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Human Growth & Development

  Late Adulthood
- The Frail Elderly -

Human Growth & Development

•  The Frail elderly:  people over age 65 who are physically infirm, very ill, or cognitively impaired.
•  Activities of daily life (ADLs):  actions that are important to independent living, typically comprising five tasks: eating, bathing, toileting, dressing, & transferring from a bed to a chair; inability to perform these tasks is a sign of frailty.
•  Instrumental activities of daily life (IADLs):  actions that are important to independent living and that require some intellectual competence & forethought; even more critical to self-sufficiency than ADLs; ex: paying bills, shopping, etc.

Ψ  Increasing Prevalence of Frailty  Why?

•  More people are reaching old age.
•  Modern medical technology prolongs life.
•  Health care has largely been designed to rescue individuals from acute illnesses, such as cancer, while ignoring the longstanding, chronic complaints of the elderly.
•  Measures that could prevent or reduce impairment: everything from adequate nutrition to safe housing do not necessarily reach the frailest elderly.

Ψ  Caregivers often feel unfairly burdened & resentful because:

•  Other family members tend to feel relieved not to do their share rather than obligated to help out.
•  Care-receivers & caregivers often disagree about the care that is needed.
•  Social services designed to support caregivers are difficult to obtain.

It's a Mickey Mouse World , isn't it?

Ψ  Caring

•  Respite care: an arrangement in which a professional caregiver takes over to give the family caregiver of a frail elderly person a break for a few hours each day or for an occasional weekend.
•  The best nursing homes recognize the individuality of the elderly & encourage their independence.

Ψ  Elder Abuse

•  The elderly are very vulnerable to abuse because they depend on others for care and are often confused about many things.
•  87% of the perpetrators are family members
•  Most elderly victims endure spousal abuse for years because they are too ashamed to admit it & too dependent to leave.

Growth & Development
Robert C. Gates

Grow old with me! The best is yet to be. - Robert Browning