Actively Aging

Actively Aging

Saturday, October 29, 2016

What Is Aging?

Aging begins the day we are born and continues until the day we die. However, many people think of aging as a synonym for our later years as in the phrase old age.

Scientifically, aging is a biological occurs process that occurs in cells throughout the body. Many scientists believe that aging is the product of an accumulation of damage caused by normal wear and tear on cells. Under that way of thinking, the longer you live the more cellular damage occurs.

But that is being reexamined.

As Laura Carstensen says in her book A Long Bright Future, "If our bodies were cars, you could say that now we're driving them long after the factory warranties have expired. No other generation has kept their parts in service this long before, and little is known how they'll perform once they've had 80 or 90 yearsto accrue engine buildup."

"In a way, we've overshot evolution," Carstensen says.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Longevity is Here, But It Isn't Yet Equal Around the World.

Currently, for the first time in history, old age is no longer going to be the exception, but the rule.

However, unless changes are made, longevity will not occur equally around the world.

In fact, the current divergence of life expectancy between developed and developing countries is astounding.

For example, life expectancy in Japan is currently 79 for men and 86 for women. Fewer than 1 percent of Japanese children die before age 5.

However, in Sierra Leone, life expectancy is 29 years for men and 42 years for women. In that African country, nearly 27 percent of children die before they reach age 5.

So what accounts for such drastic differences? There are 4 main culprits. They are:
  1. lack of health care 
  2. underdeveloped infrastructures to purify water and food
  3. high rates of complications during pregnancy and birth
  4. the spread of HIV/AIDS and other deadly infectious diseases.
The good news is we have the science and knowledge to change that. The questions is whether we have the political will to spend the money it will take.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Where Clinton, Trump Stand on Older Adult Issues

There are only four weeks left until America chooses its next president—Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump. 

Where do the two major party candidates stand on issues of concern to older adults and the aging network? 

Here's a breakdown from the NCOA (National Council on Aging)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Fact or Myth: Growing Old Is Equal for Everyone

Those who will be turning 65 in the next 20 or 30 years will have an advantage no generation in human history has ever had - strength in numbers.

However, it appears as if we may seeing the beginning of 2 old ages emerging - One is for the affluent and healthy and the other is for the poor an disabled.

Being poor not only reduces the quality of life; it reduces the amount of years you can expect to live.

The life expectancy between the most affluent and the least affluent has almost doubled in the past 20 years, from 2.8 years at the turn of the century to 4.5 years today.

For example, affluent white women on average live 14 years longer than poor black men in America.

So in the coming years, not only will we have to adjust our society for an aging population, we will have to work to make sure that aging can be done with as much equality as possible.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Fact or Myth: Older People Drain Our Resources

There is no question that longevity is growing. The global population of older people is expected to triple by 2050, when 1.5 billion people will be over the age of 65.

Some doomsayers have predicted that this aging tsunami will drain the planet of our natural resources. But other experts have said this won't be the case.

Those optimistic experts admit that population growth will be a problem but people actually living longer isn't the problem.  Since most of the population growth will be in currently under-developed areas of Africa, parts of Asia, and the Middle East, the true issue is that this new gift of longevity is unequally distributed around the world.

Obviously, there will be a need to focus and change in these under-developed parts of the world, but that can be accomplished.

In the more developed western world the scarcity myth is driven by two opposite scenarios. In the first, older people will take up space while consuming resources that should be shared by everyone younger. The flip side is that older people will be too productive, that is they will refuse to retire and keep younger people from getting the jobs they need to survive.

However neither of these scenarios need to become the reality. For example, supplemental programs of assistance such as Social Security and Medicare can be revised in light of the new longevity. Studies are indicating that having people work longer is not only beneficial to their sense of meaning, but also provides a boost to the economy. An aging population will also increase the need for expanded services such as health care.