During late adulthood, age 65 to death, the way people fulfill their needs can change dramatically. While some people do age "easily" not having many issues, some people have health problems as they age preventing them from filling their needs independently. Whether it is at an assisted living center or a retirement community, the elderly often need assistance. This picture shows an assisted living facility's dining room where they make sure the people that live in their community get the proper nutrients. Some elderly are on specific diets that require specialized meals. At assisted living centers they provide this.
As with protecting children from abuse, society starts to take the burden off of the elderly by addressing their safety needs as well. Health care is imperative for the elderly. Whether they are independent and relatively healthy, or suffering from an illness in an assisted living facility, the elderly are in constant need for health and prescription drug insurance. Some are lucky enough to have this provided by their old employer, but others often have fewer options. This is when society steps in with programs like Medicare to help fulfill these needs. Healthcare has become so expensive that even well off elderly people often have trouble providing it for themselves. The picture is of President Johnson signing the Medicare bill into law on June 30, 1965. This is one way some elderly fill the need for healthcare as a safety need.
Belonging and Love needs
Belonging and love needs can be a confusing thing for late adults. Some are losing their independence and many are experiencing the loss of loved ones and friends. There are many programs and activities for the elderly throughout most communities. Some places run day long bus trips to casinos or antique stores. Another way late adults cope with some of the loss is to be more involved with their church. Churches provide many opportunities for the elderly to socialize both with other elderly people and the young members of the church. Church can fill the need to feel like you belong. This picture shows how church can provide the elderly chances to get involved with younger and diverse people. It provides them with an opportunity to be out in the community and socialize.
Esteem needs can be an important aspect for late adults. They tend to correlate respect with freedom. As their freedom and abilities decrease, the may feel less respected as well. This is particular true in the United States where getting old has a stigma attached to it. Elderly are often stereotyped and getting old is looked at negatively. On way for the elderly to gain or maintain respect is by sharing their wisdom and experience. Many elderly can be a wealth of information on specific topics and could share that with others interested in that topic. The people they share with will find respect in the elderly person. This picture is of an elderly person that has chose to be a professor. He shares his wisdom and is looked at with respect. Just because someone is "old" does not mean they are not of value.
Late adulthood is where we see the most self-actualization. Elderly people seem to know who they are and their abilities. This makes sense because they have had the most time to figure it out. Elderly people tend to know how they feel about something or someone without much thought going into it. This is because they know and understand who they are, what they like, and what their abilities are. However in many cases, as late adults get closer to death, they can loose this perspective and not be self-actualized at all.