Research shows that centenarians (those who are aged 100-years-old or older) are reporting positive satisfaction with life equal to the cohort of young-old adults aged as young as 65-years old (Youdin, 2014).
Living past 75-years-old is what is known as being in the biological elite due to living past the current average life expectancy. As you may expect, 100-year-olds do suffer from illness and functional limitations greater than younger cohorts of older adults (Youdin, 2014). However, when a 100-year-old has a high degree of acceptance of the life-stage changes, they can have a healthier adjustment in health and functioning, which can increase their overall quality of life. Social workers who work with older adults can help their clients achieve a high quality of life regardless of their age. Social workers help their clients by using human behavior theories to research, assess problems, and implement interventions.
According to Youdin (2014), various researchers have been studying cohorts of individuals who are identified through various life stages, known as the age stages. In this theory, older adults can be categorized into groups named young-old adults (65-74 years old), middle-old adults (75-84-years-old), old-old adults (86 and older), centenarians (100 and older), and super-centenarians (110 and older).
Researching Life Stages
Categorizing older adults into these cohorts and researching them through their subsequent life stages can be a means to understand the changes they go through during their development (Youndin, 2014). Social workers and other practitioners can then use this data to help older adults adjust to the changes they may be expected to go through. For example, social workers must understand changes between the old-old versus the young-old and what interventions will work best with each group.
Clients can then be educated, and interventions can be found to help older adults achieve positive satisfaction for life for decades to come. Due to the research and interventions being developed to help create a life of quality for old-old adults and beyond, you too could benefit from this trend of research if you end up celebrating your 100th birthday, and beyond!
By: Alicia O’Bryan, EKU social work student
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Youdin, R. (2014, May 1). Clinical Gerontological Social Work Practice. Theories to Inform the Social Worker Practicing With Older Adults | Springer Publishing. Retrieved April 10, 2022, from https://connect.springerpub.com/highwire_display/entity_view/node/59916/content_details