The adult life can be separated into 3 different groups:
These groups refer to a physical and mental development of the individual. Aging is a multi-level event affecting every part of the body and soul. Every physiological effect has an emotional connection and the other way around. This unbreakable chain or reaction is the life DNA of the individual.
|Stability||Aging signs appear||The stress of having more people depend on you||Settle down||Continue to develop Career|
|Self-realization||Hair coloring||Worried about family/children||Grow a family||‘Climb the corporate ladder’|
|Increase self-esteem||Hair may disappear||Focus from “me” to “we”||Some will experience divorce||Pay down/off student loans|
|Balance in “have’s” and wants||Weight gain||Stable family||Establish own family traditions||Begin to invest in retirement|
|Increase income and savings||Child wish or not||Reach security||Develop “we” feeling||Responsible for a mortgage|
The early adulthood is an era where the body is strong and shows minimal signs of aging. They are young enough to enjoy physical activities without worrying about pain remedies that coincide when the body ages. Often the majority of hands-on parenting happens when adults are in their thirties. The thirties are also a time when most adults become established in their chosen careers and climb the corporate ladder.
With careers and families, the thirties can be a decade with more stability and routine. For some adults in their thirties, the increase of structure can be stifling. Most adults appreciate the increase of security the thirties has to offer.
Some adults embrace their thirties as a reprieve from the twenties. Other adults in their thirties find this decade just as challenging or more challenging due to the extra pressures of being an established adult. The extra pressures come from being married with children- or the pressure of finding a lifelong mate if that has not happened. In spite of the added responsibilities of marriage, family, and career the thirties can be a time when adults come into their own “world” and rhythm.
Most 30 + year olds, who are parents, are in the intense years of raising a family. It is necessary for all parents to look after their own physical, emotional and mental well-being while in the middle of raising a family. Lots of 30+-year-olds who are also parents have less free time and less social space than they had in their twenties. When being a 30+ single parent time is more compromised raising a family, for them a most difficult period in life starts. Finding other 30+-year-old friends and family is a source of support and understanding. Most 30+ year old find new friends through their children’s activities.
Theories of aging have been around since the dawn of men. Some are worth mentioning.
Theory of Jung
Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology
Youth: (puberty until 35 – 40) Maturing sexuality, growing consciousness, and a realization that the carefree days of childhood are gone forever. People strive to gain independence, find a mate, and raise a family.
Middle Life: (40-60) The realization that a person does live forever creates tension. If the individual desperately tries to cling to youth, the person fails in the process of self-realization. Jung believed that in midlife, one confronts one’s shadow. Religiosity may increase during this period, according to Jung.
Old Age: (60 and over) Consciousness is reduced. Jung thought that death is the ultimate goal of life. By realizing this, people will not face death with fear, but with a hope for rebirth.
Daniel Levinson’s theory
Daniel Levinson, Psychologist and one of the founders of the field of Positive Adult Development
This theory is a set of psychosocial ‘seasons’ through which adults must pass as they move through early adulthood and midlife. Each of these seasons is created by the challenges of building or maintaining a life structure, by the social norms that apply to particular age groups, particularly in relation to relationships and career. The process that underlies all these stages is individuation – a movement towards balance and wholeness over time. The key stages that he discerned in early adulthood and midlife were as follows:
Early Adult Transition (Ages 16–24)
Forming a Life Structure (Ages 24–28)
Settling down (Ages 29–34)
Becoming One’s Own Man (Ages 35–40)
Midlife Transition (the Early forties)
Restabilization, into Late Adulthood (Age 45 and on)
The ‘biopsychosocial’ approach to adult development states that in order to understand human development in its fullness, biological, psychological and social levels of analysis must be included. There are a variety of biopsychosocial meta-models, but all entail a commitment to the following four premises:
This must be called a holistic or contextualist viewpoint and can be contrasted with the reductionist approach to development, which tends to focus solely on biological or mechanistic explanations. But it is impossible to see one without the other.
Physical changes in adulthood
Physical development in midlife and beyond include changes at the biological level (senescence), larger organ and musculoskeletal levels. Sensory changes and degeneration begin to be common in midlife. Degeneration can include the break down of muscle, bones, and joints, leading to physical ailments such as sarcopenia or arthritis.
Adult neurogenesis and neuroplasticity
New neurons are constantly formed from stem cells in parts of the adult brain throughout adulthood, a process called adult neurogenesis. The hippocampus is the area of the brain that is most active in neurogenesis. Research shows that thousands of new neurons are produced in the hippocampus every day. The brain constantly changes and rewires itself throughout adulthood, a process known as neuroplasticity. Evidence suggests that the brain changes in response to diet, exercise, social environment, stress and toxin intake. These same external factors also influence genetic expression throughout adult life – a phenomenon known as genetic plasticity. This fact is only recently accepted and took science over 20 years to do so. Before this, the gene was considered a fixed fact and impossible to be changed. People were born and died with unchanged genetic code. Something impossible to believe and hold on to but was done for decennia.
Cognitive changes in adulthood
Dementia is characterized by persistent, multiple cognitive deficits in the domains including, but not limited to, memory, language, and visuospatial skills and can result from central nervous system dysfunction. Two forms of dementia exist: degenerative and nondegenerative. The progression of nondegenerative dementias, like head trauma and brain infections, can be slowed or halted but degenerative forms of dementia, like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Huntington’s are irreversible and incurable.
Optimizing health and mental well-being in adulthood
Exercising four to six times a week for thirty to sixty minutes has physical and cognitive effects such as lowering blood sugar and increasing neural plasticity (NEUREX). Physical activity reduces the loss of function by 10% each decade after the age of 60 and active individuals drop their rate of decline in half. Cardio activities like walking promote endurance while strength, flexibility, and balance can all be improved through Tai Chi, yoga, and water aerobics.
Diets containing foods with fiber, greens, and other specified personalized products are important for good health while minimizing foods with high sodium or animal fat content. A well-balanced diet can increase resistance to disease and improve management of chronic health problems thus making nutrition an important factor for health and well-being in adulthood.
Mental stimulation and optimism are vital to health and well-being. Adults who participate in intellectually stimulating activities every day are more likely to maintain their cognitive faculties and are less likely to show a decline in memory abilities. Mental exercise activities such as crossword puzzles, spatial reasoning tasks, and other mentally stimulating activities can help adults increase their brain fitness. This was already proven by former generations of elderly who seemed to have had less suffering from the different diseases. Additionally, researchers have found that optimism, community engagement, physical activity and emotional support can help older adults maintain their resiliency as they continue through their lifespan. Both grandmothers of Arnaud van der Veere did reach the age of 94 and were happy, humoristic, life enjoying ladies who were always open for the help to others. Two complete different lifestyles (countryside and city, healthy air and heavy smoker) but on the character aspects equal human beings. Both parents did reach the age of 84 with the same mentality.
Cognitive, physical, and social losses, as well as gains, are to be expected throughout the lifespan. Older adults typically self-reporting having a higher sense of well-being than their younger counterparts because of their emotional self-regulation. Researchers use Selective Optimization with Compensation Theory (SOC model, successful aging encompasses the selection of functional domains on which to focus one’s resources, optimizing developmental potential (maximization of gains) and compensating for losses—thus ensuring the maintenance of functioning and a minimization of losses. to explain how adults compensate for changes to their mental and physical abilities, as well as their social realities. Older adults can use both internal and external resources to help cope with these changes.