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Late Adulthood: Aging, Retiring, and Bereavement

15 February, 2016 - 15:16


  1. Review the physical, cognitive, and social changes that accompany late adulthood.
  2. Describe the psychological and physical outcomes of bereavement.

We have seen that, over the course of their lives, most individuals are able to develop secure attachments; reason cognitively, socially and morally; and create families and find appropriate careers. Eventually, however, as people enter into their 60s and beyond, the aging process leads to faster changes in our physical, cognitive, and social capabilities and needs, and life begins to come to its natural conclusion, resulting in the final life stage, beginning in the 60s, known as late adulthood.

Despite the fact that the body and mind are slowing, most older adults nevertheless maintain an active lifestyle, remain as happy or are happier than when they were younger, and increasingly value their social connections with family and friends (Angner, Ray, Saag, & Allison, 2009). 1 Kennedy, Mather, and Carstensen (2004) 2 found that people’s memories of their lives became more positive with age, and Myers and Diener (1996) 3found that older adults tended to speak more positively about events in their lives, particularly their relationships with friends and family, than did younger adults.