Late Adult Development and Influence of Environment

Although many factors and changes occurring both from the physical and cognitive side can be classified as impairments, the later years of a person’s life are still associated with human development. However, without a doubt, the development at this stage largely depends on people’s past, on how they lived before that, what way of life they followed. In addition, the environment and its ability to influence human life are extremely important.

In the context of the late adult’s physical development and the changes taking place in their bodies, the most curious moment seems to me to be the effect of the environment on a person. Although biological aging of people occurs at different rates, according to studies, by the age of 75-80, environmental factors become significant for human health and well-being (Berk, 2018). Confirmation of this can be found in everyday life if one compares the well-being and state of health of the elderly in different places. While in metropolitan areas, people have more diseases and die younger, in remote regions of various kinds, such as the Greek island of Ikaria, people can live much longer, recovering from severe conditions and being healthier (Buettner, 2012). The case of Moraitis in the above article is the most striking example of this, demonstrating that under the right conditions, a person can be cured of even the most terrible diseases.

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What’s even more curious to me is that the environment can also affect a person’s cognitive abilities. In this case, it is not only the environment in the form of inanimate objects that is important but also the social component. One of the most common problems at this age is memory loss. Although cognitive changes are most individual at this age, a large proportion of the elderly suffers from dementia (Berk, 2018). Unfortunately, this condition is associated precisely with misery for many people since it is impossible to find any cure. However, a fascinating fact is that there is an alternative way of existence with such a diagnosis, not combined with pain. While large numbers of older adults with dementia receive minimal care and are labeled as sick, the example of the specially crafted city of Hogeway demonstrates that creating a friendly environment for them increases their comfort (Planos, 2014). The environment is crucial for the older generation; therefore, it is necessary to support the elderly, providing them with a comfortable existence even in the later years.

References

Berk, L.E. (2018). Exploring lifespan development (4th ed.). Pearson.

Buettner, D. (2012). The island where people forget to die. The New York Times Magazine.

Planos, J. (2014). The Dutch village where everyone has dementia. The Atlantic. 

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