Aging in Our Society Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

bio-psychosocial model to assess a 70-year-old adult (referred as Mr. X) suffering from mental retardation and makes appropriate recommendations regarding a treatment plan. However, before we make a medical diagnosis of Mr. X, it is important that we briefly review the "mental retardation" ailment. "Mental retardation is not something you have, like blue eyes, or a bad heart. Nor is it something you are, like short, or thin. It is not a medical disorder, nor a mental disorder. Mental retardation is a particular state of functioning that begins in childhood and is characterized by limitation in both intelligence and adaptive skills. Mental retardation reflects the "fit" between the capabilities of individuals and the structure and expectations of their environment." Taken from (

Medical diagnosis

Mental retardation ailment of Mr. X has had two fundamental and noteworthy impacts. The first is the intellectual performance that is considerably below normal standard and the second is the noticeable destruction in the capability of Mr. X to become accustomed to the every day difficulties of the social surroundings. While, Mr. X has been suffering from the destruction of both these factors, it is important to note here that considerable decline in the intellectual performance had been the underlying reason for the increase in the uneasiness and awkwardness to confront every day social surroundings (Merna J. Alpert, 1994).

The physical ailments of Mr. X comprised phlebitis, bronchitis, as well as, circulatory difficulties because of varicosities. Mr. X has been a "chain smoker" and has also been addicted to coffee. During 1983 he experienced a cardiovascular catastrophe and also had surgical treatment of his prostrate. He had been released from the hospital so that he could be treated at home with the assistance from frequent visiting nurses. Hereafter, he had been referenced to and subsequently admitted in the center for socialization, work out, and supervision of his prescriptions, as well as, his "chain smoking" and consumption behaviors (Merna J. Alpert, 1994).

Psychological Assessment

The psychological assessment of Mr. X showed that he has had an "innocent" and "childlike sociability" and vocal reactions that "fluttered." On one occasion, when he had been requested to go back to a task he simply "smiled shamefacedly like a youngster who failed to remember." Furthermore, it had also been observed that he showed signs of "extreme and unnecessary humor" and had recurrent "lapses of memory." In addition to that, Mr. X had also trained himself to perform the piano and he used to buy himself a new one on every Christmas (Merna J. Alpert, 1994).

Mental retardation has had a significant influence on Mr. X's family and friends, who had known the person prior to manifestation of the aliment. The behavior of Mr. X had become quite scary as he used to start concentrating on only one subject, no matter what the subject matter of the discussion. When this started happening on a regular basis, family members and friends initially became puzzled, and then, after a while, they became provoked, irritated and annoyed. Any attempt to alter the subject of the discussion would have a bizarre outcome where Mr. X started acting in a completely mystified manner. Sometimes, this mystification was followed by even more unsuitable and improper behavior. Family and friends may give up trying to communicate as time goes on, thus isolating the person even more (Merna J. Alpert, 1994).

Social Support

Since, Mr. X had not received any therapy during the early stages of the "mental retardation" process; he has been on the receiving end of psychiatric and emotional problems. It is without a shadow of doubt that a lot of his present day difficulties had been initiated during his early life. However, due to the support and appreciation from the family members and friends, "mental retardation" had not been apparent. Furthermore, being unemployed, in the latter years of his life, also has had a heavy influence on Mr. X. At this stage, it has become very difficult for doctors to separate the mental, emotional and psychiatric condition from the physical condition, as this is a common phenomenon amongst the elderly people (Merna J. Alpert, 1994).

Ever since, the family members have come to the understanding that Mr. X is suffering from "mental retardation," the influence on the family as an interconnected and organized operating entity experienced significant transformation in all areas of life. The working balance, responsibilities and boundaries shared between the family members has been severely disturbed. Furthermore, emotive and sensitive relations and support have undergone significant changes; actions relating social gatherings, more often than not, have been shortened and revenue has been abridged and financial capital exhausted by old and continuing operating costs (Merna J. Alpert, 1994).

While Mrs. X asserts that he has had excellent support and encouragement and has a healthy support system in his fully matured children and wife, there exists conflicts, stresses and strains in the family relations, for example, how to control Mr. X's uncompromising behavior and attitude. It is noteworthy that these (Mr. X's uncompromising behavior and attitude) took place on a regular basis, especially when he had been asked to rush things so as to stay abreast of the tempo of family verve. The communication between the all the family members and Mrs. X's had become very difficult; therefore, home-placement nursing had been measured as a step in the right direction (Merna J. Alpert, 1994).

After some time, he started taking group support lessons and from these lessons realized that he had to "learn to set free, to sacrifice. One has to set free the sorrow and revert back to the real world." However, despite the social group support lessons, some of the emotional discrepancies still remained amongst the family members (Merna J. Alpert, 1994).


Since the process of "mental retardation" triggered before the age of 18, Mr. X's ailment characterized noteworthy limitations both in his intellectual performance and in adaptive attitude. This realization has made him come to an understanding that he has not been able to fulfill his life to his own expectancy (Merna J. Alpert, 1994).

Jungian's theory of relationships

It is common knowledge that when people talk about relationships, it seems that they know exactly what they are talking about. However, Jungian believes that very few people actually understand the true meaning of relationships, since; "relationship" is a very complex term and often requires a very thorough understanding of human nature. He writes, "The question is: how can a relationship heal? And what is a relationship, anyway, therapeutic or otherwise? People use the word "relationship" as if they know exactly what they are talking about, but it is an indefinite term. A relationship does not occupy physical space; it occupies something like mathematical space. It is an abstraction, a mental construct -- or is it? Although the idea of relationship is confusing, the word takes on more meaning when specified. In fact it only takes on meaning when specified, because to exist at all is to be in relationship to something else. A relationship implies the presence of at least two things and a connection between them. We can always speak at minimum of a relationship to physical surroundings; for example, space, air, ground, or even a vacuum (David Sedgwick, 2001; Page 55 & 56.)."

According to Jungian, human-to-human relationships are founded on and driven by emotions. Amongst human beings, relationships take place only when an emotional connection (to some degree) is felt between them. This emotional connection needs to be not only sowed but also nurtured so that the relationship can be effective. On the contrary, there can be no relationship amongst human beings, if no emotional connection is established. As Jungian writes, "What a relationship actually means is that there is some sort of affective involvement with something, a feeling of connection to it, to whatever degree (or to no degree). The degree of emotional relationship, in fact, is indicative of how much life is in something. If there is no emotional connection, there is no relationship -- or at least no psychological relationship that matters much (David Sedgwick, 2001; Page 56.)."

He sums up his theory of relationships by asserting, "All in all, relationships present a totally dynamic, fluid picture. It is no wonder then that many people, unless they are either inveterate change-seekers or fearful, seek stable and steady, ongoing relationships. In psychotherapy, steady relationship is sought, consciously or not and resisted or not, and is often the core subject of psychotherapy. And it is no wonder, too, that some people opt out altogether from relationships, which is generally thought to be a pathological move, or need some occasional respite -- a vacation from relationships, except for a few pleasurable ones (David Sedgwick, 2001; Page 56 & 57)."

One can safely conclude from the above mentioned facts that relationships is all about emotional involvement. Emotions not only have to be planted but also nurtured and protected in a way that allows all human beings concerned to grow…

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