Competency 1 Compassion and Respectful Care of Older Adults Study Guide
Gerontology is the broad term used to define the study of aging and/or the aged.
Geriatrics is often used as a generic term relating to older adults, but specifically refers to the medical care of older
adults. Geriatricians are physicians trained in geriatric medicine.
● “old” is often defined as over 65 years of age
● young old (ages 65–74
● middle old (ages 75–84), and the old old
● frail elders (ages 85 and up)
Genomics is the identification of gene sequences in the DNA
Genetics is the study of heredity and the transmission of certain genes through generations
Psychosocial Theories of Aging
Sociological Theories- Changing roles, relationships, status, and generational cohort impact the older adult’s ability to
● Activity - Remaining occupied and involved is necessary to a satisfying late life. Society expects retirees to
remain active in their communities.
● Disengagement -Gradual withdrawal from society and relationships serves to maintain social equilibrium and
promote internal reflection.
● Subculture -The elderly prefer to segregate from society in an aging subculture sharing loss of status and societal
negativity regarding the aged. Health and mobility are key determinants of social status.
● Continuity -Personality influences roles and life satisfaction and remains consistent throughout life. Past coping
patterns recur as older adults adjust to physical, financial, and social decline and contemplate death. Identifying
with one’s age group, finding a residence compatible with one’s limitations, and learning new roles
postretirement are major tasks.
● Age stratification -Society is stratified by age groups that are the basis for acquiring resources, roles, status, and
deference from others. Age cohorts are influenced by their historical context and share similar experiences,
beliefs, attitudes, and expectations of life-course transitions.
● Person-Environment-Fit -Function is affected by ego strength, mobility, health, cognition, sensory perception,
and the environment. Competency changes one’s ability to adapt to environmental demands.
● Gerotranscendence -The elderly transform from a materialistic/rational perspective toward oneness with the
universe. Successful transformation includes an outward focus, accepting impending death, substantive
relationships, intergenerational connectedness, and unity with the universe.
Psychological Theories -Explain aging in terms of mental processes, emotions, attitudes, motivation, and personality
development that is characterized by life stage transitions.
● Human needs -Five basic needs motivate human behavior in a lifelong process toward need fulfillment.
● Individualism -Personality consists of an ego and personal and collective unconsciousness that views life from a
personal or external perspective. Older adults search for life meaning and adapt to functional and social losses.
● Stages of personality -Personality develops in eight sequential stages with corresponding life development
tasks. The eighth phase, integrity versus despair, is characterized by evaluating life accomplishments; struggles
include letting go, accepting care, detachment, and physical and mental decline.
● Life-course/life span -Life stages are predictable and structured by roles, relationships, values, development,
and goals. Persons adapt to changing roles and relationships. Age-group norms and characteristics are an
important part of the life course.