Take Three – Personal Independence Versus Skilled Care Needs

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

In their publication Fitness Professional’s Handbook (fifth edition, 2007), co-authors Edward T. Howley and B. Don Franks credit distinguished researcher Roy J. Shephard for the development of a different classification system that links chronological age to the characteristics typical in large aging populations. It can be briefly summarized as follows:

  • Middle age (40-65) — 10-30 percent decline in biological functions;
  • Old age or young old age (65-75) — additional losses of function;
  • Very old age (75-85) — considerable impairment of function but can maintain independence;
  • Oldest old age (over 85) — nursing care or institutionalization often needed.
  • Howley, Franks, and Shephard deeply respect the complications involved in attempting to define or identify specific stages of the aging process. The Fitness Professional’s Handbook emphasizes that health-fitness personnel must be alert to the differences among their older adult physical activity participants.

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