Problems of Late Life
The developmental demands of late life are many. Coping with physical illness, disability, or a diminished capacity for physical activity; adapting to retirement or reduced productivity at work; and dealing with grief after the loss of friends or a spouse are all frequent and challenging tasks. Maintaining emotional equilibrium by finding a new balance between desirable and undesirable events and circumstances (Baltes, 1987) is a major undertaking.
Risk for mood disturbances in late life remains high. Other emotional problems, substance abuse and problems in physical functioning and in reality testing may occur. However peak age of risk is mainly for memory, or other impairment associated with the dementias (Gurland, 1996), or delirium (Table 8.12).
Table 8.13 summarizes the estimated prevalence and sex ratio of selected mental disorders of late life.