Social Characteristics of an Aging Population Video

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  • 0:02 Late Adulthood
  • 1:00 Social Challenges
  • 2:28 Financial Challenges
  • 4:02 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.

As people age, they face new challenges and changes in their social life. In this lesson, we will discuss the social characteristics of the aging population, including marital status, living arrangements, financial issues, and workforce issues.

Late Adulthood

Edie just turned 80, and she figured that, by this age, she'd be pretty well settled. But her life is still rapidly changing around her. Her husband passed last year, and now she's wondering if she should stay in her home or move somewhere else.

Edie is in late adulthood, or the time of life after age 65. This time of life is characterized by lots of life changes and challenges. Take Edie: she's dealing with grief and possibly a move. Plus, she's retired, so her finances are always a concern. All of this is very different from how it was a couple of decades ago, when she was in middle age!

Many of the changes and challenges that older adults face are not unique to old age. However, the combination of all of the challenges together makes for a new challenge for many people. Let's look closer at some of the changes that people in late adulthood might face.

Social Challenges

One of the biggest areas of change for older adults is in the social sphere. Remember that Edie's husband died last year, and she is now considering moving.

Marital status often changes in late adulthood, either due to widowhood or divorce. Edie has seen this in herself and her friends. As a widow, Edie has to deal with what it means to be alone for the first time in a very long time. Some of her friends are dealing with a similar adjustment as they go through divorces.

In addition, many older adults' living arrangements change as they age. Edie's not sure she wants to stay in her house all by herself, so she's been considering moving to a retirement home. Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and retirement homes (or continuing care communities) are all part of a system of housing that many older adults end up utilizing as they age.

Edie doesn't need a nursing home or assisted living facility yet because she's able to take care of herself. But being in a retirement community that allows her to be around people her age and take advantage of health care and social options might be a good move for her. Isolation is a serious danger for many older adults, and if Edie can surround herself with people she enjoys being around, she can avoid isolation. Since isolation can lead to serious psychological and physical issues, this is a very good thing to avoid!

Financial Challenges

The social changes with regards to marital status, living arrangements and isolation are not the only ones facing Edie. As a retired person, she also faces new challenges that she didn't have when she was working.

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