Changes as we ageBehavioral changes, physical changes, emotionalchanges, and cognitive changes all affect how youage. In the year 2000, one of every seven U.S.citizens was over the age of 65. This is the fastestgrowing segment of the population and is expectedto increase to one of every five U.S. citizens by theyear 2025. (Cognitive Aging, 2004) Additionalresearch is needed to reduce cognitive impairmentand enhance vitality in later years.
Behavioral changes• Convey more positive emotions overall• Higher satisfaction with family, friends, and life in general• Resistance to change• Reduction in drinking and smoking habits• Incidence of crime declines(Myers, 2011, p.170)(Age Differences, 2004)
Physical changes• Loss of visual acuity• Hearing loss• Declining sensitivity to taste, smell, and pain• Substantial increase in individual variability*• Reduced muscle strength and stamina• Reduced cardiac output• Weakened immune system*Individual variability is the difference between one individual to the other. (Aging and Intelligence, 2004)
Emotional changes• More anxiety• Less depression and hostility if health is maintained• Grieving losses can create stubbornness and regression• Frustration with physical changes• More fear of injury or illness (Age Differences, 2004)
Cognitive changes• Decreased long-term memory• Decrease in neural processing in the hippocampus area of the brain• Gain in vocabulary and accumulated knowledge (Crystallized Intelligence)• Deficits in problem solving• Overall intellectual functioning decreases• Dual-task performance declines(Myers, 2011, p.167)(Cognitive Aging, 2004)
How to stay healthy as you ageStaying healthy as you age is important to all ofus. You want to be able to enjoy life for as long asyou can. There are some basic tips to help do justthat. To enhance your cognitive skills, you mustcontinue to learn. To enhance your physical state,you must exercise moderately. To enhance youremotional state, you need to surround yourselfwith people that love and care for you. (CognitiveAging, 2004) All of these help you to maintain aheightened quality of life.
How to stay healthy as you age• Regular exercise• Stress management• Social support• Spirituality• Nutrition
Diseases associated with agingDiseases associated with aging can affect everyaspect of your health. There are some that affectonly the memory or cognitive skills. There aremany that affect your physical well being.Finally, there are those that affect cognitive,behavioral, physical, and emotion attributes ofhealth. Controlling your weight, blood pressure,and glucose levels helps to maintain andstrengthen your immune system. (Cognitive Aging, 2004)
Diseases associated with aging• Alzheimers disease• Huntingtons disease• Delirium and Dementia• Low thyroid function• Diabetes• Cardiac disease• Stroke• High blood pressure
Improvements and advancements• Developments in neuroimaging technology have increased the understanding of the relationship between the brain and behavior.• Rapid growth in data storage technology has made access to aging studies available.• Personal emergency response products and videophones have made it possible for more elderly individuals to remain in their homes longer.• Advancements in both hearing and vision aids have improved the quality of life for many.• There are gadgets available to make housekeeping and leisure activities more enjoyable.• Research on stem cell and gene therapy have continued. (Cognitive Aging, 2004)
Mediating variablesThere are additional risks associated with certainvariables. Who you are, what you do, where youcome from, and what type of person you are allaffect how you age. Biology and environmentare also key factors in determining if you gainweight as you age, if you lose your hair, wrinkle,and even the diseases you may carry. Anotherimportant variable is the opportunities you getfrom a higher education, social level, and accessto proper medical care. (Cognitive Aging, 2004)
Mediating variables• Gender• Education level• Social class• Race• Motivation• Temperament• Degree of impairment• Opportunities
Crisis managementBefore you get sick or incapacitated there are afew guidelines that can help you to control yourinterests. Preparing documents that advise otherswhat your final wishes are is critical for a stressfree retirement and beyond. Letting someone youtrust know where all your important documentsare, can give you peace of mind. Next is a list ofdocuments to prepare in advance or gather in oneplace to make the transition easier. (Huddleston, 2011)
Crisis management• Will • Location of lock Box• Power of Attorney • Tax Returns• Living Will • Deed to Home • List of Banks, Attorneys,• Funeral Accountants, Mortgage Arrangements Company, Financial• Pension Papers Planner, or Brokerage• Social Security Firm Information • Medications taken All of the above will help the people you love to deal with the details of your life.
ConclusionOverall, with a strong active support systemolder individuals can perform well and evenimprove in most aspects of aging. With regularexercise, nutrition, social and spiritual support aswell as stress management quality of life can bemaintained for a longer period of time thanprevious generations. Appropriate provisionsneed to be addressed to enhance peace of mindand make it easier for loved ones to care for you.
ReferencesAge Differences. (2004). In The Concise Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioral Science. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com/entry/wileypsych/age_differencesAging and Intelligence. (2004). In The Concise Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioral Science. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com/entry/wileypsych/aging_and_intelligenceAging, Theories Of. (2006). In Elseviers Dictionary of Psychological Theories. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com/entry/estpsyctheory/aging_theories_ofCognitive Aging (2004). In Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com/entry/estappliedpsyc/cognitive_agingHuddleston, C. (2011, March). Managing your Parents Money. Kiplinger. Retrieved from http://www.kiplinger.com/magazine/archives/managing-your- parents-money.htmlMyers, D. G. (2011). Physical Changes Later in Life. Exploring Psychology. Worth Publishers. 41 Madison Avenue, New York, NY