Factors of Ageing

Explain factors which influence ageing

What is 'old age' or 'elderly'?

"Most developed world countries have accepted the chronological age of 65 years as 'elderly'."
- Reference One
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Trust vs. Mistrust

A newborn is like a helpless being, therefore they might view the outside world as threatening. Depending on how he is treated by people around him, the sense of threat will be replaced by trust so that the infant can have a sense of security and will be able to build trust for people around him.

Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt

Children should be taught the basic ways of taking care of themselves such as hygiene practices (changing clothes and feeding themselves). If this is not met, the child will only continue to rely on other people and when compared with other kids of the same age, they might eventually feel shameful and may even doubt their own abilities to carry out simple tasks.

Initiative vs. Guilt

Children are expected to do some basic decision making for their own good; and failure/inability to do these simple things may lead them to ask assistance from other people and this leads them feeling guilty.

Industry vs. Inferiority

During the primary school age, children apply effort to develop self-confidence but otherwise, they become inferior if they feel that they are incapable of acquiring achievements or something that they can show off to their parents.

Identity vs. Role Confusion

During adolescence, the child is expected to develop his or her sexual identity. Most adolescents may find it confusing in carrying out activities as to whether it is more appropriate for them or for an adult. Crisis at this stage may also be brought about by expectations from themselves and from other people.

Intimacy vs. Isolation

People at this stage become worried about finding the right partner or spending the rest of their lives alone. Young adults are most vulnerable to feel intimacy and loneliness because this is the phase where a lot of interactions with other people occur.

Generativity vs. Stagnation

Adults who are in their 40’s or 50’s feel like at this point in their lives, they should be able to contribute something meaningful to the society. If they are not able to achieve this sense of satisfaction, they feel like they have been an unproductive member of the society.

Ego Integrity vs. Despair

Those who are past the age of 60, experience this kind of psychosocial crisis. This is the age when people retire from work and what gives meaning to their lives is that when they look back, they feel a sense of fulfilment knowing that they have done something significant during their younger years. However, if they recall life events and feel disappointed and underachieved, it is most likely that they experience feelings of despair.

- Reference Two

‘Older Age’ cannot be specifically defined as everyone has their own perspective. Individuals’ attitudes vary so even though one person may feel old at 65, someone who is 86 might not feel old at all; this is due to their own point of view.

The government however may also have a different perspective, and they could assume older age is when services are available for no charge to individuals, for example prescriptions, eye tests and dental check ups etc.

What are the factors?

There are many factors of ageing, below I have listed a few.

Having an active lifestyle helps increase the chance of an individual living longer as their body and muscles are constantly being used. Someone who is in a wheelchair or bed all day everyday will eventually lose muscle, which will make it very hard, if not, impossible for them to use them again.


Elderly not getting the correct nutrients or having a balanced diet can affect their health, which could lead on to increased ageing.

Overeating may increase the chances of an individual getting diabetes or increased risk of other health issues, for example heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers.
On the other hand, the elderly are prone to malnutrition. When an individual is malnourished, it can also lead them to having health problems. Their bodies will become frail and they will become prone to accidents and infections.

Researchers have found that insufficient amounts/lack of sleep can have a similar impact on the body to the ageing process and may increase the severity of age-related chronic disorders, such as heart disease and diabetes as lack of sleep causes chemical changes in the body.

A diminishing immune system means the elderly are more likely to contract diseases. Continuously being ill can seriously weaken the body, and in some cases, a small infection or disease can lead to serious situations, which increases the chance of the individual dying quicker.

- Reference Three & Four

Having a family history of people dying at a young age may influence the age at which an individual passes away.

Living conditions
Having nice living conditions (for example a clean, germ-free, low accident risk home) compared to a not very nice living condition (surrounded by germs, diseases, accident prone home) will increase your chance of living longer. Living in a home that's free from infections and diseases allow an individual to not get as ill, especially considering the elderly are very vulnerable and their immune systems are weak.

An elderly individual that experiences a death of a friend/family member may encounter a decrease in their state of mind, which could lead on to increased ageing.


Reference One - www.who.int

[Last Accessed 31.03.15]

Reference Two - http://www.psychologynoteshq.com/erikerikson/

[Last Accessed 31.03.15]

Reference Three - http://www.kznhealth.gov.za/nutrition/ageing.htm

[Last Accessed 31.01.15]

Reference Four - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/481340.stm

[Last Accessed 31.01.15]

Lauren Hewitt

Task Three - Factors and Theories of Ageing
Dementia and Elderly

Submission Date: 4th May 2015.