AP® Psychology

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Maintaining Function in Old Age


A good friend is worried about their Grandpa Grover, who is experiencing physical decline as part of aging and is starting to spend all of his time watching television rather than going out in the world or pursuing old hobbies that he used to love.

Based on your knowledge of developmental psychology, what advice would a professional likely give to your friend?


"His actions are counterproductive—if Grandpa Grover wants to hold on to his physical and mental capabilities, then he needs to be actively using them."


"This is fine—withdrawing from the world is a normal and healthy part of aging."


"While it's unfortunate, the major struggle of old age is of intimacy versus isolation, and it seems like Grandpa Grover is choosing isolation."


"This is good—at a certain point, it becomes necessary for older people to move less in order to protect their health."


"Grandpa Grover has entered the postconventional phase of physical development, meaning there's nothing that can be done."​