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Adult Development and Aging

Adult Development and Aging

Adulthood is primarily a time of determining lifestyles and developing relationships. Among other things, most adults eventually leave their parents' home, develop a long-term romantic relationship, and start a family, creating a new home.

Young Adulthood: 18 to 35

In the initial stage of being an adult people seek one or more companions and love. They try to find mutually satisfying relationships, primarily through marriage and friends.

If people are not successful, isolation and distance from others may occur. And when they don't find it easy to create satisfying relationships, their world can begin to shrink as, in defence, they can feel superior to others. In this stage of life, significant relationships are with marital partners and friends.

Middle Adulthood: 35 to 55 or 65

In this stage of life, work is most essential. The very famous psychologist, Erikson observed that middle-age is when people tend to be occupied with creative and meaningful work and with issues surrounding their family. The significant task is to propagate culture and transmit values of the culture through the family and working to establish a stable environment. Strength comes through care of others and production of something that contributes to the betterment of society.

As children leave home, or the relationships or goals change, they may be faced with major life changes — the mid-life crisis — and struggle with finding new meanings and purposes. If they don't get through this stage successfully, they can become self-absorbed and stagnate.

Significant relationships are within the workplace, the community and the family.

Late Adulthood: 55 or 65 to Death

Erikson felt that much of life is preparing for the middle adulthood stage and the last stage is recovering from it. Perhaps that is because as older adults they can often look back on our lives with happiness and are content, feeling fulfilled with a deep sense that life has meaning and they've made a contribution to life, a feeling Erikson calls integrity. The strength comes from a wisdom that the world is very large and they now have a detached concern for the whole of life, accepting death as the completion of life.
On the other hand, some adults may reach this stage and despair at their experiences and perceived failures. They may fear death as they struggle to find a purpose to their lives.

Counselling and Guidance helps people to understand their stages of life, priorities, handling relationships, confusions, loneliness, guilt, lack of confidence, stabilizing relationships etc.,