Health Practices of Elderly

Topics: Gerontology, Old age, Life expectancy Pages: 3 (1026 words) Published: May 13, 2011
Background of the Study

Old age consists of ages nearing or surpassing the average life span of human beings, and thus the end of the human life cycle. Old people have limited regenerative abilities and are more prone to disease, syndromes, and sickness than other adults. Old age can cause, amongst other things like wrinkles and liver spots on the skin; change of hair color to gray or white; hair loss; lessened hearing; diminished eyesight; slower reaction times and agility; reduced ability to think clearly; difficulty recalling memories; lessening or cessation of sex, sometimes because of physical symptoms such as erectile dysfunction in men, but often simply a decline in libido; greater susceptibility to bone diseases such as osteoarthritis. In most parts of the world, women live, on average, longer than men; even so, the disparities vary between 9 years or more in countries such as Sweden and the United States to no difference or higher life expectancy for men in countries such as Zimbabwe and Uganda (

According to Erik Erikson’s "Eight Stages of Life" theory, the human personality is developed in a series of eight stages that take place from the time of birth and continue on throughout an individual’s complete life. He characterizes old age as a period of "Integrity vs. Despair", during which a person focuses on reflecting back on their life. Those who are unsuccessful during this phase will feel that their life has been wasted and will experience many regrets. The individual will be left with feelings of bitterness and despair. Those who feel proud of their accomplishments will feel a sense of integrity. Successfully completing this phase means looking back with few regrets and a general feeling of satisfaction. These individuals will attain wisdom, even when confronting death.

According to James E. Lubben (2010), there has been increasing attention paid to health promotion and disease prevention activities in the elderly...
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