Types of Aging - Essay Example

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Aging is a natural, gradual, and ongoing process that sets off at birth and continues throughout all stages of a person’s life. The life expectancy of a person may be affected by factors such as heredity, lifestyle, health care, and environment e.g. exposure to toxins may dramatically reduce expectancy. …
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Download file to see previous pages exposure to toxins may dramatically reduce expectancy. Today’s society has witnessed a pronounced increase in longevity coupled with lowered birth rates. Aging bears both positive stereotypes (such as becoming wiser, more confident, and more motivated) and negative aspects such as predisposition to disease, disability, and depression arising from isolation which influences old people’s self esteem (Morgan and Kunkel 2011, p.11). Some years back, aging experience was not a cosy affair. Nevertheless, improvements in health and nutrition aided by technology have eased the experience making it more comfortable. Modern technology has improved the living conditions of many people. However, the increase in longevity has yielded shortcomings such as a rise in risk of abuse, exploitation, and neglect among the older people. Statistics from the Office for National Statistics (UK) indicate that the percentage of the population above 70 years will continue to surge through the 21st century. A report from the Office of National Statistics places the life expectancy of persons at 75 years, a figure that rises with dawn of each day. The contemporary society has undergone demographic, structural, and cultural transformations with the advent of aging populations. In fact, gerontologists have coined the term “global graying” to describe this phenomenon. ...
Chronological age also aids in prediction of health problems within the population and is a common variable in research endeavours (Blackburn & Dulmus 2007, p.3). Biological/physiological aging refers to body changes that accompany advancement of years. The physical changes that occur in people are not all normal since they borrow heavily on lifestyle choices and cultural practices. Some of these changes can be modified, if not prevented. Psychological aging refers to how people act and feel about themselves as they age. As people age, the information processing capability such as reaction time, intelligence, learning, memory and problem solving are affected. Similarly, their personality and self concept is affected. For instance, a 90-year-old who is occupationally active may be considered as psychologically young (Morgan and Kunkel 2011, p.12). As people age, they become functional dependent. This is particularly more pronounced in mental functions such as learning of new languages (Hillier and Barrow (2011, p.48). Functional age helps in targeting of services to sub-groups guided by age and need e.g. identification of people with physical limitations and who need home care. Contemporary societies have been able to maintain a reasonable quality of life of the old while preserving their functional independence. In addition, as people age, social factors such as society’s perception of “growing old” or being “old” define and redefine the social construction of self. As individuals age, they are bombarded with contradictory social meanings, structures, and processes attached to age. Most of these constructions are erroneous accounts on the effect of aging on the physical and mental capabilities of the elders. People interpret events in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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