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A prejudice whereby people are categorized and
judged solely on the basis of their chronological age.
A condescending way of speaking to older adults
that resembles baby talk, with simple and short sentences, exaggerated
emphasis, repetition, and a slower rate and a higher pitch than used in normal
The multidisciplinary study of old age.
The medical specialty devoted to aging.
A shift in the proportions of the populations of
A person who has lived 100 years or more.
Healthy, vigorous, financially secure older
adults (generally, those aged 60-75) who are well integrated into the lives of
their families and communities.
Older adults (generally, those over age 75) who
suffer from physical, mental, or social deficits.
Elderly adults (generally, those over age 85)
who are dependent on others for almost everything, requiring supportive
services such as nursing homes and hospital stays.
The universal and irreversible physical changes
that occur to all living creatures as they grow older.
The specific physical illnesses or conditions
that become more common with aging but are caused by health habits, genes, and
other influences that vary from person to person.
Disease that involves the heart and the
A shortening of the time a person spends ill or
infirm, accomplished by postponing illness.
Compression of Morbidity
The oldest possible age that members of a
species can live under ideal circumstances. For humans, that age is
approximately 122 years.
Maximum Life Span
The number of years the average newborn in a
particular population group is likely to live.
Average Life Expectancy
Words or ideas presented in advance that make it
easier to remember something. It is also possible for priming to impair
cognition, as with stereotype threat.
An overall slowdown of cognitive abilities in
the weeks and months before death.
Irreversible loss of intellectual functioning
caused by organic brain damage or disease. It becomes more common with age, but
it is abnormal and pathological even in the very old. Late Adulthood.
A temporary loss of memory, often accompanied by
hallucinations, terror, grandiosity, and irrational behavior.
The most common cause of dementia, characterized
by gradual deterioration of memory and personality and marked by the formation
of plaques of beta-amyloid protein and tangles of tau in the brain.
A protein that makes up the plaques that are
found in the tissues surrounding neurons.
A protein that makes up the tangles found within
Forgetfulness and loss of verbal fluency that
often comes before the first stage of Alzheimer disease.
Mild Cognitive Impairment
Refers to a situation in which elderly people
are prescribed several medications. The various side effects and interactions
of those medications can result in dementia symptoms.
An examination of one’s own role in the history
of human life, engaged in by many elderly people.
Theories of late adulthood that emphasize the core self, or the search to maintain one’s
integrity and identity.
The final stage of Erik Erikson’s developmental sequence, in which older adults
seek to integrate their unique experiences with their vision of community.
Integrity Versus Despair
The urge to accumulate and hold on to familiar objects and possessions, sometimes
to the point of their becoming health and/or safety hazards. This impulse tens
to increase with age.
The tendency for elderly people to perceive, prefer, and remember positive images
and experiences more than negative ones.
Remaining in the same home and community in later life, adjusting but not leaving when
Aging In Place
A neighborhood or apartment complex whose population is mostly retired people who
moved to the location as younger adults and never left.
Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC)
The obligation of adult children to care for their aging parents.
Emotionally distant from their grandchildren. They are esteemed elders who are honored,
respected, and obeyed, expecting to get help whenever they need it. (AKA:
Entertain and “spoil” their grandchildren – especially in ways, or for reasons, that the
parents would not. (AKA: “fun-loving” grandparents)
Active in the day-to-day lives of their grandchildren. They live near them and see
Raise their grandchildren, usually because the parents are unable or unwilling to do
People over age 65, and often over age 85, who are physically infirm, very ill, or
Typically identified as five tasks of self-care that are important to independent living. The inability to perform any of these tasks is a sign of frailty.
- Activities Of Daily Life (ADLs)
- (Eating, bathing, toileting, dressing, and transferring from a bed to a chair)
Actions that are important to independent
living and that require some intellectual competence and forethought. The
ability to perform these tasks may be even more critical to self-sufficiency
than ADL ability.
- Instrumental Activities Of Daily Life (IADLs)
- (for example, paying bills and driving a car)
A living arrangement for elderly people that combines privacy and independence
with medical supervision.
The study of death and dying, especially of the
social and emotional aspects.
The idea that people adopt cultural values and moral principles in order to cope with their fear of death. This system of beliefs protects individuals from anxiety about their mortality and bolsters their self-esteem, so they react harshly when other people go against any of the moral principles involved.
Terror Management Theory (TMT)
An institution or program in which terminally ill patients receive palliative care to reduce suffering; family and friends of the dying are helped as well.
Care designed not to treat an illness but to provide physical and emotional comfort to the patient and support and guidance to his or family.
A situation in which an action has both a positive effect and a negative effect
- Double Effect
- Action (such as administering opiates)
- Positive Effect (relieving a terminally ill person’s pain)
- Negative Effect (hastening death by suppressing respiration)
A situation in which a seriously ill person is allowed to die naturally, through the cessation of medical intervention.
A written order from a physician that no attempt should be made to revive a patient if he or she suffers cardiac or respiratory arrest.
- Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)
- (sometimes initiated by a patient’s advance directive or by a health care proxy’s request)
A situation in which someone takes action to bring about another person’s death, with the intention of ending that person’s suffering.
A form of active euthanasia in which a doctor provides the means for someone to end his or her own life.
The argument that a given action will start a chain of events that will culminate in an undesirable outcome.
A document that indicates what medical intervention an individual prefers if he or she is not conscious when a decision is to be expressed.
- Living Will
- (For example, some do not want mechanical breathing.)
A person chosen by another person to make medical decisions if the second person becomes unable to do so.
- Health Care ProxyDurable Power of Attorney (DPOA)
The complicated and multifaceted feelings of loss following a death.
The deep sorrow that people feel at the death of another. It is personal and unpredictable.
The ceremonies and behaviors that a religion or culture prescribes for people to employ in expressing their bereavement after a death.
A type of mourning that impedes a person’s future life, usually because the person clings to sorrow or is buffeted by contradictory emotions.
A situation in which mourners do not grieve, either because other people do not allow grief to be expressed or because the mourners do not allow themselves to feel sadness.
A situation in which certain people, although they are bereaved, are prevented from mourning publicly by cultural customs or social restrictions.
A situation in which circumstances, such as a police investigation or an autopsy, interfere with the process of mourning.