As individuals step into late adulthood, many changes take place biologically, physically and psychologically.
Some of the changes that take place biologically is the reduction to the ability of the body cells to divide further. This can be explained with "Hayflick's Cellular Clock theory". His theory asserts that the maximum number of times that human cells divide is about 75 to 80, but as we age, out cells have less capability to divide.
In terms of cognitive functioning in individuals in the late adulthood phase, it is interesting to note that although some cognitive functions may decline, but other functions may remain stable or improve. It has been found that the speed of processing information declines and this occurs due to the decline in functioning of the brain and central nervous system. It has been found that the ability to selectively attend to one thing where a few different things are present, older adults are less proficient than younger adults.
Such a process is called "selective attention" and can be explained as, "is focusing on a specific c aspect of experience that is relevant while ignoring others that are irrelevant" (Santrock, 2008, p. 394).
Furthermore, it has been found that working memory also declines with age. Working memory is a type of memory that stores information in short term initially to be used for later use when required (Santrock, 2008).
In terms of socioemotional development in late adulthood, some of the changes that occur are reflected in Erkison's psychosocial development theory, and socioemotional selectivity theory.
"Integrity versus despair", the last stage of Erikson's psychosocial development discusses the changes. "Integrity" means "a feeling of wholeness and coherence, an ability to hold together ones sense of "I -ness" despite diminishing physical and intellectual powers" (Feist, 2008, p.262). Despair, on the other hand,