Psychological and Psychosocial Factors in Healthy Ageing

Ageing is the process of growing old during which accumulated changes occur in the physical, psychological, social and emotional condition of individuals. The signs of ageing include appearance of wrinkles, dry skin, visible pores, reduced mobility and others (Campisi et al. 2019). There are various biological, psychological, psychosocial, emotional and other factors responsible for a person to age healthily. In this essay, the psychological and psychosocial factors related to health, well-being and illness in life course that promotes healthy and successful ageing is to be discussed. In this process, relevant theories are also to be used for explaining the factors related to successful and healthy ageing.

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The psychosocial factors are referred to the characteristics which are related to social factors along with individual behaviour, attitude and thoughts. The psychosocial factors that positively or negatively influence healthy ageing include depression, self-achievement, self-esteem, participation in leisure activities, loneliness and ego-integrity (McParland and Camic, 2016). However, the psychological factor that influences emotion and mentality of individuals during ageing includes grief, motivation, attitude and beliefs and others (Cheong et al. 2020). As mentioned by Skazlic et al. (2017), depression which is mood disorder negatively affects healthy ageing process. This is because it makes the adults involved in the ageing process feel sadness and uneasiness which are not beneficial for their progressing mental and physical health. It is evident as continuing depression leads adults people going through the ageing process develop risks of illness such as dementia, irritability, self-harm, helplessness and others (Cheong et al. 2020). As argued by Fancourt and Tymoszuk (2019), development of depression which is psychological condition with ageing leads individuals to withdraw from society and social life. This is because depression disrupts the emotional balance in adults that causes them to feel low and lack enthusiasm to interact with others. Thus, this indicates that effective management of depression is required to improve mood of the adults for supporting mental and social health and well-being towards successful ageing. However, the disengagement theory of ageing considers social withdrawal by the adults with growing age as a natural part of ageing process (Asiamah, 2017).

The disengagement theory postulates that all individuals consider death and deterioration of health over time to be inevitable due to which they lose ties with others in society with ageing. The other postulates inform that deteriorating physical strength, changes in ego, disjunctions between the ageing people and the society, lack of central role in relationship and others causes people with age to withdraw from the society which is part of normal ageing process (Sadkowska et al. 2017). Thus, this theory denies the claim that depression in adults with ageing is not a valid factor to be considered for the lack of social interaction and withdrawal as the situations are a part of natural ageing process. However, criticism regarding the disengagement theory mentions that the theoretical construct ignored the way social classes influence ageing experience among different people and the way elderly are not considered to have any agency in the process but considered to act as complaints tools in the social system. Moreover, criticisms mentioned that the theory fails to consider the complex and rich social lives of progressive ageing in many people who show effective engagement in society (Zaidi and Howse, 2017).

The self-achievement promotes successful and healthy ageing among individuals because accomplishment of the activities chased over the years leads individuals to feel a sense of fulfilment in life. This fulfilment makes individuals develop peace of mind and joy towards accepting the progressive ageing process (Carver and Buchanan, 2016). Moreover, it is mentioned by Ingrand et al. (2018) that positive self-esteem has a vital role towards influencing successful ageing. This is because positive self-esteem means the individual has value and feel worthy as well as is self-respected that creates a positive psychological condition toward healthy ageing. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, the feel of self-actualisation and self-esteem where the individuals feel they have achieved their dreams and have value in life makes them have motivation to lead a healthy and happy life as their basic psychological need is fulfilled (Kim and Hur, 2019). Thus, according to the theory, both self-actualisation and self-esteem promote value and feeling of respect to psychologically influence people in society enjoy healthy and successful ageing.

The involvement in leisure activities promotes healthy and successful ageing as it improves three major factors of ageing that are physical, cognitive and mental health functioning among the individuals. This is evident as the leisure activities act as buffer for the adults progressing in age to recover them from stress and negative incidences (Fastame et al. 2018). The fact is supported by the continuity theory which informs that people involved in making continuous activities or leading lifestyle with adaptive strategies on passing age which are connected with their previous experience are able to age successfully (Naderyan et al. 2019). However, criticism of continuity theory mentions that it did not consider the way social intuitions are able to impact the way a person ages (Cook, 2018). The social support and activity are considered to be key factors of successful ageing in the activity theory. This is evident as the theory mentions that successful ageing occurs when the adults remain active in their everyday life and continuously maintain positive social interactions with family, relatives and society (Grønning et al. 2018). The social support and relationships play a major role in promoting successful ageing process because it acts as psychological support system for them to overcome problems in life to successfully age (Kelly et al. 2017).

The ego and integrity versus despair are one of the few psychosocial factors considered to influence ageing. This is evident from the Erikson’s theory which informs that as people grow in age above 65 years they show tendencies of less productivity and exploration in life. Thus, if the individuals view their life to be unproductive it makes them feel guilty regarding their past and inability to fulfil goals in life that in turn makes them dissatisfied and develop despair that often leads to hopelessness and depression in them (Derdaele et al. 2019). However, feeling of virtue of wisdom allows the people ageing consider looking back at their life as completeness and closure which promotes them to have enhanced ego integrity (Michel and Sadana, 2017). Thus, it can be seen that people who consider themselves wise with ageing are in a state of ego integrity which promotes healthy and successful ageing but being despair makes people develop unsuccessful ageing as they are not happy with their life and develop depression.

The presence of grief or bereavement among individuals acts as psychological factors in negatively affecting successful ageing. This is because the feeling of grief after the loss of a dear one by adults in the ageing process makes them feel emotionally broken and despair. The bereavement makes individuals feel loss of support as their closed ones who assisted them in living. The individuals with growing age increased dependence on their loved ones due to inability or avoidance to maintain a wider social network. Thus, lack of presence of the dear ones due to death makes the ageing individuals eventually be drawing into isolation to mourn their death, in turn, showing deteriorated emotional health towards successful ageing (Meichsner et al. 2020). As argued by Gonyea et al. (2018), the feeling of loneliness among the individuals with growing age makes them develop hindered ageing. This is because it leads individuals to show inappropriate functional declines such as ability to execute everyday activities, perform complex and difficult tasks and others. Thus, loneliness hinders successful ageing as according to Rowe and Kahn model of successful ageing the individuals are to have high cognitive and physical functioning along with active engagement in life during ageing (Whitley et al. 2016).

The psychosocial factors such as marriage and social status also influence ageing. The presence of a stable social status where the individuals are able to meet their needs and demands of life as well as avail respect from society promotes successful ageing. This is because it creates joy in the achievement of their dreams of being able to reach determined goals in life (Choi et al. 2017). However, it is argued by Kok et al. (2017), the presence of unstable future among adults hinders their successful ageing. This is because they develop depression, stress and anxiety out of their unstable future and support for the family. The marriage and presence of committed partner promote healthy ageing process in individuals. This is because the people with age develop peace that they have trusted individuals in which they can confide and avail emotional support to overcome barriers in life or the ageing process (Choi et al. 2017).

The above discussion informs that successful ageing is positively and negatively influenced by various psychological and psychosocial factors. The people suffering from depression are often seen to develop isolation from the society which is considered as negative impact in ageing. This is because according to Rowe and Kahn of successful ageing as well as the activity theory mentions that effective involvement with the society and active interactions with society with progressing age are considered to be indicators of successful ageing. The additional factors such as self-achievement and self-esteem promote positive influence in successful ageing by making people feel valued with age. The Erikson's theory mentioned that successful ageing is influenced by ego integrity whereas despair led to hindered ageing.

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References

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