Social Issues in Late Adulthood: Risk Factors & Impact

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  • 0:02 Late Adulthood
  • 0:49 Poverty
  • 1:56 Elder Abuse
  • 3:34 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Late adulthood is often called the 'golden years' of a person's life. But it's not always a positive experience. In this lesson, we'll look at two common issues that occur in late adulthood: poverty and elder abuse.

Late Adulthood

Reggie is 72, and he's facing some problems. He worked hard for most of his life and saved money as best he could, but he lost a lot of money a few years ago when he made some bad investments, and now that he's retired, he barely has enough money to survive.

Because of his limited income, he's moved in with his daughter and her family, and some bad things have been happening. His daughter sometimes says things that are mean, and sometimes his son-in-law hits him.

Reggie is in late adulthood, or the time of life after age 65. As people age, they are particularly vulnerable to certain life issues. Let's look closer at two issues that people like Reggie face: poverty and elder abuse.


Reggie is facing some financial issues, which is not uncommon. Most people in late adulthood are on a fixed income. Following retirement, people often have to live on some combination of savings, pension, and social security. Because they aren't working anymore, they may find that they have much less money to spend, and some (like Reggie) find that they fall below the poverty line.

Poverty is a big issue in late adulthood. It affects many people and can have an adverse effect on physical and mental health as well as diminishing the rates of happiness and life satisfaction. For example, Reggie is very stressed out about money, which has caused his blood pressure to go up. He's also depressed about his money situation and is generally unhappy with his life.

Like many people his age, Reggie has some physical challenges. Not only does he have high blood pressure, he also suffers from arthritis. Because these things cost money to treat, Reggie's lack of funds has an even more detrimental effect on his health.

Elder Abuse

Poverty isn't Reggie's only issue, though. He is also experiencing elder abuse, which occurs when someone causes harm to a person in late adulthood, through either action or negligence. Often, the abuser is a caretaker.

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