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Life Stages The Elderly

LifeStages: The Elderly

LifeStages: The Elderly

Theelderly stage of life marks the end of human life cycle and it ismainly characterized reduced ability of individuals to care for theirincreasing psychological and physical needs. The nursing homes forthe elderly exist to provide support to the elderly members of thesociety with mental and physical disabilities. According toNutritional Resource (2014) the old stage of life is consideredstarts from 65 years until death. Although many people like beingindependent during their old age and be given an opportunity to dosome activities for themselves, their physical and mental statusesmay at times be limiting factors. In this stage of life, the familysupport is needed, but it becomes insufficient the elderly person isin the physical or mental status that requires the services ofspecialists. This necessitates the creation of nursing homes for theelderly, which are staffed with professional who address the specialneeds of the elderly in a specialized setting. This paper provides adiscussion of different features of the elderly life stage that werenoted after observing the life of the elderly in a nursing homesetting.

Signsof old age

Physicalsigns of old age

Differentpeople get the physical signs of aging at varying chronological agesbecause each person is unique. There are many physical marks of oldage, but four of them are more important and occur in nearly allelderly people. First, urinary inconsistency among the elderly is adistressing challenge not only to the affected individual, but alsoto their family members and the health care providers. This problemresults from age-related changes that reduce the functionality, thuspredisposing the elderly people UI (Medscape 2014). Secondly, theeyesight and the hearing ability of older people reduce with theincrease in age. This observation was similar to the findings of theresearch conducted by the American Psychological Association (2014),which indicated that the hearing and the eyesight of 37 % of femaleand 48 % of male subjects reduce significantly at the age of 75years. Third, older people experience dental problems (includingtooth decay, production of less saliva, and mouth infections) morethan people in other stages of life. Forth, the voice chord of theolder people vibrates more slowly, and this results in a breathy andweak voice.

Psychologicalsigns of old age

Themental characteristics of older people differ from one person toanother, but there are four marks of old age that are more common.First, almost all people aged 65 years and above experience somedecline in their cognitive and mental ability, which is characterizedby memory loss. Secondly, the population of older people is at higherrisk of undergoing depressed moods than the general population. Basedon Erickson’s eighth stage of development, the last stage of humandevelopment involves a reflection of the choices that one has made inthe past (Sokol, 2009). A perception that one has failed to achieveall they would have desired can subject them to the risk ofdepression. Third, a perception that older persons have more to loseif they take risks compared to their younger counterparts makes themmore cautious. Fourth, the old people are described as acceptable andagreeable because they are adaptable.

Nutritionfor the elderly people

Thedietary and nutritional needs of older people are different fromthose of young people. Although many older people are currentlyreceiving professional assistance in the nursing homes on suitableways of keeping their bodies’ active and fit, their bodies arefrail and need additional nutritional care. Reduced mobility duringthe old age means that shopping for food become more difficult whilefinancial constraint reduce their capacity to go for a wider range offood varieties (Nutritional Resource, 2014). In addition, humanapproach and attitude towards food changes as they age and it leadsto a decline in appetite in most cases. Consequently, the olderpeople are given a highly nutritious diet that compensates their lackof ability to consume more foods or eat frequently. In some seriouscases food supplements (including calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C)are given to older people in order to address their special dietaryneeds.

Deterioratinghealth condition

Poorhealth is one of the major concerns of the elderly people. This isthe primary reason for the establishment of nursing homes for theelderly, who are at a higher risk of suffering from chronic and acuteillnesses than younger people. Most of the older people served in thenursing homes suffer from serious health conditions, includingosteoporosis, hypertension, osteoarthritis, and heart disease. Thisobservation was similar to the findings of Goodey (2013) who reportedthat about 77 % of older people concerned about their health thatthose who are worried by financial constraint (67 %). Surprisingly,about 55 % of the elderly people failed to plan for their care needsfor long-term needs during their youthful age. This means that thewide range of medical conditions coupled with other challenges (suchas financial challenges) subject the older people to other problems,including depression.

Personaland devices for elderly support

Personalizedcare is a basic necessity for the elderly, especially those who arementally or physically impaired. Although personalized assistance canbe offered to the elderly in many ways (including the home care,community service, and assisted living), nursing home is the mostsuitable facility for giving personal support to the elderly. This isbecause nursing homes are equipped and staffed purposely forprovision of professional nursing care. In addition, providing theelderly people with assistive devices gives them support handleactivities that are necessary for their daily living. Most of thesupport devices (including safety system, shower seat, bed cane, andmedical alert) issued to these people is designed to aid them incomplying with medication compliance and enhancing their safety intheir daily activities (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,2005). The support devices coupled with personalized assistanceenhances the well being of the elderly people.


Theelderly stage of life, which starts at the age of 65 years and endswith death, is one of the most challenges phases of humandevelopment. Erickson, in Erickson’s eight stages of humandevelopment identified that the elderly can either feel contented orfailed to accomplish their goals in life. This subjects most of theolder people to the risk of physical and psychological conditionsthat affects their wellbeing significantly. In addition, the elderlypeople have special health needs that require them to consume specialdiet. Frequent, long-term as well as chronic illnesses are commonfeatures of elderly. This creates the need for the establishment ofnursing homes, which can address the health care needs of olderpeople in a special setting.


AmericanPsychological Association (2014). Older adults’ health andage-related changes. APA.Retrieved April 7, 2014, fromhttp://www.apa.org/pi/aging/resources/guides/older.aspx

Goodey,A. (2013, February 19). Poor health is worry for the elderly.Express.Retrieved April 7, 2014, fromhttp://www.express.co.uk/news/retirement/378723/Poor-health-is-biggest-worry-for-the-elderly

Medscape(2014). Urinary inconsistency in the elderly. WebMDLLC.Retrieved April 7, 2014, fromhttp://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/410843

NutritionalResource (2014). Adults and elderly adults. Camberley: NutritionalResource.

Sokol,T. (2009). Identity development through the lifetime: An examinationof Erickson theory. GraduateJournal of Counseling Psychology,1 (2), 1-12.

U.S.Department of Health and Human Services (2005). Assistivedevices among the elderly.Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.