prejudice or discrimination against a person (most commonly an older person) based on age.
gradual, inevitable process of bodily deterioration throughout the life span.
aging processes that result from disease and bodily abuse and disuse and are often preventable, or which can at least be delayed
people age 65 to 74, those those who are the healthy, active majority of older adults.
people age 75 to 84, or those who are frail, infirm, and in the minority of older people
people age 85 and older. these folks are the most likely to need help with Activities of Daily Living
measure of a person's ability to function effectively in his or her physical and social environment in comparison with others of the same chronological ages. A person who is 90 but still in good health may be functionally younger than a person of 65 who is not.
study of the aged and the process of aging
branch of medicine concerned with processes of aging and age related medical conditions
age to which a person in a particular in a particular cohort is statistically likely to live given his or her current age and health status), on the basis of average longevity of a population. Gains in life expectancy mean that the rate of mortality goes down (morbidity refers to rate of disease.)
length of an individual's life
the longest period for which members of a species can live. So far, the record is 122 years
Methicillin-resistent Staphylococcus aureaus
a staph infection that does not respond to many common antibiotics.
Gender difference: Women longer life expectancy
may be due to the extra X chromosome. Women are also more likely to take better care of their health than ben, improvements in prenatal and obstetric care, high SES than in the that past, more social support, men's higher death rates throughout life due to engaging in risky behavior
regional and racial ethnic difference in age
Hispanic Americans have the highest life expectancy overall at 80.6 years, about 2.5 years longer than whites, and 7.7 years longer than blacks.
period of the life span marked by changes in physical functioning associated with aging; begins at different ages for different people
genetic programming theories
theories that explain biological aging as resulting from genetically determined developmental timetable
theory of aging in which specific genes "switch off" before age related losses, such as in vision or hearing, become evident
minute organisms inside our cells that generate energy for cell processes whose fragmentation is hypothesized to be a cause of aging
the protective tips of chromosomes which shorten each time a cell divides. Stress can affect telomere change, which may help explain the link between stress and risk of cardiovascular change and cancer. Mitochondrial dysfunction may damage the DNA, which can lead to telomere shortening and accelerated aging
changes in the hormones used by the body, possibly due to genetic malfunction, may create the effects of aging such as loss of muscle strength, increased fat and organ atrophy
certain genes may cause the body's defense system against disease to become less effective, so the person may be more susceptible to disease
evolutionary theory of aging
a variation of genetic programming theory that views aging as an evolved trait enabling members of a species to live only long enough to reproduce. So any trait that helps the young will by maintained and spread through the population, even if the effects are damaging to the person later in life.
variable rate theories
(sometimes called error theories): view biological aging as a result of random processes that involve damage due to change errors in biological systems or environmental assaults on them
theory that the body ages as a result of accumulated damage to the system beyond the body's ability to repair it. As people age, they become less able to repair or replace damaged parts
theory that attributes aging to the harmful effects of free radicals which react with and can damage cell membranes, cell proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and even DNA. The majority of chronic, noninfectious diseases (diabetes, heart disease, arthritis) are directly related to the activity of free-radicals in the human body. Free radicals are highly unstable oxygen atoms or molecules formed during metabolism (conversion of food and oxygen into energy).
antioxidants and it's affect upon free-radicals
on a cellular level, your body has an ongoing battle between antioxidants (nutrients like vitamins A,C,E, minerals and enzymes that can counteract the normal effects of oxidation in the body tissue) and free radicals. Many of the free radicals are neutralized by antioxidants which perform valuable functions in the body.
rate of living theory
theory of aging that suggests that the body can do just so much work, and the faster it works, the faster is wears out. highly restrictive calorie diets that lower metabolism are associated with living longer and being healthier.
theory of aging that suggests that an aging immune system can become "confused" and release antibodies that attack that body's own cells
tendency of an aging body to mistake its own tissues for foreign invades and to attack and destroy them
two factors in living to a hundred years and beyond
good genes and ability to manage stress
curves plotted on a graph, showing percentages of a population that survive at each age level. for people it's not much higher than 100.
a proposed genetically controlled limit on the number of times cells divide. in people cells grown in the lab, this is about 50 times. but cells in living people are more complicated. People that are 110 years of age are not necessarily more likely to die than someone that is 85
ability of body organs and systems to put forth four to 10 times as much effort as usual under stress; also called organ reserve. this decreases with ages, but decreases more slowly if you take good care of yourself
decreases in the number of dopamine transmitters generally results in slowed response time. Really big decreases will result Parkinson's disease; beginning in the mid-50s, myeline sheathing begins to thin out, and this is eventually associated with cognitive and motor declines.
cloudy or opaque areas in the lens of the eye that cause blurred vision. surgery to replace the lens is often an option and can be a big help
age related macular degeneration
condition in which the center of the retina gradually loses its ability to discern fine details.
increased pressure in the eye can cause irreversible damage to the optic nerve if left untreated.
increase with age, affecting nearly 1/3 of folks 65 to 74 and almost 2/3 of folks over 85. hearing loss may contribute to false perceptions of older folks as distractible, absentminded, or irritable.
strength, endurance, balance and reaction time
adults generally lose 10-20% if their strength up to age 70, then more after that. declines may result from natural aging, decreases in activity and disease
sleep in old age
older people tend to sleep less and dream less than before. sometimes this is no big deal if a person just has to get up and go to the restroom a time or two at night, after which he or she goes back to sleep. Sleep problems are not normal in old age. chronic insomnia can be a precursor to depression, which is toxic. either too little or too much sleep is associated with increased mortality
the most important factor in maintaining sexual functioning is consistent sexual activity over the years. Men are much more likely to remain sexually active than women, largely because, being less numerous, they are more likely to have a spouse or partner.
poor health is not an inevitable consequence of aging. over 75% of U.S adults over 65 consider themselves to be in good to excellent health. poverty continues to be associated with poor health.
chronic conditions and disabilities
at least 80% of older Americans have at least one chronic condition, and 50% have at least two. A much smaller proportion-but about 1/2 of those over 85- are frail, which means they are weak and vulnerable to stress, disease, disability and death
common chronic conditions
6 of 7 causes of death in old age in the US are chronic conditions-heart disease, cancer, stroke, lower respiratory disease, diabetes, and influenza/pneumonia. Many of these deaths could have been prevented by a healthier lifestyle. Hypertension and diabetes are increasing. Aside from these, the most common chronic conditions are arthritis, heart disease, and cancer
disabilities and activity limitations
the proportion of older adults with chronic physical disabilities or activity limitations has declined since the mid 1980s. This is likely due to the increasing number of older folks who are educated and knowledgeable about preventative measures.
5 out of 6 Americans age 60 and older have diets that are poor or need improvement. Too many calories, too much alcohol, skipping meals, too many in between meal snacks, not enough fiber, colorful fruits and vegetables, too much red meat, not enough fish. Taking vitamins and food supplements is not a substitute for eating a balanced diet
causes tooth loss and other serious health problems. Periodontal disease is serious and should immediately be treated by a physician
mental and behavioral problems
only 6% of older Americans frequent mental distress. But when problems occur, they can result in major impairment, especially if the person is already weakened by poor physical health or other stressors. Examples of problems include drug intoxication, delirium, metabolic or infectious disorders, malnutrition, anemia, low thyroid function, minor head injuries, alcoholism, and depression
special risks for depression
chronic illness or disability, cognitive decline, and divorce, separation, or widowhood
deterioration in cognitive and behavioral functioning due to physiological causes; some cases are reversal, like vitamin B deficiencies-common in severe alcoholism, dehydration, overmedication, poisoning, brain tumor, anoxia etc.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) (most common cause of dementia)
by far the most common cause of dementia (accounts for about 2/3. Involves progressive, degeneration of brain connections, and is characterized by an irreversible deterioration in memory, intelligence, awareness, and control of bodily functions, eventually leading to death. About 1 in 8 people age 65 and older are living with AD.
Parkinson's disease (second most common cause of dementia)
progressive, irreversible degenerative neurological disorder caused by the destruction of dopamine producing cells in the brain and characterized by tremors, stiffness, slowed movement, and unstable posture.
multi-infarct dementia (third most common cause of dementia)
irreversible dementia caused by a series of small strokes
AD: causes and risk factors
Neurofibrillary tangles: twisted masses of dead neurons found in brains of persons with Alzheimer's disease
waxy chunks of insoluble tissue found in the spaces between neurons in brains of persons with Alzheimer's disease. Breakdown of myelin may contribute to the buildup of plaques
AD is strongly heritable, but the genes identifies to date only explain 50% of the cases. Epigenetic modifications that determine whether or not a gene is activated may play a part, so lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise and cognitive stimulation may be important in preventing or slowing the disease
diagnosis for AD
until recently, diagnosis of Alzheimer's could only be made after death by examining the brain tissue. But now, doctors use noninvasive PET scans in living patients to detect the tangles and plaques characteristic of the disease.
Tests for AD
Other tests focus on the mild cognitive impairments that, if left untreated, might lead to the disease. One looks for decreased activity in the hippocampus-a key memory center. Another detects substances similar to the plaques that could eventually clog the brain. In the Seattle Longitudinal Study of Adult intelligence, results of psychometric tests predicted dementia as much as 14 years before the diagnosis of dementia was made.
treatment and prevention of AD
no cure, but early diagnosis and treatment can slow the progress of the disease. So far, FDA has approved 5 drugs to slow, but not stop, the progression of the disease for up to one year. A promising experimental approach is immunotherapy.
Intelligence and processing abilities
speed of mental process and abstract reasoning (fluid intelligence) tend to decrease as we get older, but other abilities tend to improve throughout most of adult life. Childhood intelligence scores reliably predict cognitive ability at age 80
Wechler Adult intelligence scale (WAIS)
intelligence test for adults that yields verbal and performance cores as well as combined scores
classic aging pattern
tendency for scores on nonverbal performance to become lower as a person gets older, while verbal scores remain relatively stable.
Seattle Longitudinal Study
most fairly healthy adults showed only small losses on their tasks until the late 60s or 70s. The most striking feature of the SLS findings is the tremendous variation among individuals. Some showed declines during their 40s, but a few maintained full functioning until very late in life.
changes in processing abilities
speed of processing, one of the first abilities to decline, is related to health status, balance, gait, and performance of ADLs such as looking up a phone number or counting out change
cognitive abilities and morality
on average,people with lower IQs don't live as long
Changes in memory
tasks that only require rehearsal-repetition of information-show little decline in healthy adults; but tasks that require reorganization or elaboration show greater fallout. An example is to verbally rearrange the following three words in order of increasing size.
long term memory of specific experiences or events, linked to time and place, such as what you had for breakfast this morning. This system requires you to remember when and where something happened-to reconstruct events in your mind. Episodic memory is the long term memory system that is most likely to deteriorate with age
long term memory of general factual knowledge, social customs, and language.
long term memory of motor skills, habits, and ways of doing things which often can be recalled without conscious effort. It is sometimes referred to implicit memory. Procedural memory is relatively unaffected by age.
Speech and memory
tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon can happen to any of us, but it becomes more common as we age
in Balte's study, only 5% of responses to hypothetical dilemmas were rated as "wise." Wisdom is relatively rare, but is not just a property of old age. Young adults can be wise about issue that involve them, just like older adults can be wise about their issues.