LEARNING OBJECTIVES

• How do our skin, hair, and voices change with age?

• What happens to our body build with age?

• What age-related changes occur in our ability to move around?

70 CHAPTER 3

B

y all accounts, Kristina is extremely successful.

She was a famous model in her late teens and 20s, and by the time she was 36 she had learned enough about the business to start her own multina­tional modeling agency. The other day Kristina was very upset when she looked in the mirror and saw a wrinkle. “Oh no," she exclaimed, “I can’t be getting wrinkles! What am I going to do?"

Kristina’s experience isn’t unique. We all see the outward signs of aging first in the mirror: gray hair, wrinkled skin, and an expanding waistline or hips. These changes occur gradually and at differ­ent rates; some of us experience all the changes in young adulthood, whereas others don’t have them until late middle or old age. How we perceive the person staring back at us in the mirror says a great deal about how we feel about aging; positive feel­ings about the signs of aging are related to positive self-esteem.

How easily we move our changing bodies in the physical environment is also a major component of adaptation and well-being in adulthood. If we can­not get around, we must depend on others, which lowers our self-esteem and sense of competence. Having a body that moves effectively also lets us enjoy physical activities such as walking, swim­ming, and skiing.