Module 7: Physical, Cognitive, and Psychosocial

Changes in Late Adulthood and End of life

PSYC 283

Human development


Explain the physical, cognitive, and psychosocial changes in late adulthood.

Analyze the biological, social, cultural, historical, religious, legal, psychological, developmental, medical, and ethical aspects that converge in death.

Define the different forms of assisted dying.


Primary aging is a gradual and inevitable process of bodily deterioration that begins at a young age and continues over the years, no matter what people do to postpone it.

Secondary aging results from disease, abuse, and inactivity, factors that can often be controlled by the individual (Busse, 1987; J.C. Horn and Meer, 1987).

These two philosophies of aging can be compared to the well-known debate between nature and nurture and, as always, the truth lies somewhere in between.


Death is an important chapter of human development. People change in response to death and agony, whether their own or that of a loved one.

Even without suffering from an identifiable disease, around the age of 100, near the current limit of the human life cycle, people tend to experience functional impairments, lose interest in eating and drinking, and die naturally.

Death is a biological fact, but it also includes social, cultural, historical, religious, legal, psychological, developmental, medical and ethical aspects.

Although death and loss are universal experiences, they have a cultural and historical context.

Cultural and religious attitudes toward death and the dying influence the way individuals deal with their own death.

End of life

People often suffer cognitive and functional impairments shortly before death.

Some who are close to dying have “near-death” experiences that may result

from physiological changes.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross proposed five stages to face death:

Negation Wrath Negotiation Depression Acceptance

These stages and their sequence are not universal.

End of life

Euthanasia and assisted suicide are linked to controversial ethical, medical and legal issues.

 Passive euthanasia- Retention or discontinuation  deliberate treatment that prolongs the life of a

terminally ill person to end their suffering or allow them to die with dignity.

 Active euthanasia- Deliberate action to shorten the

 life of a person suffering from a terminal illness with the aim of ending his suffering or allowing him to die with dignity; it is also known as compassion murder.

 Advance directives (will in life)- A document that specifies the type of care the person wants in the event of a terminal or disabling illness.

 Attorney’s Durable Power- Legal instrument designating an individual to make decisions in the event that the power of attorney is unable to do so.

 Assisted suicide- Option in which a doctor or someone else helps the person end their life.

End of life

Finding meaning and purpose in life and death.

The more meaning and purpose people find in their lives, the less they tend to fear death.

Recapitulation of life helps people prepare for death and gives them one last chance to complete unfinished tasks. Even the process of dying can be a developmental experience.

¡Congratulations you have completed the theoretical

summary of this week’s topic!

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Module 7: Physical, Cognitive, and Psychosocial

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