There is a certain maturity of judgment about men, things, causes and life generally,
that nothing in the world but years can bring, a real wisdom that only age can teach.

--G. Stanley Hall, Senescence: The Last Half of Life (1922: p.366)

While it is difficult to generalize about the psychological experiences of any age group, consider the parallels between the young and old. Both are times of mental and physical change, leading to increasing introspection, need for meaning, questionings of identity, loneliness, and sense of privacy. But whereas the young have short pasts and long futures, old age is a life-stage characterized by long pasts and short futures. It is a time of loss: the loss of spouse, friends, jobs, standard of living, and health.  Old age is that life-cycle stage when individuals often must face life's most stressful experiences.

Sample topics:


Geropsychology Central

American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

In Andrew Scharlach and Barry Robinson's "Curricular Module on the Aging Process" (Berkeley), see their sections on the cognitive and the personality changes associated with aging

APA Online: Mental Health of the Elderly

Manual of Geriatric Mental Health Resources

Lars Tornstam's theory of gerotranscendence

Resources on depression and the elderly

Depression:Elderly Medline entry
"Older Adults: Depression and Suicide Facts" from NIMH
"Depression in Older Persons" from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill

Return to Social Gerontology Index