Problems of development of the late age - Psychology

Tasks of development of advanced age

In Erickson's concept, old age is associated with resolving the last psychosocial conflict - the integrity of the ego against despair. The main task of people of this age is to find the meaning of a lived life, in accepting it.


Those of the elderly who are satisfied with their lives, believe that life has meaning, experience a sense of completeness and integrity. Those who do not accept their life, see in it only mistakes, missed opportunities, is disappointed, feels desperate, worthless. The ideal solution to the conflict entails, according to E. Erikson, the preponderance of a sense of integrity, lightly colored by realistic despair, which leads to the wisdom of the "basic virtue" of late age.

P. Peck adds three more dilemmas that an elderly person should resolve:

1. Differentiating the ego against being absorbed by roles. If people define themselves only within the framework of their work or family, then retirement or care of the children of the fracture can cause such an influx of negative emotions that a person is not able to cope with. An elderly person should have some other values, hobbies, interests that would allow him in this situation to experience a sense of satisfaction.

2. Transcendence of the body against absorption by the body. Safe aging presupposes the ability to avoid excessive concentration on all the growing ills, pains and physical ailments with which it accompanies. Almost all old people are sick, but some remain able to enjoy life, the world around, find satisfaction in human relationships, in their own creative activity.

3. Transcendences of the ego against the absorption of the ego. People should not indulge in thoughts of death (immersing themselves in the "night of the ego"). Through children, elements of culture, friends and loved ones, a person can extend his own actions beyond the limits of life time. Death is inevitable, but a person must be able to pay the value of his life in future generations, family, ideas, and his deeds.

United States psychologist A. G. Liedere believes that the leading activity of the elderly is a special "inner work" aimed at adopting one's life path. An elderly person comprehends not only his current life but also his entire life. The main age-psychological, meaningful task of this age is the acceptance of one's life path as it was.

According to the adult development model of R. Heiwigurst, the tasks of the elderly are:

1) adaptation to the decline of physical strength and deterioration of health;

2) adaptation to retirement and income reduction;

3) adaptation to the death of a spouse;

4) establishing strong ties with your age group;

5) the fulfillment of social and civic obligations;

6) ensuring satisfactory living conditions.

One of the most significant events of a late age is considered to be retirement . This entails a drastic change in the life stereotype, as the style and way of life change, the familiar circle of communication narrows, there is an excess of free time, material wealth decreases, and the former status and social roles are lost. An elderly person must be able to adapt to new life conditions, although it is subjectively difficult for him to adapt to forced changes, and even against the background of a decrease in physical strength and deterioration of health. Especially difficult to adapt to the retirement is for those whose identity is closely related to the professional role. Often this event is viewed as stressful, leading to a decrease in life satisfaction, loss of identity, deterioration of health, increased marital conflicts, increased suicide, increased mortality.

Meanwhile, recent studies in the field of gerontopsychology have revealed that the so-called "pension stress" is one of the most common negative stereotypes in society-in reality it is not always found. The most often negative experiences associated with retirement are experienced by people with lower socioeconomic status, education level and income, poor health, or those who have experienced more stressful events during their lifetime.


A review of foreign literature shows that retirement does not increase the risk of either death or ill health. Moreover, 43% of the elderly reported that their health improved after retirement (source: Handbook of Social Development, 1992). Similar results were obtained in our country: satisfaction with life of elderly people after retirement was higher than they expected. According to 50% of pensioners, their spiritual and physical well-being remained unchanged (VD Shapiro).

Personal settings in relation to the specified period play an important role in adaptation to the retirement lifestyle. The process of adaptation to retirement is easier, if a person planned to leave, he predicted his future "pension" life.

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