The eighth and final stage of development is old age. Erikson was in his early 40s when he first conceptualized this stage and arbitrarily defined it as the period from about age 60 to the end of life. Old age need not mean that people are no longer generative. Procreation, in the narrow sense of producing children, may be absent, yet old people can remain productive and creative in other ways. They can be caring grandparents to their own grandchildren as well as to other younger members of society. Old age can be a thne of joy, playfulness, and wonder; but it is also a thne of senility, depression, and despair. The psychosexual mode of old age is generalized sensuality; the psychosocial crisis is integrity versus despair, and the basic strength is wisdom.
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