There is a famous saying that with age comes wisdom. But does it? If yes, then why are there so many people with a lot of aging issues? Research has proven that most people are scared of aging as a result of some of the identifiable problems linked to aging, which includes mental health, depression, proneness to physical injury e.t.c.
As the saying goes, “failure to plan, is planning to fail.”
The aging process doesn’t necessarily have to be difficult if adequately prepared for in terms of finances, psychology, health, and otherwise.
Highlighted below are some of these problems and practical ways we can prevent some of these problems and also means we can manage some others.
As you get older, some changes occur internally in one’s body system, such as your heart becomes slower as you age. In other words, the rate at which your heart pumps reduces as you age. It is therefore imperative to maintain excellent cardiovascular health as you get older. Going on daily walks and runs, and maintaining a diet full of fruits and vegetables are good steps to keeping your heart pumping as it should.
Because aging causes bones to shrink and muscles to lose strength and flexibility, older people are prone to losing their balance, bruising and fracturing a bone. Research shows that for every 45-60 seconds, an adult gets admitted into the emergency room for a fall, and for every 30-45minutes, a senior dies from falling.
Falls, however, is not inevitable, but in many scenarios, you can avoid them through education, practical modifications such as the use of a step stool with handle which will assist an older person to get into bed, pick up something from a cupboard or enter a bathtub.
More often than not, aged people are prone to mental issues ranging from social isolation/loneliness to depression. The reason for this is not far- fetched, as the younger generations tend to abandon the older ones seeing them as a ‘burden’ or a ‘distraction or a thing of disgrace to their so-called beautiful lives.
This lack of care from family members (both nuclear and extended) can create a serious social issue for the elderly ones causing them to experience loneliness, anxiety, even abject poverty in some cases and invariably acute depression which could lead to an untimely death.
Older people face the issue of social exclusion daily. Nobody wants a function filled with old folks.
Nobody wants to be around the old folks as they are considered to be ‘old school’ with little or no knowledge of what is in vogue. This stereotype concerning the aged brings about low morale and low self-esteem in them (aged).
Social exclusion of the aged has no consideration for the individual personality of these set of people. Imagine an older adult who is an extrovert by nature, how on earth do you think such a person will cope with this social exclusion? As such, it is worthy of note that relegating the aged to the background in everything kills faster than some physiological problems confronting them.
The decline in cognitive capability
Research has shown that the brain peaks at age 29 and start to deteriorate by age 53; This implies that we all reach a kind of cognitive ‘peak’ at some points in our lives after which declination begins to set in.
This decline in cognitive capability is often characterized by impaired thinking, slurred or incoherent speech and even decreased consciousness. As such, when one grows older, there tends to be a reduction in one’s intellectual activities such as thinking/reasoning, remembering, judgment and all other forms of mental processes (cognitive impairment).
Though the decline in mental capability is inevitable as one grows older because our biological clock keeps ticking no matter what, the situation can be made better or slowed down if well handled. Measures that can help minimize the adverse effects of aging on our mental capability include adequate intake of vitamins and supplements that aid brain development such as vitamin B12 and folate, doing enough exercise, don’t stay off books for an extended period, that is, try exercising your brain often.
It is a general truth that another part of the body that experiences deterioration as we grow older is the eyes. As one gets older, the vision gets weakened. Research has shown that at least one person in three has some form of vision-reducing eye disease by the age of 5. As aging sets in, one becomes vulnerable to eye diseases such as:
Cataract (clouding of the usually clear lens of the eyes; the opacity of the eyes),
Glaucoma (an eye condition that damage the optic nerve),
Diabetic retinopathy (this occurs when high blood sugar levels damage blood vessels in the retina),
Dry eyes (common in women due to menopause),
Age-related macular degeneration (loss of central vision) etc.
With an increase in exposure, awareness and technological advancement, one needs to be aware that regular eye check-up is essential as one grows older. Also, maintaining a healthy diet helps improve the vision.
A decline in sexual performance
As pleasurable as sexual intimacy is, it may become a thorn in the flesh as one gets older. This is because all the organs that make the act enjoyable have started deteriorating. For example, testosterone levels decline in men as they age. Studies have shown that this decline in the sexual performance of older people is a result of many factors such as intake of alcohol over time, depression, use of certain medications, menopause, diseases like diabetes, stroke, etc. All these factors make the older people suffer several sexual issues such as impotence or erectile dysfunction in men, vaginal dryness in women, low self-esteem in women(that feeling of being ‘sexy’ is gone), lack of vigor to perform the act, among other issues.
Despite all these issues, we have seen or heard of people who still enjoy sexual pleasure even at their old age. Though nature must take its course as time goes by, we can also make conscious efforts in improving our sexual performance even as we grow older.
Irrespective of the numerous problems associated with aging, it is pertinent to say at this point that one can still enjoy sound physical, mental and social well being even as one grows older. It all boils down to our personal decision and deliberate efforts to stay healthy.