chapter  2
26 Pages

On the Development of the Elderly Self

The completed elderly self is a self that has become transformed from the self of adulthood, the preceding era, with its unique values and programs of action consonant with an altered physiological status. The developmental period of aging, as do other developmental periods, necessitates self-transformations to effect the desired end stage. Changes in the pole of values, for example, are a major feature of the developmental task of becoming an adolescent. Each developmental phase-childhood, adolescence, adulthood, aging-involves specific self-transformations, in addition to the changes in physiology and physiognomy, in order for persons in that particular phase to complete the developmental task rendering them, for example, adolescents or adults. From this point of view, there are many 15year-olds operating with an 8-year-old pole of values who will never be adolescents functionally. Similarly, there are 80-year-olds who will attempt to function as if they were in their 6th decade of life.