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Gerontology, Sociopolitical

Old age is generally recognized as the life phase that begins at 65 years of age. In gerontology, a differentiation is made between the third age (65 to 85 years) and the fourth age (from 85 years). The former is usually characterized by the preservation of competence, efficiency, and productivity; the latter, however, by a significantly increased level of vulnerability and frailty. It is useful to distinguish between physiological-biological, psychological, and social aging. In these three dimensions, development processes follow very different kinds of patterns. In the physiological-biological dimension, reductions in adaptation and restitution ability are seen with increasing age: These are manifested in older people’s increased vulnerability or susceptibility to disease. In the psychological dimension, both gains and losses can be found: Gains are ...

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