John Wiley & Sons. Guest, A. (2011). Taking sides: Clashing views in life-span development (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

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