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
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.