Health and Development (AT)

Life is really a one-way street –Author: Agatha Christie.

Stages of Adult Development.  Many writers including Erik Erikson, Roger Gould, Daniel Levinson, Bernice Neugarten,  and Gail Sheehy discuss stages of adult development. In general, the stages are:
  • Young adult (18-29):  A period of exploration, leaving home, trying out possibilities for careers; a time for escaping parental domination, of substituting friends for family; and, defining oneself as an adult.
  • Thirties: Time to assess gains and ask if the gains are worth the price – do they give personal satisfaction, are there alternatives to be considered? The late 30s are a usually a time for feeling mastery, competence, and focus.
  • Middle age (40-55):  A time of mid-life transitions; for men health and job concerns may dominate; for women, more opportunities to pursue interests as childbearing and child-rearing responsibilities wane. It is a time to look at goodness-of-fit of life structure and forces within that lead to modification or a drastically changed life structure. It is a time to value wisdom over physical prowess and place greater emphasis on socializing. One needs mental and emotional flexibility.
  • Late adulthood (55-75):  Men become more nurturing; women become more assertive. Retirement is an important issue depending on finances, health, and feelings about work. May become more politically active and community oriented. May do things not possible when working.
  • Old age (beyond 75): Declining physical powers, health and loss of loved ones are issues, but many oldsters are active and make significant contributions to society.

Health Promotion – Physical, Mental, Social

  • Nutrition, vitamins, minerals and herbs
  • Exercise and fitness
  • Socially acceptable hygiene
  • Stress management – moderation and balance; time management
  • Maintaining sexual health: satisfaction, abstinence, birth control, prevention of sexually transmitted infections
  • Healthy, wanted pregnancies with prenatal care
  • Abstaining from tobacco, alcohol, street drugs
  • Oral health: prevention and treatment of caries and periodontal disease
  • Managing environmental exposures – sunlight, radiation, pollution
  • Worksite wellness – use of safety equipment; avoidance of toxic exposures, communication and teamwork skills
  • Protection of vision and hearing
  • Safety and prevention of unintentional injuries– seat belts, driving skills and prevention of motor vehicle accidents bicycle and motorcycle helmets, home safety re fires, falls
  • Knowledge of first aid and CPR
  • Protection from violence and learning conflict resolution to prevent crime, rape, homicide, suicide; avoidance of knives, guns, fighting, bullying,
  • Immunizations – influenza, pneumonia, Tetanus/Diphtheria, hepatitis B, and prevention of infectious diseases
  • Maintaining activities of daily living and physical stamina, and endurance
  • Promoting mental health, spirituality, meaning in life, nurturing potential, moderation in impulsivity, persistence and mental endurance
  • Opportunities to participate in the community – education, work, recreation and social activities; seldom lonely
  • Perceive quality of life to be good
  • Literacy – ability to read/understand
  • Preparation for work – experiences, accommodations, role models
  • Safe housing and transportation
  • Adequate income and ability to manage money
  • Developing sense of competence in some areas of life (self-efficacy)
  • Ability to dream and confidence that you can make some dreams come true (probably in small steps)
  • Ability to problem solve – find information, evaluate alternatives
  • Social competencies – verbal/nonverbal communication, teamwork, interest in others, hygiene
  • Sense of being loved and having people to love who teach, encourage and provide opportunities vs. constrain and demean
  • Having high expectations from others and of oneself
  • Resiliency – attitudes of appreciation and positive view of the future

Chronic Disease

  • Early detection and treatment of minor conditions such as sore throats, skin conditions
  • Early detection, and management of chronic diseases such as asthma
  • Knowledge of condition
  • Self-management of health regimens
  • Prevention of secondary disabilities
  • Prevention or management of decline in physical strength, energy and vitality
  • Separating normal age-related changes from treatable disease conditions
  • Coping with vision loss, hearing loss, pain,
  • Detecting and treating obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, cancer, neurological conditions/dementia, arthritis, pain
  • Detecting expression of genetic predispositions – cholesterol, dementia, etc.
  • Treatment for injuries, burns, falls, motor vehicle accidents
  • Early detection and treatment for mental health conditions (depression, suicide prevention, dementia, schizophrenia, etc.)
  • Dealing with alcoholism and other chemical dependencies
  • Smoking and tobacco use
  • Self-management of medications, awareness of polypharmacy and drug/food interaction
  • Acceptance in the community; perceived burden of condition on family/person with condition
  • Disclosure dilemmas in work, school and social situations
  • Challenge of uncertainty

Use of Health Care System

  • Access to health care – primary and specialty medical care, emergency care, dental care, mental health, therapies, assistive technology
  • Working with physicians and other health care providers
  • Care coordination/Case management services
  • Participate in decision making about health care and life activities
  • Privacy and confidentiality
  • Communication and coordination among health care providers
  • Adherence to recommendations of health care providers; keeping appointments
  • Health literacy and finding information
  • Knowledge and use of community resources
  • Reasonable use of services; cost effectiveness
  • Health insurance work benefit, self-insured, Medicaid, Medicare
  • Planning for guardianship, health surrogate.
  • Planning for death advance directives related to medical care, funerals, finances
  • Pocket Guide to Staying Healthy at 50+ and other Prevention Recommendations
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Association of Retired Persons
  • American Dental Association
  • Geriatric Mental Health Foundation
  • Health Compass
  • Healthy & Ready to Work National Center
  • Search MedLine
  • National Health Information Center
  • National Mental Health Information Center
  • National Resource Center for Safe Aging

Links