older-adults Older adulthood, or elderly, is generally described as 65+. Reaching this age is a milestone of great accomplishment, but can also provide its’ own set of challenges as end-of-life approaches and becomes inevitable.

Older adults will find that physically and mentally there seems to be a “slow down” that happens during this stage. Older adults will find it harder to get up and go the way they used to, and mental processes also become slowed, meaning learning new information make take longer than they are used to. This can be infuriating for adults who resist the natural tendency to slow down, especially those who were “always going” as adults.

Processes that appear immune to the slow-down include language and creativity as well as social functioning. Long-term memory also shows less age-related decline.

Additionally, the overall presence of mental health problems is at its’ lowest in older adults, and general life satisfaction is often the highest in this age group than any other

Biophysical: Reparative processes are slower in older adults than in their younger counterparts, so it takes longer to recover from illnesses or wounds. In addition, older adults are susceptible to a host of biological ailments: Bones and joints shrink, most older adults have at least one chronic illness, senses become less sharp (eyesight, smell, taste, etc.), short-term memory is slower to process new information, among other challenges.

Psychological: Generally, older adults tend to be more accepting. They have just about mastered their coping skills and are very adaptable to changes and challenges. Older adults are less likely to take risks and tend to be more cautious. Fear is also a common challenge, as the elderly are often targets for crime. There is also psychological stress associated with ageism.

Social: Society tends to favor youth – thus being an older adult comes with many societal challenges. Most relationships are family based or community based, as older adults often seek to fill their time in retirement with volunteerism and activism. A common challenge is limited mobility in older adulthood, which can hinder one’s attempts at being active socially.

Spiritual: Older adults tend to be more spiritual in religious terms than their younger counterparts. Much of religious ties come from an already established faith, although many people seek answers about the afterlife while they approach old age and may find a renewed spirituality during this time.


  1. http://www.apa.org/pi/aging/resources/guides/older.aspx