The general improvement in living conditions in the West has raised the life expectancy of the population. It is difficult to establish a concrete age in which a person can be considered “major” because it depends on personal cultures and situations.
The human being, in his thirties and in his quarantine, usually warns with concern the passage of years. They are decades in which the professional achievements and the consolidation of the pair and the descendants are valued. Often, during these years, people are worried to see the first effects of aging.
Aging is a natural process, the duration of which varies according to people, because genetic and environmental factors influence it. It is a process that happens over time and consists of a progressive decline of the integrity and functions of the organism, a greater probability of suffering from diseases and difficulties of adaptation which, finally, leads to death.
We can measure age from different points of view. For example, chronological age. Also important is the biological age, which has to do with our general physical and health status. It is possible to speak of a psychological age, depending on the degree of intellectual maturation and psychosocial development, etc. The United Nations (UN) is speaking in this direction, to advise that we speak of “older people”, generally referring to those over 65, even though, because of high life expectancy, they have many years to live .
Adaptation to normal aging
The human being adapts to the normal process of aging. In the intellectual field, for example, information processing and decision-making slows down, although with some skills this slowdown can be overcome. Sometimes illnesses such as depression or dementia, which damage memory. But often, the inheritance deficit is only caused by inactivity, boredom, and lack of motivation. When there is motivation and memory is exercised, this function is properly conserved, in addition to logically storing a lot of information and experience.
Although some aspects of personality remain unchanged over the years, certain life events, sometimes stressful ones, promote changes of adaptation. The most influential events are separations and deaths of loved ones. In advanced age, the death of the couple, loneliness, chronic disabling diseases and having to leave the home, for different reasons, are very traumatic events, requiring a great capacity for adaptation and, generally, external support.
In the situations described, it is extremely important to have family, friends, neighbors and an adequate health and social care network.
In our society, the elderly are more often women and often have insufficient financial and patrimonial status, which determines their level of well-being. It is common for women to be widowed, with low purchasing power, in a situation of solitude and not always able to find social incentives, or leisure activities. Obviously, many of these women live in residences.
Key aspects of aging
There are some aspects that determine well-being and are present in all the aging people. The good adaptation and optimization in these areas will be of utmost importance:
- Relate to other people
Channeling sexual needs
- Carry out motivational activities
- Properly use resources
- Caring for the body and preventing disabilities
- Overcome the death of loved ones
- Adapt to retirement
- Living positively in old age
- Maintain autonomy
Many are the progressive changes that causes the normal aging. Gray hair appears, wrinkles, decreased physical abilities, mind and body work more slowly, hormonal changes and progressive deterioration of the senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch). There is also a functional impairment of the central nervous system, cardiovascular and respiratory, genitourinary, endocrine and immune systems, among others.
According to a study by some researcher, sexuality is a subject that is given great importance in old age. These investigations indicate that many couples continue to have sex at the age of seventy. In heterosexual couples, the man who terminates sexual relations is the man. In general, it is the death of the couple and the appearance of illnesses and disabilities that motivate the cessation of sexual intercourse.
The studies showed that, with old age, there is a delay in achieving erection and a lesser penile swelling in man, as well as lower vaginal lubrication in women. They also showed that the more sexual activity you have in early adulthood, the more likely it is to remain in old age.
The closeness of death
Aging, advanced chronological age, and the death of loved ones are factors that make older people think of death. Studies show that the fear of death is less frequent as the years go by. Jubler-Ross described the different attitudes that human beings adopt around death: denial of death and isolation, depression and hopelessness, aggressiveness, acceptance and hope.
The idea is to accept that death is inevitable for everyone. People with religious beliefs can find comfort and hope by relying on the “other life.” In any case, those who surround elderly people, in their last days, must treat them with dignity and warmth, because it favors a feeling of serenity of the elderly person in front of their situation.
As it is known, it is so important to live many years as to live them with quality of life. The above advice is convenient for both aspects.
Research shows that a family longevity story is the best indicator of a long life. However, some habits contribute to this longevity, such as:
- No or minimal consumption of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and other drugs
- Develop rewarding work and activities
- Feeling useful to family members or others
- A healthy and balanced diet
- Performing regular medical check-ups.