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Middle age is the age range of the years halfway between childhood and old age. The exact range is subject to medical debate, but the term is commonly used to denote the age range from around 40–45 years to around 60–65. This phase of life is marked by gradual physical, cognitive, and social decline in individuals as they age.
This time span is generally referred to as "middle age" and can be defined as the time of ages about 40–45 to about 60–65. Many changes may occur between young adulthood and this stage. There is no universal consensus on what the exact definition of middle age is, but usual characteristics include the beginning of rapid decline of fertility, graying of hair, and lessening of opportunities. The American Psychological Association defines "middle adulthood" as beginning at 35 or 36, and many ranges do not end until 60 or 65. Modern social scientists generally agree that midlife begins around 35 or 40 and ends around 55 or 60, and also depends on 'cultural and sociodemographic' factors.
Those in middle adulthood or middle age continue to develop relationships and adapt to changes in relationships. Such changes are highly evident in the maturing relationships between growing or grown children and aging parents. Community involvement is fairly typical of this stage of adulthood, as is continued career development.
Middle-aged adults may begin to show visible signs of aging. This process can be more rapid in women who have osteoporosis. Changes might occur in the nervous system. The ability to perform complex tasks remains intact. During the years surrounding the age of 51, women experience menopause, which ends natural fertility. Menopause can have many side effects. Changes can occur to skin, and other changes may include a decline in physical fitness, including a reduction in aerobic performance, a decrease in maximal heart rate, and graying and loss of hair. Sensory sensitivity in middle-aged adults has been shown to be one of the lowest. These measurements are generalities, and people may exhibit changes at different rates and times.
Mortality rates can begin to increase, due mainly to health issues like heart problems, cancer, hypertension, and diabetes. Still, the majority of middle-aged people in industrialized nations can expect to live into old age.
Starting around age 35, pregnant women are considered to be of advanced maternal age, and significant declines in fertility begin to occur that usually end with menopause around age 50. The normal range for menopause is 45 to 55.
Erik Erikson refers to this period of adulthood as generativity versus stagnation, the seventh of eight stages of Erikson's stages of psychosocial development. People in middle adulthood or middle age may experience some cognitive loss, which usually remains unnoticeable because life experiences and strategies get developed to compensate for any decrease in mental abilities.
During this stage, adults often strive to have things that will outlast them. Generativity, which is the concern and the commitment middle-aged people have for future generations, is a big part of development during this stage.
Social and personality characteristics
For some, marital satisfaction remains intact, but other family relationships can become more difficult. Career satisfaction focuses more on inner satisfaction and contentedness and less on ambition and the desire to advance. Even so, career changes occur often. Middle adulthood or middle age can be a time when people reexamine their lives by taking stock and evaluating their accomplishments. Morality may change and become more conscious. The perception that those in this stage of development of life undergo a so-called midlife crisis is a largely false one. Personality characteristics remain stable throughout this period, and relationships in middle adulthood may continue to evolve into connections that are stable.
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When is middle age? We define middle age as "the period of human life between youth and old age, sometimes considered as the years between 45 and 65 or thereabout."Given the different views on when old age begins, it shouldn't surprise you to learn that the exact range of middle age is not set in stone either. In general, our age range of "45 to 65" is around the age range generally used to say when middle age supposedly occurs. Polling shows that people may think middle age begins later or earlier depending on who you ask.
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