Psychoanalyst Erik Erikson theorized middle adulthood as the stage of Generativity
Psychoanalyst Erik Erikson theorized middle adulthood as the stage of Generativity – Versus – Stagnation as the in middle adulthood in which individuals consider their contributions to their society, family, community and work (Feldman 2017 pg. 585). According to Erick, this psychosocial stage of development occurs during middle adulthood (between 40 – 65 years of age). Through mentoring or parenting, people strive to provide guidance and encouragement to their future generations during the generativity stage. They can choose to contribute to other people’s lives in positive ways. Moreover, the generativity stage suggests that people will try to make a mark on the world by caring for other people and creating and doing things that make the world a better place to live. Nevertheless, stagnation refers to a person’s failure to contribute, and consequently, such a person disconnects or gets uninvolved with the community or society. Several individuals who go through the Generativity Versus Stagnation stage can successfully have a sense of accomplishment towards their contribution to their society or community.
Nevertheless, in development, Erick Erickson considers Ego Integrity Versus Despair Stage to be the final stage. In this stage, according to Feldman (2017, pg. 655), the human being is known for looking back over his life, evaluating it, in addition to coming to terms with it. This stage has been taking place in late adulthood, which starts at 65 until death; people can be paying attention to evaluating their contribution and accomplishment and impacts they have made to community, society and comes into agreement with facing the end. Hence, ego integrity is successfully achieved. Though several adults can look back and develop a sense of regret with their lives, such adults can feel that they could not accomplish what they work for or missed out on opportunities. Consequently, these adults are likely to become angry, depressed or unhappy. Therefore, if the adults do not become successful at this stage, they can become victims of despair.
Consequently, a positive or negative outcome can be brought about by occurrence. As an attempt to accomplish each development stage before time, many people go social challenges; hence, making it difficult for them to have positive relationships with other people. For some people, these challenges have been leading to negative outcomes. Nevertheless, in the generativity stage, a positive outcome can emerge when society’s social aspects are understood and managed. While ego integrity versus despair stage, failure to achieve goals will make an individual view late adulthood negatively, they can face challenges fitting into society; hence, in late adulthood, a lot of care is needed. Thus, a positive or adverse result can be achieved by event. As an endeavor to achieve every improvement stage before time, numerous individuals go social difficulties; consequently, making it hard for them to have positive associations with others. For certain individuals, these difficulties have been prompting adverse results. By the by, in the generativity stage, a positive result can arise when society’s social angles are perceived and overseen. While sense of self honesty versus despair stage, inability to accomplish objectives will make an individual view late adulthood adversely, they can confront difficulties finding a way into society; subsequently, in late adulthood, a ton of care is required.
During late adulthood, human beings have been undergoing both cognitive and physical changes, which affect their quality of life and lastly lead them to death. Nevertheless, motor abilities, physical appearance, and sensation are profoundly affected in late adulthood. The formation of wrinkles starts, and the skin starts becoming thin and less elastic. Beneath the surface of the skin, the small blood vessels break. Moreover, the age spots form on the body. As melanin decreases, hair turns gray and thin. Since the bone density decreases, the height of an individual lessens by an inch or two. The aging’s double standard applies to men and women into older adulthood, like how it was in middle adulthood. Older men can still best distinguish, as older women are being referred to over the hill, and past the prime of life.
As the senses start to become dull, with age, the eyes’ lenses become rigid and discolor; hence, interfere with the ability to read, perception of distance and color. Therefore, older adults will be needed to wear corrective glasses or lens. The hearing starts diminishing, specifically detecting high-pitched sounds, which becomes a problem. Nevertheless, with widely available hearing aids, hearing problems are always corrected. At the same time, in old age, taste remains the same, though elderly persons can have difficulties distinguishing the tastes in the blended foods.
Apart from the dulling of the senses and changes in appearance, the fine motor abilities decrease and reflex slow with the old age. Some adults have been experiencing a slow reduction in how they respond to certain spontaneous events during late adulthood. This is common for older people who have been driving. The reaction times of older people will decline to the extent that they start hazardously operating their vehicles.
Also, on sexuality, aging has been taking its toll. Older women are known for producing less vaginal lubrication and their vagina becoming less stretchable because female hormone levels have reduced. Unlike young men, older men are less able to attain orgasms and erections and reduced testosterone levels because they produce fewer secretions from accessory sex glands. Likewise, older men have little or no urge to ejaculate or have long waiting times before regaining an erection. Furthermore, such changes in their sexual abilities ought not to prevent older adults from enjoying their sex life.
Nevertheless, among the inevitable consequences of aging is intellectual decline. Older adults learn more slowly, in addition to performing less well on tasks that involve memorization and imagination, unlike the younger adults, do, though what older adults can lack in terms of specific mental tasks, they have been making up for in wisdom, or expert and practical knowledge based on their life experience. Moreover, older adults experience memory problems because of sensory storage issues in the short-term instead of the long‐term memory processes. Older adults have much fewer difficulties in recalling places and names from long ago, unlike they do when recalling or acquiring new information.
Furthermore, practice and repetition assist in minimizing the decline of memory and some cognitive functions. Older adults who have been keeping their mind fit and active continue to learn and grow, though somehow slowly that the young adults. On the part of the elderly and their significant others, understanding and patient, memory training, and continuing education are significant for maintaining their quality of life and mental abilities in the later years.
Notably, for all adults and in the old age, death is inevitable. All adults are known for going through physical declines that eventually lead them to death. Though some older adults will remain healthy, some will suffer from terminal diseases like stroke, heart diseases, and cancer. In some, the inability of the body to recuperate can cause death. Moreover, aging, genetic programming theories assume that the DNA genetic coding of the body contains limited time on the cell production within the body; hence, this speeds up the aging process, something that will eventually lead to death. Other theories, such as wear and tear theories, claim that after a certain duration, the body always physically wears out with age because of environmental and situational factors. These factors contribute to the impairment of the body’s ability to function and will later lead to deterioration and, eventually, death. Though these theories suggest that the bodies will decline, but it remains unclear why they deteriorate and die. Moreover, our population’s life expectancy has seen tremendously increased over the past few centuries with differences in gender, race, and ethnicity as factors. Researchers also believed that the individuals’ life span rate is likely to increase because of technological advances in medicine, sanitation, and a balanced diet. The life span of aging adults can also be increased by organ replacement (Feldman, 2017, Pg. 627-37).