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Physical and Cognitive Development in Middle Adulthood

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Ian Yarbrough

on 14 April 2014

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Transcript of Physical and Cognitive Development in Middle Adulthood

Changing Midlife
Many of today's 50-year-olds are in better shape, more alert, and more productive than their 40-year-old counterparts from a generation or two earlier
Questions such as, "To what age group do you belong?" and "How old do you feel?" reflect the concept of age identity
In 1900 the average life expectancy was 47 years old. Today, the average life expectancy is 78
Life-span developmentalists are beginning to give more attention to the middle-age period
Height and weight
From 30-50 years of age, men lose a 1/2 inch in height.
Women can lose up to 2 inches between 25-75 years of age.
Obesity increases from early to middle adulthood.
38% of US adults 40-59 are obese.
Body fat now makes up 20% or more of a persons body weight.
Cardiovascular System
Cholesterol levels rise leading to cardiovascular disease increasing in middle age
High blood pressure occurs in the 40's and 50's
Exercise, weight control, and a healthy diet can help prevent some cardiovascular problems.
Metabolic syndrome-a condition characterized by hypertension, obesity, and insulin resistance.
This often leads to the development of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Physical Development
Visible Signs
Strength, Joints, and Bones
Sarcopenia-age related loss if muscle mass and strength.
Muscle loss with age occurs at a rate if approximately 1-2% per year of the age of 50.
After your mid 30's there is a progressive loss of bone.
Women lose bone mass about twice as quickly as men.
Plastic Surgery
Youthful appearances are valued in our culture.
Undergoing cosmetic surgery, dying hair, working out, diets, and teeth whitening are common in middle adulthood.
Many baby boomers have shown strong interest in plastic surgery and Botox.
Physical and Cognitive Development in Middle Adulthood
Group 6: Ian, Malyse, Julia, and Amanda
Nature of Middle Adulthood
Wrinkles and sagging skin
Age spots
Thinning and graying hair
Lost height
Weight gain
Cognitive Development
Intelligence
Crystallized intelligence
individual's accumulated info and verbal skills
Fluid Intelligence
one's ability to reason abstractly
According to John Horn
Crystallized Intelligence increases in middle adulthood
fluid intelligence declines in middle adulthood
all data collected by Horn was done cross- sectionally which may have had cohorts effect
The Seattle Longitudinal Study
Done by K Warner Schaie
Focuses on individual change and stability of intelligence
Mental abilities tested include verbal comprehension, verbal memory, numeric ability, spatial orientation, inductive reasoning, perceptual speed
The study showed crystallized and fluid intelligence peaked in middle adulthood
Decline for most cognitive abilities begins in 60's
Overall, Schaie argues that during middle adulthood people peak for for cognitive functioning for many intellectual skills.
Information Processing
Speed of information processing
declines in early adulthood
reaction-time task- individuals press a button as soon as they see a light appear
middle age adults are slower, not by a lot
Memory
most researchers conclude that memory declines in late middle age
Denise Park says starting in middle age more time in needed to learn new info- linked to changes in working memory( this is where individuals manipulate and assemble info when making decisions, sloving problems, and comprehending written and spoken language)
memory decline is more likely to occur if you don't use effective memory strategies
Expertise
involves having extensive, highly organized knowledge and understanding of a particular domain
Vision and Hearing
The ability to focus and maintain an image on the retina declines sharply between 40-59 years of age.
Laser surgery and implantation of intraocular lenses is the new routine procedure for correcting vision.
Hearing can start declining at 40 years old.
Men usually lose their sensitivity to high-pitched sounds sooner than women.
Hearing aids are dramatically improving hearing however.
Lungs
There is little change in capacity through middle adulthood
At 55 years of age, the proteins in lung tissue become less elastic
This combined with the stiffening of connective tissues in the chest wall decreases the lungs capacity to shuttle oxygen from the air people breathe to the blood in their veins.
Sleep
The number of hours a person sleeps is about the same, but beginning in their 40's, wakeful periods are more frequent.
Less of the deepest sleep cycle.
Sleep-disordered breathing and restless leg syndrome become more prevalent.
A recent study found that middle-age adults who sleep less than 6 hours a night had an increased risk of developing stroke symptoms.
Health and Disease
Stress is increasingly being found to be a factor in disease
Chronic stress can interfere with immune system functioning as well as cardiovascular factors
Stress and negative emotions can affect the development and course of cardiovascular disease by altering underlying physiological processes
Mortality Rates
Infectious disease was the main cause of death in the 20th century, now chronic diseases is the lead cause.
Many deaths are caused by a single, readily identifiable condition
More and more people are dying to cancer between 45-64 years of age, rather than heart disease
Sexuality and Menopause
Climacteric-term used to describe the middle transition in which fertility declines
Menopause-the time in middle age, late 40's or early 50's, when a woman's period cease completely.
The average age for a woman to have her last period is 51
Estrogen decreases causing symptoms: "hot flashes," nausea, fatigue, and rapid heartbeat
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) augments the declining levels of reproductive hormone production by the ovaries
Is there a male menopause?
In middle adulthood, most men do not lose the capacity to father children
Testosterone production begins to decline about 1% a year, and sperm count usually shows a slight decline.
The gradual decline in men's testosterone levels can reduce the sex drive
Erectile dysfunction is present in approximately 50% of men 40 -70 years old.
There are as many as 75% of men in middle age with erectile dysfunctions that stem from physiological problems
Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors
In the Sex in America survey, the frequency of sexual activity dropped off for individuals in their 50's
Living with a partner makes all the difference in whether people engage in sexual activity
95% of women in their 40's with partners said that they had been sexually active in the last 6 months, compared with only 53% of those without partners
A large-scale study of U.S. adults 40-80 years old found that early ejaculation and erectile difficulties were the most common sexual problems of older men
The most common problems for women were lack of interest and lubrication difficulties
Defining Middle Adulthood
Although not set in stone, we will consider middle adulthood to be from about 40 years of age, to about 60 or 65
Middle adulthood can be defined as:
A time of declining physical skills
A time of expanding responsibility
A period in which people become more conscious of the young-old polarity and the shrinking amount of time left in life
A point when individuals seek to transmit something meaningful to the next generation
A time when people reach and maintain satisfaction in their careers
Defining Middle Adulthood
In sum, middle adulthood involves "balancing work and relationship responsibilities in the midst of the physical and psychological changes associated with aging"
A growing number of experts on middle adulthood describe the age period of 55-65 as late midlife, which can be characterized by:
The death of a parent
The last child leaving the parental home
Becoming a grandparent
Preparing for retirement
In most cases, actual retirement
Midlife is characterized by individual variations
Careers, Work, and Leisure
Work in Midlife
The role of work, whether one works in a full-time career, at a part-time job, as a volunteer, or as a home-maker, is central during the middle years
Middle-aged adults may reach their peak in position and earnings
They may also be saddled with multiple financial burdens (rent, morgage, medical bills, home repairs, and college tuition)
Work Performance
Do middle-aged workers perform their work as competently as younger adults?
Age-related workers declines occur in some occupations (proffessional athletes)
For most jobs, no differences have been found in the work performance of middle-aged adults
Time for Reflection
For many people, midlife is a time for evaluation, assessment, and reflection in terms of the work they are doing and want to do in the future
Some people may face limitations in career progress, deciding whether to change jobs/ careers, deciding whether to rebalance family work, and planning for retirement
Career Challenges and Changes
In the twenty first century, middle- aged workers face several challenges:
Globalization of work
Rapid developments in info. technology
Downsizing of organizations
Pressure to choose early retirement
Concerns about pentions and health care
Globalization
has replaced what was once a prmarily non-Latino White male workforce in the U.S. with employees of different ethnic and national backgrounds who have immigrated from different parts of the world
Delaying Retirement Plans
Result of the decline in defined-benefit pensions and increased uncertainty about the fate of healthe insurance are decreasing the sense of personal control for middle-aged workers
Career Changes
Some are self motivated, while others are the consequence of losing one's job
Individuals could become motivated to change jobs if they perceive that they are behind schedule, if their goals are unrealistic, if they don't like the work they are doing, or if their job has become too stressful
Leisure
Leisure refers to the pleasant times after work when individuals are free to pursue activities and interests of their own choosing- hobbies, sports, or reading, for example.
Importance of Leisure
For many individuals, middle adulthood is the first time in their lives when they have the opportunity to explore their leisure-time interests
Preparing for Retirement
Adults in midlife need to begin preparing psychologically for retirement
Developing constructive and fulfilling leisure activities in middle adulthood is an important part of preperation
Religion and Meaning in Life
Religion and Adult Lives
More than 70 percent of U.S. middle-aged adults say they are religious and consider spirituality a major part of their lives
Religion
Is a powerful influence in some adults' lives, whereas it plays little or no role in others' lives
Females and Religion
Compared with men, they participate more in both organized and personal forms of religion, are more likely to believe in a higher power or presence, and are more likely to feel that religion is an important dimention of their lives.
Religion and Health
Some cults and religious sects encourage behaviors that are damaging to health
For individuals in the religious mainstream, however, researchers are increasingly finding positive links between religion and physical health
Connecting Religion to Physical Health
There are several possible answers:
Lifestyle issues (lower drug use)
Social networks (well-connected individuals have fewer health problems)
Coping with stress (offers comfort and
support)
Meaning in Life
Man's Search for Meaning
by Viktor Frankl
Emphasized each person's uniqueness and the finiteness of life
Viktor Frankl
Believed that examing the finiteness of our existence and certainty of death adds meaning to life
Said that the three most distinct human qualtities are spirituality, freedom, and responsibility
Proposed that people ask themselves questions about why they exist, what they want from life, and what their lives mean
Research
Many individuals state that religion played an important role in increasing their exploration of meaning in life
Individuals who have found this sense are physically healthier and happier
In Conclusion
Having a sense of meaning in life can lead to clearer guidelinesfor living one's life and enhanced motivation to take care of oneself and reach goals.
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