Growth and Development Assessment Project Guidelines:
Choose a person you know well and complete a developmental analysis of this person’s
current period of development. You can choose a person from any of the developmental
stages excluding infancy and toddlerhood. Through observation and communications with
the person, assess the individual’s current period of development. Within that specific
period of life, provide a detailed comparison of the subject’s physically, cognitive, and
psychosocial development to the established norms, developmental milestones, and theories
from textbooks and scholastic resources. All three areas of development (physical,
cognitive, and psychosocial) must be examined in depth with various theories, established
norms, and examples of met and unmet developmental tasks.
Growth and Development Assessment Project
LATE ADULTHOOD DEVELOPMENT 2
The assessment project will provide a discussion on growth and development in the
context of an interaction with Susan, an 81-year old African American. After interacting with
her, I noticed that her primary language is English and has a slight understanding of French. She
is a Christian, specifically belonging to Catholicism. Susan was married but became a widow at
the age of 25 years and has never remarried. Further, Susan had two sons, 60-year-old and 53-
year-old, who died three years ago as a result of diabetes. She also has a daughter who is still
alive aged 52 years. She lives with her daughter after she retired as a teacher. The daughter acts
as her primary caretaker, and she presently faces various challenges that come with old age.
It should be noted that at her age, she is at the late adulthood developmental stage.
According to the United States, old age comprises of individuals who are aged 65 years
and above. Moreover, late adulthood is divided into groups that start with the young-old, the
most past, and the centenarians. The young-old is comprised of those who are 65 to 84, where
Susan belongs. The particular category is the post-employment age, and most of the people are
expected to have good health and adequate finances, therefore fondly referred to as the golden
years. The paper will discuss the growth and development of Susan through the incorporation of
Growth and Development Assessment Project
The particular developmental stage where Susan belongs is considered by aging. The
human aging process is discussed through different theories that belong to two categories. One of
the arguments follows the biological timetable that involves the gene changes affecting the
maintenance, repair, as well as the defense responses of the body. The other is the error theory,
which states that the cumulative damage experienced by the organisms results from
LATE ADULTHOOD DEVELOPMENT 3
environmental factors. Some of the examples of the theories include: First, the genetic theory
argues that the longevity of an individual’s life relies on some of the genes, while some of the
genes are limiting the lifespan. There is a combination of genes that impact an individual’s rate of
aging (Fastame et al., 2015). The second theory is the evolutionary theory indicating that the
biological aging process is a result of the genes that are linked to aging passed to the offspring,
and the process of natural selection could not eliminate it.
The third theory is the cellular clock theory that argues that biological aging relies on the
fact that the healthy cells cannot divide indefinitely. Consequently, senescence will take place,
and the various cells will not have the ability to replicate. The fourth theory is the hormonal
stress theory stating that the strength of the hypothalamus reduces with a person’s age (Kanopy,
2016). The process of regulating the hormones within the body gets compromised, resulting in
metabolic problems. Increased stress results in the high cortisol hormone production that
damages the hypothalamus. Hence, their metabolic challenges that include thyroid, hypotension,
as well as osteoporosis problems increase with age.
In the context of physical development, there exist various changes that take place with
the advancement in age within the organs of older individuals. The multiple changes come with
the lifestyle that includes poor nutrition and lack of physical exercise, disease, and genetic
makeup. The sweeping changes in the body include heart muscle thickening due to aging, lung
capacity diminishing, the flexibility of the arteries and kidneys becoming inefficient in churning
out waste from the blood. The aging people lose their ability to hold their urine, and their brain
cells failed to function correctly. There are muscle wasting and hair loss. As a result of the weak
immune system in old age, individuals suffer from a myriad of chronic diseases. The diseases
impact the quality of life of the people.
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Susan told me that she has been making regular hospital visits since she suffers from
diabetes mellitus. However, she indicated that she was able to adhere to the medication
requirement through the daughter’s assistance. Despite her declining appetite, the daughter has
stepped in to help check her diet. Also, she tells me that she takes medication for osteoporosis
and has been responding well to the drug and is involved in regular exercise to help strengthen
Cognitively, the individual aging experience increased changes in cognition and memory.
The neuro-cognitive disorders are likely to impair memory, language, judgment, attention, as
well as visual ability. French (2017) argues that the ability to process information reduces as the
nervous system slows down. Forgetfulness has been prevalent among the aging individuals as
indicated by the inhibitory theory stating that aging individuals have difficulty in focusing on
particular information while subsequently suppressing the attention relating to appropriate
information tasks (French, 2017). The cognitive development among the individuals in late
adulthood is inclined to various factors that include ageism where there is discrimination against
older individuals. Aging among individuals hinder cognitive development. The physical changes
impact on the cognitive development of aging individuals such as Susan.
Psychosocially, the psychological development relating to older adults, is gravely
affected. There is a severe change in the quality of life. Just like Susan, the individuals
experience disorders such as apnea and insomnia (French, 2017). The aging individuals are
vulnerable to depression cases that relate to psychological factors (Franz, 2015). Susan went
through the painful death of the husband and the death of the son. I also managed to meet the
daughter, who told me that Susan had talked much about the late husband and son after that
losing sleep for the rest of the night. As noted by French (2017), this is a clear indication of the
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stress problem that should be addressed by a psychotherapist to help her cope with the loss and
help improve her sleep quality.
Susan, just like the other geriatrics, should be accorded regular medical examination to
ensure she does not have expressive severe depressive disorders. The loss of husband and son
must not be accessible to her. According to the developmental theory presented by Erikson,
retrospective accounting of an individual’s life determines how the particular individual
embraces life to be able to live effectively. Susan is considered to be in despair versus integrity
(White et al., 2005). The caregiver should be educated on ways of ensuring that Susan becomes
proud of her past and avoid any particular regret that might lead to depression. Susan should also
be accorded cognitive therapy to help improve her memory and ensure that she does not forget
easily. Remembering the medications and doctor’s appointments will be significant in
strengthening her mind. Finally, physical exercise and proper diet will help them physically and
improve their health.
The paper has discussed the growth and development stages of Susan, an 81-year old
African American. More specifically, the document discusses physical, cognitive, and
psychosocial issues by incorporating relevant theories. Indeed, old age comes with several
challenges that impact a person’s psychological, cognitive, and physical well-being. Therefore,
people who are in their late adulthood require increased care and attention.
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Fastame, M. C., Penna, M. P. & Hitchcott, P. K. (September 01, 2015). Mental Health in Late
Adulthood: What Can Preserve It?. Applied Research in Quality of Life: the Official
Journal of the International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, 10, 3, 459-471.
Franz, C. E., McKenzie, R. M., Ramundo, A., Landrum, E. & Shahroudi, A. (January 01, 2015).
Interpersonal Relationships in Late Adulthood.
French, S. (2017). Lifespan development: A psychological perspective. Retrieved from
Kanopy (Firm). (2016). Retirement & Options for Living: Late Adulthood, [San Francisco,
California, USA]: Kanopy Streaming.
White, F., Hayes, B. & Livesey, D. (2005). Developmental Psychology: From Infancy to
Adulthood. NSW: Pearson Education Australia