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Stages of Human Growth and Development

People all grow through stages, or steps, in life. As a nursing assistant, it is important to understand how humans grow and develop throughout their lives. Human growth means the changes that people go through physically, such as growing from a child into a teenager. Human development involves social changes, or relating to other people, and emotional changes, or how changes in a person’s life make them feel. Human development also includes cognitive changes, or the ways in which someone thinks and understands the world.

Human growth is divided into sections for ages of humans, such as infancy, toddlerhood, preschool age, school age, adolescence, young adult years, middle adult years, and young-old years, middle-old years, and old-old years. People in the young-old years, middle-old years, and old-old years are called elderly. Each stage includes social, emotional, and cognitive characteristics that are average for people of those ages.

Nursing assistants often work with elderly patients. They may also work with patients who are younger but have physical or cognitive impairments that prevent them from caring for themselves. The age of a person does not always match the cognitive level of the individual. Some patients may be more or less mature than their peers. They also might have different emotional and social needs, depending on their background and life experience.

Being familiar with the life stages of human growth and development can help nursing assistants understand their patients’ needs better.

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© 2015 by Southwest Adult Basic Education

Project made financially possible through grants from:

Southwest Initiative Foundation, Marshall Community Foundation, Southwest Regional Transition Partners, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Marshall Healthcare Partners