PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH OF THE OLDER ADULTS
Age-related physical conditions include hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, hearing loss, and impairment of vision in addition to the physiological changes described in Chapter 1. Cognitive decline and speed of information processing may decrease resulting in memory loss. Functional decline due to the above conditions results in dependence for everyday activities that increases with age. It is reported that 9% of those between ages 65 and 69 and up to 50% of older Americans over 85 are dependent on caregivers for activities of daily living (ADL) and mobility. In addition, depression, dementia, and anxiety disorders are also found in older adults that may impact quality of life and may require institutionalization. There is a difference in the way older adults exhibit cognitive deficits, some showing significant deficits while others performing as well as young adults.2 This phenomenon is well described in a study by Cabeza et al.3 in which the differences are explained on neural basis. The high-performing older adults were noted in that study to counteract age-related neural decline by reorganizing brain functions with similar neural network as young adults. They concluded that low-performing young adults utilize their brain function inefficiently.