Psychological Impact Of Life Transitions On Older Adults Essays Examples
They must be lucky to have reached this stage of their lives, but while a portion of the population faced transition to older adulthood with grace and contentment, some approached this event in their lives with difficulty and resentment. Growing older serves to be a step of multiple changes, from having to retire from work, children leaving home, losing one’s spouse and feeling the energy of youth fading coupled with illnesses often attributed to ageing. There are many factors that affect the emotional wellbeing and quality of life of the older adult such having adequately saved for their retirement and the thought of being productive during their younger years. This paper aims to discuss the roles of engaging in different types of activities, economic security, as well as the prevalence and effect of Alzheimer’s disease to the older population.
A. The Role of Engaging in Different Types of Activities
With the increasing population of the elderly, it has been a major interest for researchers to study the wellbeing of this population. A recent study was conducted on a group of elderly individuals in Europe on the effect of engaging in seven activities on depression and the quality of life in retires and older workers. The research discussed the activity theory and its role in promoting the interests of the elderly. According to this theory, it is of importance that the greying population continuous to engage in relevant activities from middle-age to protect their welfare. Active lifestyle among the older adults have been associated with decrease risk in mortality and impaired cognition, lesser bouts with stress and depression, resulting to a better life satisfaction (Potočnic and Sonnentag, 2013).
In the research, however, it was revealed that active lifestyle such as engaging in several activities has proved to enriched the elderly’s wellbeing. The activities covered in the research included volunteering, offering help to others, being active in political or community groups; attending educational courses; going to the sports/social clubs; taking part in religious organizations; and being a caregiver to the sick (Potočnic and Sonnentag, 2013). For the retirees, volunteering, helping others and being active in sports or social clubs improved their quality of life. This can be associated with the philanthropic nature of the activities being a source of social approval, strengthening one’s perception of self-realization and pleasure, in addition to the fulfilment of one’s sense of competence (Potočnic and Sonnentag, 2013).
The study showed that retirees who have been under severe depression but who took part in religious organizations have improved from depressive signs the most; the same effect occurred to older employees who became active in political and community organizations. These are indications that having an active social life is more helpful in persons who are initially worse off (Potočnic and Sonnentag, 2013). It was however, different in the cases of doing charitable work and providing voluntary help to others. While sharing time and effort to charity positively affects the wellbeing of retires, the research revealed that the same act gives little satisfaction to older employees. The difference can be explained from the older employees still being focused on paid productivity which is connected to their job; in contrast to the retirees who mainly wanted to compensate for the job roles they left after retiring (Potočnic and Sonnentag, 2013). Overall, the findings of this research mention an active lifestyle can improve wellbeing, especially to those who were the most vulnerable among the group. It was also implied in the literature that it would be of interest to focus future studies on the contextual and personal factors that affects an elderly’s wellbeing.
B. Housing Wealth, Psychological Wellbeing and Cognitive Functioning
According to a research conducted among a group of elderly people in the United States, economic security is one among the most important factors that determine the overall psychological and cognitive well-being of this population. During the mid-20th century, the upsurge of economic growth allowed for the aggressive program of the U.S for home ownership, as a result, it became popular for most working Americans to put their earnings in housing investments. The increase in the number of individuals who invested in housing equity added to the notable increase in housing prices mainly from 1995 to 2000. The trend of housing acquisition among people who were born from 1924 to 1960 added to the upsurge in the value of home investments that contributed to the increased wealth for those who opted for home investments. A study was conducted to examine the effect of housing investments to the psychological wellbeing and cognitive function of the elderly in the United States.
Accordingly the research revealed that the increase in the housing investment value was connected with a significantly lesser risk of anxiety in women and an improved performance in cognition in the elderly men and women. The effects of price upsurge in the house prices were noticeable among the homeowners, in contrasts to the participating renters, an indication of the direct effect of the perceived increase in wealth. Further, the result means that socioeconomic factors have a strong effect not only on the health and functioning of some older adults, but it meaningfully affects their psychological health and cognition as well. Consequently, many elderly homeowners implied the predisposition to provide economic support to their friends and family in the future (Hamoudi and Dowd, 2013). The thought of sharing of being able to share their wealth to their loves ones can have as significant effect on the wellbeing of the elderly, knowing that despite their retirement, they have prepared for their future and still have the material wealth to help their families.
On the downside, recent findings from the HRS have associated the self-reported mortgage delinquency to occurrences of depression. It was pointed that the psychological impact of the decrease in housing values may have the tendency to be greater than the benefits provided by the gains. These findings call for the implementation of policies that can at least lessen the scope of swings in housing markets considering the impacts of these changes on the elderly (Hamoudi and Dowd, 2013). Further study should be made to address the consequences of the declining housing and investment values to the psychological and cognitive well-being on the elderly population.
The Prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is among the dreaded disease among the elderly. It has no known treatment that can reverse the progression of the disease, much less to ease the symptoms. There is an alarming increase in the prevalence of the disease; statistics in 2015 revealed that there are over 5.1 million individuals affected by AD in the United States alone, with 4.9 million of them being 65 years old and above. The prevalence of the disease is also higher in women than in men, the trend being two-thirds of the patients are women (Alzheimer’s, 2015). The number of Americans afflicted with the illness is expected to grow in the coming years, with the number tripling with the absence of medical break- through that can cure the disease.
In 2014, friends and family of people with AD donated about 17.9 billion hours of care for individuals with the disease. According to caregiving stories narrated by people who have cared for AD patients, the emotional stress of the job could be very high that almost 40% of them suffered from depression. The difficulty of the caregiver explains the struggle that the patient themselves has to go through. Patients with AD do not only struggle with cognitive impairment, but also of light to sever cases of behavioural disturbances.
According to medical statistics, patients with AD are often not told of their condition. The frightening diagnosis can be difficult for healthcare providers to divulge, however, an agreement among physicians call that there is a need for the patients and their love ones to know about the condition. Besides, disclosing the medical diagnosis include better decision making about how the family would go on with their lives. In addition to the support from the family, something should be done in order not to reach the projected number of AD patients in the coming years.
Alzheimer’s Association. 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. Retrieved from https://www.alz.org
Hamoudi, A., Beam-Dowd, J., 2013. Housing Wealth, Psychological Wellbeing, and Cognitive Functioning of Older Americans. Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences & Social Sciences. Oxford University Press/USA
Potočnic, K., Sonnentag, S., 2013. A Longitudinal Study of Wellbeing in Older Workers and Retirees: The Role of Engaging in different Types of Activities. Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology. Retrieved from www.wileyonlinelibrary.com
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