Late Adulthood Challenges and Quality of Life


Old age is an inevitable phase in life that people must experience. PBS documentary Living Old reveals the challenges of the late adulthood stage and the desperation for the hope that the majority of older people struggle to find. Additionally, the film is meant to remind people in the early and middle life stages that their choices play a significant role in determining the type of life they will live in late adulthood. Among the prominent factors influencing the quality of life in late adulthood are healthcare and psychological well-being. When people embrace healthy living in their youth and engage in activities that improve their mental stability, they are likely to live a quality life in their old age.

The Documentary Living Old

The documentary has revealed several details about old age that have surprised me. For instance, based on the film, old age appears to be a form of disability where the old are incapacitated in many ways to live normal lives (Navasky & O’Connor, 2006). Most of them spend their final years in nursing homes where they are cared for like patients. Those who spend their old age with their families subject the members of their families to untold burdens. I was surprised that despite the growing negative attitude toward having large families among the young generation, the reality is that large families are essential in caring for the needs of the elderly. Those with close family relatives are less likely to spend their time in a nursing home, thus avoiding the mental suffering associated with life in a nursing home.

What I find most meaningful about living old is having family close to you. Family members care for the physical and psychological needs of their elderly. Such care makes the elderly feel loved, thus reducing the risks of developing psychological disorders such as dementia and depression (Delle et al., 2018). This documentary has significantly impacted my perception of growing old. I have realized that my late adulthood life is influenced by my choices in early adulthood. I want to live a healthy life by eating healthy food and exercising regularly to develop a strong body that will be able to withstand the vulnerabilities of old age. I perceive the elderly in my life with respect and love because I understand the struggles they experience. It is vital to help them whenever necessary to make them feel loved and cared for.

The video presents various instances of the Erikson theory of ego integrity versus despair. Erikson’s theory states that people reflect on their lives with integrity or despair during late adulthood (Maree, 2021). People who have integrity experience fulfillment and a sense of happiness as they approach death, while those who experience despair are often depressed and isolate themselves from society. For instance, a woman at 94 years old still acts as a financial advisor. She is proud of her age and claims to have ambitions. On the contrary, other women of her age in nursing homes are being cared for because they have developed body weakness and cannot engage in meaningful activities.

There is a close connection between this week’s readings and the video. Through the readings, I have understood how psychological wellness plays a significant role in late adulthood (“Lifespan development: A psychological perspective”, n.d). The majority of the elderly in the film suffer from dementia and other psychological disorders that make them require constant care. The film portrays how mental stability is vital in determining whether one spends their late adulthood in a nursing home or at home with their family.


In conclusion, the late adulthood stage has numerous challenges that occur due to physical and mental weakness. Most of these challenges are a consequence of the quality of life that people lead in their youth. Therefore, it is necessary to embrace positive living by eating healthy and maintaining social relations for physical and psychological well-being. Additionally, it is essential to treat the elderly with respect and love because they experience many challenges that make them emotionally and physically vulnerable.


Delle Fave, A., Bassi, M., Boccaletti, E. S., Roncaglione, C., Bernardelli, G., & Mari, D. (2018). Promoting well-being in old age: The psychological benefits of two training programs of adapted physical activity. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 828.

Lifespan development: A psychological perspective. Lecture.

Maree, J. G. (2021). The psychosocial development theory of Erik Erikson: Critical overview. Early Child Development and Care, 191(7-8), 1107-1121.

Navasky, M., & O’Connor, K. (2006). Living Old [Film].

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NursingBird. (2023) 'Late Adulthood Challenges and Quality of Life'. 29 March.


NursingBird. 2023. "Late Adulthood Challenges and Quality of Life." March 29, 2023.

1. NursingBird. "Late Adulthood Challenges and Quality of Life." March 29, 2023.


NursingBird. "Late Adulthood Challenges and Quality of Life." March 29, 2023.