Sample Research Paper On Physical AND Psychological Aging - "An Aging Society"

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Aging, Society, Psychology, Elderly, People, Age, System, Life

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2021/03/25

As people age, they undergo several physical, physiological and psychological changes that affect how they look, respond to several aspects of daily life, and function. Aging involves slowing down of organ systems due to decline in activity of body cells (Whitbourne 2). These changes are experienced differently by individuals – for some, the decline in activity of cells may occur rapidly and dramatically; for other people it may not be pronounced. These physical and psychological changes in people affect how they interact with other members of society. The aged require special treatment and care especially from their family members, geriatric caregivers, and the government. As people age, they can still be entrusted with numerous roles such as guiding children and young people. They also become custodians of the culture of a community, and most likely possess wisdom that can be tapped for the benefit of the society.
The elderly are an important component of society, and they are referred to as senior citizens. Their presence in a society completes the society’s structure. The Functionalist Theory can be used to explain the roles the elderly can assume when they age and how they can be included in completing the societal structure. According to this theory, society is a system made up of interconnected parts that harmoniously work together to maintain social equilibrium and a state of balance for all the parts. The elderly form an important part of society that completes the society and makes it achieve a state of balance and social equilibrium. They form an important part that contributes important functions for society. The functionalist theory emphasizes how several parts of society are interconnected and how each part influences and is influenced by other parts (Mooney et al n.p). The aged are either parents or grandparents of the junior members of society. They, therefore, formed families that resulted in the propagation of life, nurtured and socialized their children, and were an important component that transmitted the skills, culture, and knowledge of society to their children (Schalarch and Robinson n.p). Therefore, the aged influence the upbringing of their children and grandchildren and can be instrumental in providing guidance to the junior members of society through their interaction with them and constant provision of crucial advice to them.
Physical and psychological aspects of aging manifest themselves in different ways. Aging is manifested on the outside through the skin, nails and hair. As years flow by, the skin loses the oil glands and fat layers that lie beneath it. This causes wrinkles and loss of elasticity in the skin (Schalarch and Robinson n.p). Another outward sign of aging is losing of hair pigmentation making it turn gray. The connective tissues of the aging person experience reduced blood flow, and this leads to thickening of the nails. The early emergence of these changes in a person can be heightened by poor nutrition, hormones, excessive exposure to the sun, and heredity. The changes are accompanied by increased susceptibility to bruising, bedsores and hypothermia. The occurrence of these changes cannot be prevented, but their onset can be delayed by providing good nutrition to the elderly. The medical conditions that the aged are exposed to due to their physical conditions should be alleviated by the caregivers or younger members of society so as to make their life bearable and livable. Being an important part of society, they should be helped to navigate changes that accompany aging successfully.
Additional changes that accompany aging include changes in the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, musculature, skeletal system, and nervous system. The cardiovascular system changes include reduced blood flow to the body. Reduced blood flow to the body is caused by conditions such as arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis, and heart valves’ calcification. The results of this phenomenon are reduced liver and kidney function, reduced body stamina, and less nourishment of cells (McAuley and Rudolph n.p). The individual experiencing this change due to their age will be susceptible to stroke, heart failure, heart attack, hypertension, and drug toxicity. Moreover, as people age, they experience a reduction in the efficiency of the respiratory system. The consequences of this are reduced body stamina, reduced capability of performing daily life activities and increased anxiety. In addition, the atrophying of muscles results in losing of muscle strength and tone. Furthermore, as people age, calcium is lost from their bones, and this reduces their density. The effects of this are an emergence of osteoporosis and high exposure to fractures. These are outcomes of aging on the skeletal system of an individual.
The elderly are at high susceptibility to suffer from arthritis that causes joints to inflame. The two forms of arthritis that can afflict the elderly are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The two forms of arthritis have the capability to interfere with mobility and performance of daily life activities. Furthermore, the nervous system is also affected by aging. As individuals age, they lose nerve cells, and this reduces the efficiency in the transmission of nerves. The reduced transmission of nerves affects coordination and response time for the elderly. Moreover, the aging individuals experience changes in the sensory functions. When people reach their fourth decade, the eyes’ pupil decrease in size and this affects vision. Other eyesight problems experienced in old age include cataracts and a host of retinal disorders. Moreover, aging results in significant loss of hearing function. Old people also experience a decline in the tasting ability. The skin also becomes less sensitive to sensation.
Furthermore, aging is also responsible for a host of psychological changes in individuals. There is evidence of changes in intellectual functioning that is related with age, and this begins after sixty years. In addition, as people age, they experience memory problems.. Moreover, learning is hampered as the ability to accumulate any new information is reduced. In addition, personality traits of a person remain stable over the course of their lives. However, aging is accompanied by several changes in the personality of individuals. In old age, a person gets preoccupied with his or her inner life and pays more attention to personal experiences and feelings and becomes more introverted (Schalarch and Robinson n.p). Introversion and preoccupation with individual’s life constitute changes in personality and are examples of psychological component of aging.
Clearly, there are many physical and psychological changes that accompany aging. The changes affect the physical and emotional wellbeing of the elderly. In addition, the changes lead to an emergence of many medical conditions that can lower the quality of life of the elderly if they are not managed. From the outset, the welfare of the elderly should be taken care of by the younger and stronger members of the society (Whitbourne 23). The medical conditions that accompany aging should be managed by geriatric caregivers and offspring of the elderly. The aging members are custodians of the good values and culture of a community. They pass these to the younger members of society, and hence they are crucial in guiding and holding together society. These roles they play are crucial to creating balance and equilibrium in society as per the functionalist theory. Because of this, they deserve to be given more assistance in managing the changes that result from aging.
There is empirical evidence that suggests physical activity can be instrumental in preventing the occurrence of mental illness aspects among the elderly (Fox et al n.p). The mental illnesses include dementia, Alzheimer, and depression. Moreover, engagement in physical exercise has been shown by limited research to improve psychological well-being of the elderly. The aspects of psychological well-being include self-perceptions and mood (McAuley and Rudolph n.p). This empirical evidence encourages the involvement of the elderly in physical exercises in order to alleviate psychological conditions that may afflict them. The elderly should be encouraged to be actively involved in physical exercises since they have many benefits for them. Moreover, the older people are at a high susceptibility to develop many medical conditions hence require constant and high-quality medical care. A society should have enough caregivers who specialize in caring for the elderly. Providing good care of the elderly can be taken to mean appreciation of this segment of the society. Those who are also aging need to be shown love so that they don’t feel isolated. They should be given a chance to participate in community projects since they can bring immense wisdom on these projects. Sidelining the aged individuals and not giving them an opportunity to participate in communal activities can lead to their depression.

Works Cited

Fox, Kenneth R., et al. "Physical activity and mental well-being in older people participating in the Better Ageing Project." European journal of applied physiology 100.5 (2007): 591-602.
McAuley, Edward, and David L. Rudolph. "Physical activity, aging, and psychological well-being." JAPA 3.1 (2010).
Mooney, Linda, David Knox, and Caroline Schacht. Understanding social problems. Cengage Learning, 2014.
Schalarch, Andrew E., and Barrie Robinson. "The Aging Process." Centre for Social Services Research. University of California at Berkeley School of Social Welfare. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.
Whitbourne, Susan Krauss. The aging individual: Physical and psychological perspectives. Springer Publishing Company, 2002.

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Sample Research Paper On Physical AND Psychological Aging - "An Aging Society". Free Essay Examples - Published Mar 25, 2021. Accessed November 26, 2022.

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