Late Adulthood

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Many psychologists define human life period starting from 65 years as late adulthood. In order to characterize the concepts of stability and change as they pertain to this period, it is essential to pay attention to the socio-cultural, physical, cognitive, and emotional aspects of the personality development. Paying attention to Erikson’s and other aging and engagement theories, and the latest research findings connected with life in the period of late adulthood, it is possible to state that the main changes during this time relate to the emotional level and are predetermined by the relations with close people and family members.

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There exist many factors, which influence the life of the representatives of late adulthood period. According to the analysis presented by Anna Oleszkovicz (2011), the sense of life quality in late adulthood is closely connected with the relations in the family circle. These researches have proven that the emotional closeness, mutual support, and living together with the close family strongly influence the psychosocial, subjective, and metaphysical spheres (Oleszkovicz 2011). In his theory, Erikson emphasized the role of reminiscences for the old people, which influence the assessment of the past life of individuals. Moreover, some reminiscences become a mean of searching for the common language with the younger generation considering their own experience. Consequently, it is important to highlight the role of the life review in the old age as influential for the individual’s adjustment to life conditions.

The activity theory refers to the physical changes in the late adult’s body. It states that all organs get weaker, and that is why those who want to be healthy should stay active. During the last decades, following such idea becomes more and more popular among the older people.                

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Disengagement theory refers to the emotional and social changes of the individuals. Their life space usually shrinks, and the individuality gets increased. Therefore, the late adults are separated from the others. Nevertheless, the attitude to the spouse and children, on the contrary, makes them closer to their families.

The continuity theory of aging offers another view on the late adulthood and states that adults should continue the activities that challenged and interested them earlier. Therefore, the main aim of a person appears to be an adjustment to the previous mode of life regarding the change they got with age. The other researches, which were held by Johnson (2005), have proved that though the genetic influence on the personal stability is important, the environmental circumstances during the lifespan bring more changes to the individuality. As a result, it is obvious that the changes in the individual can reflect the life events and their consequences over the time.

The individual differences are of great importance for life perception and satisfaction level of each person on all life stages. Life satisfaction in the old age is the most important component of successful aging. As it was mentioned above, the self-rating, according to the achievements, health, social status, and family relations, is very significant for the life perception. Therefore, it is essential to mark out the cognitive abilities, social engagement, religious beliefs, and career issues for the individuals. The cognitive decline, which happens very often in late adulthood, leads to reluctance to everything new. Therefore, it is necessary to engage in education in order to maintain the cognitive functioning. Another point, which is important for better well-being of an individual, is giving and receiving support from others. In case the old person has no relatives, social engagement becomes of high importance. The career issues, which were of high priority on the earlier stages of life, usually lose their importance in late adulthood, and only the achievements and social acquaintances become the reminiscences of the individuals. Religious beliefs become stronger, because late adulthood is the period of death realization.

To sum up, it is necessary to emphasize that during the late adulthood period the priorities of the individuals differ from those in youth. The career issues become of low priority in late adulthood as it is the period when people retire. On the other hand, the family relations are of the biggest importance. It is the time of life assessment, when a person aims to feel satisfied and tranquil rather than search for something new. 

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