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PSY 375 Late Adulthood and End of Life Paper

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Running Head: LATE ADULTHOOD AND END OF LIFE 1
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Late Adulthood and End of Life Paper
Name
PSY 375
February 6, 2011
Teacher

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Late Adulthood and End of Life
Late adulthood is a time in which individual’s begin to accept life as a whole and reflect
on this life in a positive manner as they near end of life. Late adulthood begins around age 65
and continues until death. As with any other stage of life, late adulthood has its own unique
characteristics and developments. Late adulthood is often seen as a time of physical and mental
decline; however, there are ways in which an individual can promote and maintain both physical
and mental health.
Society has created many stereotypes over the years, and late adulthood is no exception to
this common occurrence. When an individual is judged or stereotyped based solely upon age,
this is referred to as ageism (Berger, 2008). Unfortunately, ageism is quite prominent among the
elderly. Another significant factor in late adulthood is mortality. During late adulthood issues of
death and dying become much more evident as individuals begin to ponder their own transience.
While death is a universal concept, varying cultural influences also play a role in individual
outlooks on mortality. Late adulthood is essentially the final developmental stage in a human’s
life. In a sense, late adulthood is the closing chapter of life. In this paper the subject to be
examined includes factors that influence late adulthood as well as challenges that individual’s
may face as they progress through the final stage of life.
Health and Wellness
Older adults can maintain good health and wellness a number of ways. Every day choices
can be highly influential when it comes to the overall health of an older adult. In fact, it has been
found that lifestyle factors can be more significant than genetics in reference to aging (Johns
Hopkins, 1998). Choices made early in life can also play a role in health and wellness as one

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enters the stage of late adulthood. Exercise (physical and mental), nutrition, and stress reduction
are all common factors that play a role in health and wellness of older adults.
Physical exercise helps improve cardiovascular and respiratory functioning. It also
decreases the loss of muscle mass that older adults are vulnerable to as they age. Physical
activity is also a natural stress reliever, not only for older adults, but also for all age groups.
Proper nutrition and physical exercise are two key ingredients to maintaining good health.
Kurtus (2002, para.10) states, “memory enhancement and mental functioning are supported by
good diet, mental activity, and connectedness with other people.” A proper diet accompanied by
necessary vitamins and minerals is highly recommended for older adults. Water is also essential
to maintaining good health because it promotes proper organ functioning. Throughout all stages
of life stress can reduce immunity function and diminish health. This remains true for late
adulthood as well. Eliminating as much stress as possible can help improve immunity function
as well as promote healthy mental wellbeing (Kurtus, 2002).
Maintaining proper cognitive health and functioning is also imperative during late
adulthood. Many stereotypes have been created regarding the cognitive functioning of older
adults. To uphold cognitive function it is crucial for older adults to expose themselves to various
forms of mental stimulation. Puzzles, reading, writing, and games are all forms of mental
activities that can help an individual maintain cognitive functioning as they progress through late
adulthood. Social interaction is also a noteworthy method of maintaining good mental
functioning.
Ageism

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