Maintenance of good physical health
Maintenance of good physical health is very critical in human growth. According to Tulchinsky and Varavikova (2014), maintaining good physical health helps in avoiding so many diseases that may otherwise affect normal human growth. Obesity is one of the major health problems that are associated with lack of good physical health. Other major health problems include cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Maintaining good physical health can help in fighting these lifestyle diseases. One way of achieving graceful aging among the elderly is to maintain regular exercises. Exercise ensures that one remains physically active and strong even in the old age. Good physical health can be achieved through regular exercises in the gym or outdoor activities.
Retention of cognitive abilities
Retention of cognitive abilities is a major problem among the elderly. As Weiner (2003) notes, many people may lose their cognitive skills as they get into old age. It becomes difficult to remember some of the information learnt as one was growing up. This negative mental growth can have serious psychological and physical consequences on a person. Psychologically, one would develop serious depression trying to imagine that the mental capacity has depreciated. Physically, the person may not be able to undertake some of the activities either because of lack of lack of knowledge on how they should be done or reduced physical strength. Retention of cognitive abilities among the elderly requires regular exercise, healthy eating habits, and a life that is less stressful.
Continuing engagement in social and productive activities
Some of the elderly members of the society may find themselves unable to engage in social and productive activities because of their age. In many cases, the elderly find themselves relieved of some of their duties soon after retirement. Those who are lucky to have supportive families are forced to spend most of their time relaxing in the house as most of the important activities are undertaken by their children or grandchildren. For the unlucky ones, they find themselves in homes from the elderly where all they can do is to share about their past with colleagues at these centers. It is important to engage the elderly in social and productive activities to make them feel that they are still important to the society.
Adoption of subjective sense of life satisfaction
A sense of life satisfaction is based on the quality of life that one experiences and the issues of cognitive judgments and emotions (Santrock & Halonen, 2010). In life, people always set their personal goals at very tender age. As one matures, these life goals are adjusted based on the realities that the person is going through. In the old age, one spends most of the time assessing how specific goals were achieved or not achieved at different stages in life. A sense of life satisfaction cannot be defined based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This is so because a person can achieve actualization by getting very little in life. As long as one is satisfied with his current social status, then such a person will be considered to have a sense of life satisfaction.
Conceptualization of old age as variability rather that universal decline
To many people, old age is conceptualized as a universal decline. However, this should not be the case. People should start viewing old age as variability in age and sometimes physical strength. It may not necessarily be a decline because it is common to see old people over 80 years doing activities he used to do in his 40s.
Phases of Grief
Grief is always common among the elderly. It may be caused by a loss of a friend or family member, or an incident that was not expected. The following are the major phases of grief.
Emotional numbness is a situation where one cannot connect with others. It is a form of depression that makes one to withdraw from others as he tries to internalize the events that have taken place. The withdrawal effect may last to varying degree based on the magnitude of the incident and the ability of the person to deal with it.
The next phase is where a person develops a yearning for something that did not happen. For instance, if a close friend was lost in a road accident, one may start yearning for a situation where the journey would have been postponed. They develop a feeling that the incident was actually avoidable.
- Disorganization and despair
Despair and disorganization starts to set in when they realize that their desires are not being fulfilled by wishful thoughts. At this stage, they get to internalize the fact that the undesired incident actually took place against their wish.
This is the past stage where one gets to accept the unfortunate incident and starts to find ways of coping with the loss. It is the stage where the person realizes that life has to continue despite the occurrence of the unfortunate incident.
Universal Determination of Death Act
The Universal Determination of Death Act (UDDA) is a piece of legislation that was enacted in 1981 following a series of studies on brain death that was commissioned by the president (Smith, 2009). The legislation was then approved by ABA (American of Bar Association) and AMA (American Medical Association) in the same year (Purver, 2014). However, each state was given the mandate of adopting the law as it was enacted or modifying it a little to fit into the local context.
The Need for Universal Determination of Death Act
According to Purver (2014), UDDA was enacted out of the desire to define the legal state when one would be considered dead. The legal practitioners and medical practitioners were not in agreement as to when one would be considered dead. Most of the medical experts argued that a person with irreversible cessation of respiratory, circulatory, or functions of the brain would be considered dead. To the medical experts, it would be more beneficial to terminate lives of those with irreversible cessation to important systems within their body. This not only eliminates the associated costs and pressure on medical facilities, but also makes it possible to transfer important organs to other patients. For instance, a person who is brain dead but with healthy heart can donate his heart to someone who has cardiovascular problems before his life can be terminated.
Lawyers argued that taking away one’s life is illegal and can only be equated to murder. They argued that a person can only be considered dead if all the body functions stop functioning in totality. The lawyers’ argument was that several people have been in vegetative state for several months only to come back to life at a time when everyone thought that they may not make it. To them, denying people who are brain dead or those who have respiratory or circulatory cessation right to life should be considered illegal. According to Smith (2009), it was not easy to determine the state at which one would be considered dead before the enactment of this law. This legislation was meant to address the differences in opinion between the doctors and lawyers.
Uses of Universal Determination of Death Act and its pros and cons
This Act was very important in addressing the differences in opinion between lawyers and medical practitioners. It has now defined the state at which a person is considered dead, unlike before when this was not clear. One of the main benefits of this law is that it has made organ donation very common in our society. Anyone in vegetative state can now donate important organs such as heart or kidney before they are taken off the life support system. The criminal cases that existed before, against doctors who terminated lives of patients in vegetative state have been eliminated. Despite these advantages, there are a number of negative issues that are brought about by this law. According to Smith (2009), UDDA has deliberately denied people in vegetative state to fight for their lives. Several cases have been witnessed where such patients regain consciousness after some time. However, this may not be possible under the new law. The law also gives unscrupulous doctors a leeway to terminate lives of their patients because they are supported by the law.
Purver, J. M. (2014). Family law update. New York: Kluwer Law International.
Santrock, J. W., & Halonen, J. S. (2010). Your guide to college success: Strategies for achieving your goals. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Smith, J. W. (2009). Hospital liability. New York: Law Journal Seminars-Press.
Tulchinsky, H., & Varavikova, E. (2014). The new public health. Amsterdam: Academic Press.
Weiner, I. B. (2003). Handbook of psychology: 9. Hoboken: Wiley & Sons Publishers.