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Does growing old mean becoming mentally old No not if you view the cognitive development of older adults as a lifelong evolving process Cognitive developments throughout an older adults lifespan shows both gains and loses that are individually unique and yet similar to other members of their age group The two greatest mental issues for many older adults are coping with depression and facing the possible onset of Alzheimers disease These issues of cognitive development become even more crucial to individuals as well as our cognitive development become even more crucial to individuals as well as our society when you consider the rapid growth of our older adult population According to the US Census Bureau Americas population age 65 and older grew by 74 percent between 1970 and 1999 - from 20 million to almost 35 million The median age of the population has increased significantly from 28 in 1970 to almost 36 years of age in 1999 However this recent growth of the elderly population will appear slow when compared to predictions for the next three decades The elderly population will grow even more rapidly as 76 million baby boomers reach age 65 and older between 2010 and 2030 By 2030 older adults will account for 20 percent of the total population - up from 13 percent in 2000 Within this cohort persons 85 years and older comprise the most rapidly growing segment of the US population Geriatrics and Mental Health 2002 These statistics show that the older adult population of the United States is not only thriving through better medical treatment but is growing at an astounding rate With this increase in numbers and greater longevity older adults are not just sitting idly by waiting for their final days but are staying active members of society Millions of older Americans-indeed the majority-cope constructively with the physical limitations cognitive changes and various losses such as bereavement that frequently are associated with
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