Middle adulthood is the time period between the ages of 40–65. According to Erikson, this time involves the stage of generativity versus stagnation.This stage is marked by the middle-aged person discovering a sense of contributing to the world, usually through family and work, or they may feel a lack of purpose. Just as friends were important to the adolescent, friends are important to the middle-aged adult, especially those who have not found a suitable mate or someone with which to spend their life.
Middle Adulthood —
- Problems with hearing and vision are common amongst this age group.
- Osteoporosis, the breakdown of the bone from lack of calcium in the younger years, can occur during this time.
- Men and women have a sense of getting older during this time and wish to hold onto their youth.
- Men and women attempt to hold on to their youth by acting young. This may include buying objects they had in their younger years such as a new sports car or motorcycle, or by dating someone much younger. Some even revert back to behavior of their younger years as evidenced by excessive drinking and partying.
- Women and men sometimes elect to have plastic surgery to try to hold onto their youthful looks.
- Empty nest syndrome occurs when the children move out and leave the home.
- For some men and women, this is a very depressing time as the daily roles they played as "dad" and "mom’"are no longer roles they will play. Often, this stressful time leaves the parents with a relationship that has not been worked on in many years which lends itself to unhappiness. If this relationship was not nurtured, the relationship can fall apart and can end in divorce. During this time, many men and women have feelings of depression and uselessness, while others welcome the change and enjoy the time alone.
- This is the cessation of ovulation and a woman’s period.
- Menopause typically happens around the late 40s into the 50s.
- Hormonal changes and "hot flashes" are also part of menopause.
- Having grandchildren can remind those in this age group of the days when their children were young.
- Many grandparents are very involved in the rearing of their grandchildren and in some cases are the primary caregivers.