Physical body effects occurring during the aging process
The skin is one of the peripheral body organs that clearly indicate changes in the aging process. It is evident by the continual loss of skin elasticity in adults. In the process, wrinkles are formed alongside the pigmentation related to senescence. Collagen and elastin are protein fibers whose presence makes the skin consume slack and stay adherent tightly onto the underlying skin structures (Abdulraheem, 2014).
Changes in the eyesight are prominently evident in the elderly, especially those above their 50s for whom their decline in visual acuity seems to be accelerating. The reason most elderly people above 50s use eyeglasses is to compensate readily for this reduction in visual acuity. Also, aging brings reduced ability in changing the eye focus for examining far and near objects (presbyopia).
Again loss of teeth is very common with the elderly people that increase with age, especially above the 60s. It could perhaps be caused by tooth decaying through water fluoridation that takes place over time. Tooth decay reduces the contact ability between the tooth and the gums as some enzymes and tissues get destroyed in the decaying process.
Elderly people slowly respond to the healings done to the bone fractures in comparison to the younger individuals. In fact, teens respond fastest to fracture reconnections. The reason for this could be due to the gradual loss of calcium in bones, which increases with aging.
Body systems that get affected by physical changes experienced during the aging process
Progressive loss of calcium in the bones affects the skeletal system making the bones prone to breakages even with little falls. Again it reduces the mobility of body joints thus increasing the chances of arthritis (Santanasto, 2015). Loss of teeth in adults reduces their effectiveness to digestive systems especially at the initial stages of food chewing. Other factors such as reduced hydrochloric acid secretion and digestive enzymes generation affect the overall digestive system in the elderly. Skin changes especially the formation of wrangles and reduced generation of collagen and elastin fibers reduce the functionality of the skin-related respiratory system.
Loss of teeth in the elderly would obviously limit the ability of that particular individual to abandon entirely certain foods or consume them in forms other than their real status. For instance, an elderly person would opt for consuming massed meat instead of roasted meant since the later would not be absorbed with ease due to the missing or painful teeth. The decline in visual acuity in the elderly renders them to life with eyeglasses or surgery to restore them from instances of cataracts and glaucoma conditions that are associated with opaque or non-luminous lenses and strong intra-ocular pressure respectively (Stolarek, 2011). Occurrences of bone fractures in the elderly people may lead to situations of acquired physical challenges in these people. This is because their bones are more fragile with slow responce to their healings. Again, calcium loss may lead to osteoporosis condition, associated with loss of minerals and calcium from the bone.
Description of the eights stages of Erikson's model
The stages of Erikson’s model take into account of how the external factors, society and parents impacts on the personality development of individuals right from childhood through to adulthood (Sokol, 2009). These eight stages are interrelated throughout the whole life cycle.
At the initial phase, taking place between infancy and 18 months of age, the emphasis is focused on the nurturing abilities of parenting by both of the parents particularly regarding touch and visual contact. The child will, therefore, develop trust, optimism, security and confidence if well taken care of else the child may develop worthlessness, misconduct and general insecurity to the outside world (Sokol, 2009).
Stage two happens between 18 months and three years where the child gets an opportunity for building autonomy and self-esteem through the acquisition of new skills and differentiation of rights from wrongs. It is also the same stage where defiance, stubbornness and temperaments may emerge (Sokol, 2009).
The third phase is the preschooler, occurring between age three and five years where children try to emulate adults in their surrounding and develop or make up play and story situations.
Next is the school age, experienced between six and twelve years, which is also referred to as the latency. It is the phase where teens create, accomplish and learn various skills and knowledge and gaining the industrial sense for competence.
Stage five is the adolescent phase taking place between twelve and eighteen years. This is where the development cycle twists upside-down as development no longer depend on what is done to the person but rather what he or she does. Adolescents strain to identify and evaluate their identities while surpassing several social engagements (Sokol, 2009). They start to acquire strong devotion and affiliation to friends, causes, and ideas.
The sixth stage happens for young adults between 18 and 35 years where people try to look for love and companionship. Others start settling in life with families for which isolation may be experienced if the process does not become successful (Sokol, 2009).
Stage seven takes place between age 35 and 55 or 65 years, often referred to the middle-aged category. Here, work, family, and career are an essential stuff in life with greater control and responsibility.
The last stage occurs from 55 or 65 years till death, known as the late adult, which involves the reflection of a life spent in preparation for middle adulthood and the later stages. Some may reflect back with a sense of integrity and purpose of life (Sokol, 2009).
Most of the physical impairments occurring on the body such as loss of vision, teeth, and fragile bones would happen in the later stages of Erikson’s model, i.e. when people are above their 50s. Strengths of Erikson’s model entail his comprehensive analysis of the eight stages of personality development which holds through culture and time. The major weakness of this model is that it does not factor the prospect of development changes in various cultures and timings which might incline the ages for different development phases.
A comparison of Erikson’s model and Piaget’s model, for example, are all built on the basis that development of personality occurs throughout people’s lifecycle. Therefore, people get inspired by their learning process from the surroundings. On the other hand, these two models differ in the sense that Erikson’s model is based on the full development process in eight phases. Piaget’s cognitive development model views thought processes of an individual with analysis focusing primarily at the earlier development and growth stages, usually below 12 years of age (Paul, 2014).
Abdulraheem, I. (2014). The Physiology and Physical Changes of Human Aging. Nig Med Pract Nigerian Medical Practitioner, 44(2).
Santanasto, A. J. (2015). Effects of changes in regional body composition on physical function in older adults: A pilot randomized controlled trial. J Nutr Health Aging The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, 19(9), 913-921.
Stolarek, I. (2011). Physiological Changes Due to Age. Drugs & Aging, 1(6), 67-76.
Sokol, Justin T. (2009): "Identity Development Throughout the Lifetime: An Examination of Eriksonian Theory." Graduate Journal of Counseling Psychology.
Paul, R. (2014). Jean Piaget's Cognitive Model. An Introduction to Theories of Human Development, 229-276.