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Physical and Psychological Changes 2.

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Physical and Psychological Changes 2 Late adulthood is the period of life in every individual that follows the period of his or her life after he/she turns 60 years of age. This period is marked by the process of growing old, resulting in part from the failure of body cells to function normally or to produce new body cells to replace those that are dead or malfunctioning. This in turn results in significant physical, psychological, and cognitive changes, like cardio-vascular, digestive malfunctioning, depression, impaired memory functioning, and so on. In this article, we shall have a look at the major changes in these categories. Physical Changes In The late Adulthood: The physical changes that occur in the bodies of the individuals, in their late adulthood can be divided into two main categories- * External Changes * Internal Changes External Changes- These changes are the outward signs of aging, and are quiet obvious to notice. They consist of changes in hair, skin, posture etc. Hair- Most people's hair becomes distinctly gray and eventually turns white, and it may also thin out. Skin- The skin becomes less elastic, more wrinkled, dry, and thin. The wrinkles are formed partly because of loss of fatty tissue under the skin and partly due to loss Revised 7/21/04 Physical and Psychological Changes 3 of collagen, the protein that forms of body tissue (Bowers and Thomas, 1995; Medina 1996). ...read more.


The immune system also changes; the production of antibodies starts to decline. As a result, old people have less protection against microorganisms and diseases (La Rue & Jarvic, 1982). The Senses- The senses generally become less efficient as person grows old. The most serious deficits occur in vision and hearing. The rate of blindness and loss of visual acuity also increase sharply after the age of sixty. The ability to hear higher frequencies is particularly affected. These visual and hearing impairments have important effects on the individual, because perception and ability to communicate are hindered. The sense of smell and taste also declines with age. Both senses become less discriminating causing food to taste to smell and less appetizing than it did earlier. Psychological Changes In The Late Adulthood-- With the advancing age, along with several physical changes, there are also certain psychological changes occurring, in the older people. These changes are more of psychological problems or disorders. The problems like depression and anxiety are very common in adults of 65 years old and older. The following psychological changes are seen very commonly in old people: Cognitive Functioning- Biologically, as the human brain ages, there are structural loses in neurons and the Revised 7/21/04 Physical and Psychological Changes 6 connections between them. ...read more.


Biologically, the disease occurs when production and growth of neurons goes wrong, which in turn results in formation of large clumps of cells in the brain that trigger inflammation, and deterioration of nerve cells. The brain shrinks and several areas of frontal and temporal lobes sow deterioration. The symptoms of Alzheimer start with unusual forgetfulness, having trouble recalling particular words in the conversation. In the beginning the recent memories are affected and then older memories fade. Eventually, the sufferers of the disease are totally confused, unable to speak intelligibly, or to recognize even the close family members or friends. At the present time, there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease treatment. The treatment deals only with the symptoms. Other Psychological Problems There are several other psychological challenges faced by the older people, which include mood disorders, schizophrenia, etc. Though mood disorders are seen more commonly (4.4%), the percentage of old population suffering from schizophrenia is comparatively less (0.6%). Conclusion- The article presents an overview of the physical and psychological changes that occur Revised 7/21/04 Physical and Psychological Changes 9 inevitably in the late adulthood. It also gives us the picture of the challenges met by the older people, due to the above changes taking place in their bodies and minds. It shows how these physical and psychological changes, change the lifestyle and the quality of life, in the individuals who are growing old. ...read more.

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