As we emerge from young adulthood into midlife adulthood many changes takes place. The course text describes middle adulthood as the years between ages 40 and 65, but this definition is more of a generalization, for there is no specific biological or social event that marks this period. Instead, the middle years are marked more by growing individual differences and the paths that one decides to embark on. In other words, what people do and how they live has a lot to do with how they age.
People entering their middle ages do see some physical changes. In fact, one of the major aspects of middle adulthood are the physical and biological changes that occur in the body. Two of these changes that seem to be the most noticeable are seeing and hearing. Both of these begin to decline in the middle years. Hearing loss also proceeds twice as quickly in men as in women, and a lot of these incidences of rapid hearing loss in both sexes could have been prevented by wearing hearing protectors in noisy environments earlier in life.
Other changes that occur in the midlife stage are changes in our abilities to taste and smell. As we get older, foods may seem blander to us. But these changes vary from person to person. Some people may become less sensitive to salty foods, where as others may become lass sensitive to sweet, bitter, or sour foods.
One aspect of the physical changes that occur in middle adulthood are in height. Most people get a little shorter throughout the years. Also, people eventually experience graying hair, increased wrinkles in the skin, and body sagging. In combat to these changes, some adults try to make themselves look younger by having plastic surgery, dying their hair, joining exercise programs, and taking heavy vitamin doses.
Even though the adult years through the middle ages are generally a time of vitality and good health, there still are some health concerns to consider. Although large proportions of middle aged and older adults show little or no decline in organ functioning, there are still issues to raise important concerns. Changes in the heart functioning and thickening of in arterial walls may make the heart worker harder, causing heart disease. In general, the main health problems of middle-aged adulthood are cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and problems brought on by the prostrate and menopause. These health issues, if not given the proper attention, may end a life much earlier than with preventative health measures such as proper diet, exercise, and routine health screenings.
Upon the many changes that middle-aged adults go through, cogitative abilities has been a subject of debate. Some research points to declines in both verbal and performance in middle aged adults, where other research notices little or no change. The decline or increase in abilities seems to have much to do with one?s work environment and education. Work can influence cognitive functioning, and middle aged adults who have jobs that require thought and independent judgment, stimulates more flexible thinking, allowing them to do more complex tasks. If work both at home and at our jobs can be more meaningful and challenging, than adults are much likelier to retain or even improve their cognitive abilities. In other words, the phrase ?Use it or lose it? just doesn?t pertain to the body, but the mind as well.
The middle age years are also very important in terms of psychosocial development. Change and continuity in midlife must be seen in the perspective of the entire life span. E. Erikson stated that the primary psychosocial task of middle adulthood is to develop generativity, the concern of mature adults for establishing and guiding the next generation, or the desire to expand one?s influence and commitment to family, society, and future generations. The adult that fails to develop generativity, experiences stagnation, or self-absorption usually develops self-indulgence and invalidism.
The midlife years could also be known for its mid-life crisis, a time of reevaluation of long held beliefs and values. Mid-life crisis can also result in a divorce, changing jobs, and moving to different locations. Usually, the crisis occurs in response to a sense of mortality, as these people may realize that they aren?t as young as they used to be, and they have not accomplished all their desired goals in life. On the other hand, not everyone will experience this upset in midlife, instead they may