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Psychology 210 Mrs. Harris Liberty University


Refers to prejudice against people because of their age. Like racism and sexism, it works to prevent elderly from being as happy and productive as they could be.


The study of old age. This is one of the fastest growing special feilds in the social sciences.


The medical specialty devoted to aging.

Dependency Ratio

The ratio of self- sufficient, productive adults to dependents- children and the elderly

Young- Old

Healthy, vigorous, financially secure older adults ( generally, those over 75) who are well intergrated into the lives of their families and their communities.

Old- Old

Older adults (generally over age 75) who suffer from physical, mental, or social deficits.

Oldest- Old

Elderly adults (generally over the age of 85) who are dependent on others for almost everything, requiring supportive services such as nursing homes and hospital stays.

Primary Aging

The universal and irreversible physical changes that occur to living creatures as they grow older.

Secondary Aging

The specific physical illnesses or conditions that are more common in agingbut are caused by health habits, genes, and other influences that vary from person to person.


A common eye disease among the elderly involving a thickening of the lens; it can cause distorted vision if left untreated.


A disease of the eye that can destroy vision if left untreated. It involves hardening of the eyeball due to fluid buildup within the eye.

Senile Macular Degeneration

A disease of the eye involving deterioration of the retina.


A way of speaking to older adults that resembles baby talk, with simple and short sentences, exaggerated emphasis, a slower rate, higher pitch and repetition.

Compression of Morbidity

A limiting of the time a person spends ill or infirm, accomplished by postponing illness and , once morbidity occurs, reducing the amount of time that remains before death occurs.

Wear and Tear Theory

A theory of aging that states that the human body wears out because of the passage of time and exposure to environmental stressors.

Maxium Life Span

The oldest age to which members can live, under ideal circumstances. For humans that age is approximately 120 years.

Average Life Expectancy

The number of years the average newborn of a particular population group is likely to live. In humans, this age has tended to increase over time, primarily because fewer children die in infancy.

Oxygen Free Radicals

Atoms that as a result of metabolic processes, have an unpaired electron. They produce errors in cell maintenance and repair that, over time, may cause cancer, diabetes and arteriosclerosis.


Compounds that nullify the effects of oxygen free radicals by forming a bond with their unattached oxygen electron.

Hayflick Limit

The # of times a human cell is capable of dividing into two new cells. The limit for most human cells is approximately 50 divisions, suggesting that the life span is limited by our genetic program.

Genetic Clock

According to one theory of aging, a regulatory mechanism in the DNA of cells regulates the aging process.

B Cells

Cells manufactured in the bone marrow that creates antibodies for isolating and destroying invading bacteria and viruses.

T Cells

Cells created in the thymus that produce substances that attack infected cells in the body.


T or F: Most older adults are happy, quite healthy and active.

10, 5

Only ___ percent of the elderly are dependent, and only ___ percent are in nursing homes or hospitals.


___ percent of older people need glasses, and meny have cataracts, glaucoma or senile macular degeneration.


Primary aging reduces ____ reserve in the major body systems.


T or F: Cell reproduction increases and gets better.


More and more people are reaching the age of ___

Self Theories

Theories of late adulthood that emphasize the core self, or the search to maintain one's integrity and identity.

Integrity vs. Despair

The final stage of Erikson's developmental sequence, in which older adults seek to integrate their unique experience with their vision of community.

Stratification Theories

Theories emphasizing that social forces, particularly those related to a person's social stratum or social category, limit individual choices and affect the ability to funciton, In the late adulthood, past stratification continues to limit life in various ways.

Disengagement Theory

The view that aging makes a person's social sphere increasingly narrow, resulting in role relinquishment, withdrawal, and passivity.

Activity Theory

The view that elderly people need to remain active in a variety of social spheres with relatives, friends, and community groups and become withdrawn only unwillingly, as a result of ageism.

Dynamic Theories

Theories that emphasize change and readjustment rather than wither the ongoing self or the legacy of stratification. Each person's life is seen as an active, ever changing, largely self propelled process, occuring within specific social contexts that themselves are constantly changing.

Continuity Theory

The theory that each person experiences the changes of late adulthood and behaves toward others in much the same way as earlier periods of life.


A program in which people aged 55 and older live on college campuses and take special classes, usually during college vacation periods.

Social Convoy

Collectively, the family members, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers who move through life with an individual.

Frail Elderly

People over age 65 who are physically infirm, very ill, or cognitively impaired.

Activities of Daily Life

Actions that are important to independent living, typically comprising five task: eating, bathing, toileting, dressing, and transferring from a bed to a chair.

Instrumental activities of Daily Life

Actions that are important to independent living and that require some intellectual competence and forethought. These are even more critical to self sufficiency than ADLs.

Respite Care

An arrangement in which a professional caregiver takes over to give the family caregiver of a frail elderly person a break for a few hours each day or for an occasional weekend.

Genetic Personality Traits

It may continue to play a major role in the way late adulthood plays itself out.

Family and Religious Connections

Many older members of minority groups function very well, primarily because of strong___ and ___

Education and Volunteer

Many retired people continue their ___ or perform ___ work in their communities.


The elderly are ____ active and influential, which is one reason for their success in protecting their economic benefits.


The ___ is the most important member of a person's social convoy.


An institution in which terminally ill patients recieve pallitative care.

Palliative Care

Care designed not to treat an illness, but to relieve the pain and suffering of the patient

Double Effect

A situation in which medication has the intended effect of relieving a dying person's pain and the secondary effect of hastening death.

Passive Euthanasia

A situation in which a seriously ill person is allowed to die, naturally, through the cessation of medical interventions

Active Euthanasia

A situation in which someone takes action to bring about another person's death, with the intention of ending that person's suffering.

Living Will

A document that indicates what medical intervention an individual wants if he or she becomes incapable of expressing those wishes.

Health Care Proxy

a person chosen by another person to make medical decisions if the second person becomes unable to do so.

Physician Assisted Suicide

A form of active euthanasia in which a doctor provides the means for someone to end his or her own life.

Voluntary Euthanasia

A form of active euthanasia in which, at a patient's request, someone else ends his or her life.


The study of death


The sense of loss following a death


An individual's emotional response to bereavement


The ceremonies and behaviors that a religion of culture prescribes for bereaved people.

Control Processes

That part of the information processing system that regulates the analysis and flow of information. Memory and retrieval strategies, selective attention, and rules or strategies for problem solving are all useful.

Explicit Memory

Memory that is easy to retrieve, usually with words. Most involves consciously learned words, data, and concepts.

Implicit Memory

Unconscious or automatic memory that is usually stored via habits, emotional responses, routine procedures and various sensations.

Terminal Decline

An overall slowdown of cognitive abilities in the days or months before death. Also called Terminal Drop.


Irreversible loss of intellectual functioning caused by organic brain damage or disease.

Alzheimer's Disease

The most common form of dementia, characterized by gradual deterioration of memory and personality and marked by plaques of B- amyloid protein and tangles in the brain.


The form of dementia characterized by sporadic and progressive loss of intellectual functioning.

Subcortical Dementias

Dementias, such as Parkinson's, Huntington's and multiple sclerosis that originate in the subcortex. These diseases begin with impairments in motor ability and produce cognitive impairment in later stages.

Parkinson's Disease

A chronic, progressive disease that is characterized by muscle tremors and rigidity and sometimes dementia, caused by a reduction of dopamine production in the brain.

Life Review

The examination of one's own past life that many elderly people engage in.


A cognitive perspective characterized by a broad, practical, comprehensive approach to life's problems, reflecting timeless truths rather than immediate expediency.

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