Understanding of people’s psychological development can help healthcare professionals better prepare for providing quality care. Lifespan development guru John Santrock sees development as a pattern of change and movement starting with a person’s conception, lasting throughout the while life, and ending with his or her death. Unlike earlier studies on aging, Santrock (2015) defines lifespan development as a dynamic process of both growth and decline, of both gains and losses. Likewise, Feldman (2013) talks about psychological development as a lifelong process that includes cognitive, social, and personality development. He does not view these three apart from physical development, i.e. health.
The perspective on aging as a dynamic, multidimensional process of both gains and losses is a necessary component of healthcare professionals’ psychological awareness. Contrary to an established view that aging involves only decline, including cognitive, personality, and social decline, understanding aging psychologically as a process of development helps healthcare professionals capitalize on the gains of the aging people they deal with, for example, intelligence peaks only around the age of sixty; aging people are better at maintain nice relationships with people (Feldman, 2013). Healthcare professionals can, therefore, develop a holistic perspective of aging and get rid of dangerous bias against the elderly. This philosophically oriented view will improve care. Also, understanding the psychological specifics of each particular age/stage of human development will help healthcare professionals gain a deeper insight into the causes of their patients’ actions, behaviours, and decisions. This approach will help healthcare professionals establish closer and trustworthy relationships with their patients and avoid unnecessary bias.
In this way, understanding the specifics of psychological development is the basis of providing competent, patient-focused, and high quality care. It can help avoid the problem of bias and stereotyping.
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