Peer response factors influencing development in older adults

 Write each response separately 

Peer One (A.B)

Factors That Impact Late Adulthood

A developmental factor that impacts late adulthood is a physical change. Late adulthood produces a new sense of normal with the emergence of change within the body. Arthritis and other physical ailments become more common and can also become difficult for individuals to come to grips with as well. Changes in immune system ability also contribute to physical change in adulthood (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).

Cognitive change impacts late adulthood as well. From onsets of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, most adults encounter changes in their cognitive abilities in late adulthood (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). Brain functioning changes in a way that is less than optimal with age (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). Knowing that people will not be able to problem solve as fast as before at best to the possibility of more serious conditions such as dementia can cause panic, fear, and resentment in late adulthood. These factors can urge individuals to keep cognitive changes to themselves and to withdraw.

Impacts of These Factors

A physical change can also impact emotional and psychological well-being in late adulthood. Imagine being able to perform in athletic competitions your entire life and waking up in your late thirties to painful joints. Years later, you can only stand for short amounts of time without requiring additional assistance. This type of situation would cause the person to feel less and less engaged with their own identity and feel pressured to find something to take the place of what they once loved. Most people have activities they engage in that make them feel purpose. Physical change impacts individuals in late adulthood both emotionally and psychologically because it alters identity and changes the quality of life in the future.

Emotional and psychological well-being is effected when cognitive change impacts late adulthood. From an emotional standpoint, an individual in late adulthood could experience depression and lack of purpose when they start to experience losses in cognition (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). Psychological well-being is also affected because cognitive deterioration can make an individual question their life purpose or negatively express their interpretations of change.

Protective Factors to Optimize Life

A protective factor that could optimize an older adult’s health and resilience is a positive support system. Having people around you that our understanding of the changes you experience and to support with those changes makes a positive difference in transition. My father is 63 and relies on myself and my children to “keep him sharp.” He has shared that he quizzes himself on facts he once knew and will sometimes have us quiz him on things to see if he still remembers things that he once did. Having positive support is helpful and can be a protective factor to optimize older adult health.


Broderick, P. C., & Blewitt, P. (2015). The life span: Human development for helping professionals (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Peer two (T.H)



Late adulthood is marked as a time of tremendous senescing and is accompanied by distress from the older adult, family, and friends. As health declines, so does mobility, cognition, and other important processes that aid in adequate functioning. Looking into the developmental process of late adulthood can shed light on the stages that cause distress and allow clinicians to help families come to terms with such significant declines and find ways to cope and find peace with this inevitable stage during the lifespan.

Two developmental factors impacting late adulthood

Two developmental factors that impact late adulthood are cognitive decline and a loss of independence. The first, cognitive decline, can be seen in the situation with Lucas’s father Jake who has noted that he is starting to be more forgetful which is causing his family a bit of frustration and possibly him as well since he states he is moodier lately (Laureate Education, 2013d). In old age, the brain goes through many changes which result in a decline in cognition. According to research, parts of the brain that mature last (the frontal lobe) tend to be much more susceptible to vascular problems and atrophy (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). The declines in cognition can be extremely distressing to the individuals that experience them and to the people to are close to these individuals. This is evident in the Reeves family because a lot of arguments have been occurring as a result of Jake’s cognitive decline. It is evident that “cognitive function in older adults is vital to maintaining quality of life” and often individuals with poorer cognitive function “report depression or anxiety and have significantly fewer social contacts than older adults with normal” functioning (Fausto, Badana, Arnold, Lister, & Edwards, 2018). 

The second developmental factors are the loss of independence. The first developmental factor is highly correlated with the loss of independence in older age. Jake has moved into his sons (Lucas) house after the death of his mother which is a loss of independence. Jake admits that he is misplacing his items and having a hard time getting around. Many other developmental factors cause a diminished capability of taking care of oneself such as a decline in hearing, sight, and mobility. Research involving successful aging points to the maintenance of independence in older age (Bowling, 2007). As adults reach older age and declines in function start to set in, purpose, the meaning of life, and identity may take a considerable hit which can cause a host of internalizing symptoms. If older adults are not able to reach the process of optimization where they can “find ways to enhance the achievements of remaining goals or find environments that are enhancing,” a decline in psychological well-being will occur and severely diminish quality of life at the last stages of development (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). 

Protective factor 

Both of the developmental impacts on adulthood encompass declines in functioning. As a clinician, it is vital to help your older adult clients process the changes they are experiencing and help them come to terms with the inevitability of those changes. This change in perspective will encourage more proactive solutions to be formulated which will act as a protective factor. Positive adaptation is an excellent approach for older adults which builds resilience from the potential risk factors that come from losses in adulthood (Ong, Bergeman, & Boker, 2009). Establishing and identifying protective factors in adulthood will serve to reshape trajectory positively and counteract risk factors involved with aging. A few examples of positive adaptations may be keeping a diary, modifying the living space to accommodate physical decline, networking with other older-aged individuals, and finding meaning in life by volunteering.


Age comes with gains and losses. Everyone experiences loss eventually and how a person copes with these changes and respond will determine whether they will successfully age into older age. Clinicians can help dramatically by educating themselves on how to serve this growing population and provide tools and establish approaches that encourage optimal well-being and functioning in late adulthood. Although these changes are inevitable, how we respond to these changes will serve as a powerful protective factor.


Bowling, A, (2007). Aspirations for older age in the 21st century: What is successful aging? The International Journal of Aging & Human Development, 64(3), 263–297. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Broderick, P. C., & Blewitt, P. (2015). The life span: Human development for helping professionals (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Fausto, B. A., Badana, A. N. S., Arnold, M. L., Lister, J. J., & Edwards, J. D. (2018). Comparison of Subjective and Objective Measures of Hearing, Auditory Processing, and Cognition among Older Adults with and without Mild Cognitive Impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 61(4), 945–956. Retrieved from Walden University’s database

Laureate Education (Producer). (2013d). Late adulthood [Video file]. Retrieved from CDN Files Database. (COUN 6215/COUN 8215/HUMN 8215) 

Ong, A. D., Bergeman, C. S., & Boker, S. M. (2009). Resilience comes of age: Defining features in later adulthood. Journal of Personality, 77(6), 1777–1804. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

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