Overview of active/successful aging
Aging is one of the most certain realities of human nature and it is an irreversible aspect of our livelihood. All over the world, most people have shifted their focus towards a successful and a healthy livelihood in their old age lives (Gullette, 2004). This phenomenon was not given too much attention in the olden days but the current modern world has deemed it necessary to secure their future. It is undeniable that throughout the globe, the world’s population is growing older as the days go by. However, this is an inevitable reality and it is not under our human control.
Population aging therefore has become a global phenomenon (Katz, 2005). The increase of life expectancy is being influenced by a number of factors including the inception of lifelong education, the development of biomedical technology, and social and economic progress. Aging is not only seen as a population phenomenon but also it can be described as an individual reality (Gilleard & Higgs, 2005). Debate about what influences aging still lingers among scientist. Some believe that ageing is tied to individual genetic makeup while others maintain that environmental conditions are the greatest influencers of aging.
Either way, decisions made by individuals are the main factors that influence their aging process. The Well-being of an aging person is depended greatly on how one adapts to the changes of their ageing process (Gullette, 2004). Aging can be summarized as a set of processes that are responsible or contribute to individual health deterioration (Katz, 2005). This process goes on and ultimately results in death as time goes by. Aging processes include any process in the human body that contributes to his or her decline in productivity, well being and performance over a period of time. Such processes increase an individual’s risk of frailty, disability, morbidity, and increase the mortality rate (Katz, 2005). The principle of aging is unavoidable even in other fields, like in physics for example. They say that any system is bound to deteriorate with time even if it is built from non-aging elements. This is referred to as the reliability theory (Katz, 2005).
As an individual grows older, they tend to become less independent and less active in a number of areas (Grenier, 2012). Nonetheless, individuals can be able to promote a successful aging in a number of processes depending on individual preferences. Adapting to the changes of ageing may require psychological preparedness, exercising and a healthy diet. Mental health is of great importance while dealing with the aging problem since most of the functions of the body are influenced by the brain (Grenier, 2012). Personal attitudes towards life and aging are crucial in achieving an active and successful aging. Other aspects of dealing with a positive aging process are by remaining involved in different activities.
Engagements such as taking classes and attending lectures are known to rejuvenate the brain and control the impacts of aging. Successful aging can be effectively achieved through intellectual stimulation. Aging is not a reason or an excuse for one to be lazy or dependent (Grenier, 2012). It is not a reason for one to feel like he or she has no strength. Although as one ages, he or she becomes weaker naturally; there are proven ways of extenuating this feeling and it is imperative that aging individuals exploit those options.
Barriers to active/successful aging
Active aging means remaining active and positive about life. Most people do not understand the implications of lazy or idle lifestyles in the old age. Some people take old age as an excuse for becoming lazy and dependent. Aging individuals lack the consistency from their previous active lifestyle and ultimately become redundant and their productivity reduces retrogressively (Grenier, 2012). An active aging requires an individual to actively get involved in activities that can keep their minds busy (Gilleard & Higgs, 2005). One of the greatest barriers to active and successful aging includes having negative views towards one’s life. This has been cited by many experts in the aging field arguing that most people lose their successful lifestyles due to their age.
As they always say, age is just but numbers and that should be the attitude to approach ageing. The number of years that an individual has should not be the basis for determining what he or she can or cannot do. Successful aging can be critically hampered by what we think is happening to us when aging looms (Gilleard & Higgs, 2005). Many aging individuals believe that loosing muscles and weight as well as lack of independence are inevitable characteristics of aging (Gullette, 2004). However, this is not necessarily true. Such a mentality makes aging individuals lazy to take their responsibility and do some exercise for their health’s sake. Sickness is another major barrier to successful aging. With a deteriorating health, sicknesses seem to have a negative impact on older people compared to the younger generation. Chronic illness and other health issues that are as a result of previous lifestyle can also lead to a weak body during the old age (Gullette, 2004).
Other habits formed during one’s young age also can be a great barrier to a healthy aging. Young people who indulge in drugs and other behaviors may find it difficult to have good health in their old age (Gilleard & Higgs, 2005). Use of drugs, alcohol and poor diet affect the body’s ability to withstand challenges brought about by aging. Lack of information is also another barrier of an active and successful aging. Old people must be provided with efficient knowledge on how to keep fit and stay healthy during their old age. Also, the misconception of engaging in fewer activities in order to take the proverbial rest from a lifelong working experience should be discarded since it contributes a lot to aging problems (Gullette, 2004). Poverty is another great barrier to successful aging and it is one of the most dreaded circumstances that an aging individual can be trapped in. An aging individual living in poverty has more detrimental challenges compared to one who lives in affluence (Gilleard & Higgs, 2005).
Considering the fact that an aging individual has significantly low prospects of getting a job or even making money, a poor aging individual may have great challenges in terms of financial independence. Lack of financial freedom is detrimental since one cannot be able to purchase some of the fundamentals of life. Another barrier to a successful aging is having unsuccessful children. This is a very private matter that many would wish to ignore, but in reality it does affect ageing. If an elderly individual has rowdy children who are not successful and are jobless, his aging will be filled with sorrow and confrontations (Gilleard & Higgs, 2005). An old man needs peace of mind and less drama. However, naughty children can bring a lot of discomfort to an elderly parent hence causing great pressure to their well-being.
Facilitators of active/successful aging
The first and foremost facilitator of active and successful aging is the development of an age friendly society. Most of the aging individual’s suffering is as a result of societal negligence and negative treatment of the elderly. The society and the world we are living in have little if any remorse for the elderly generation. The society neglects the older people making their lives very difficult. Off course, an elderly individual will have a hard time if he or she feels unwanted in the society. The elderly are treated as if they bother the younger generation, hence making their lives unbearable. If this notion can be dealt with, then aging will cease from becoming a dreadful experience. Maintaining a good health is vital for aging individuals. This helps them be fit and strong to avoid dependency.
Exercises and daily activities keep the mind alert hence improving active and successful aging. Some of the activities that aging individuals can be engaged in include aerobics, light weight lifting and jogging. These are light exercises that can help flex their muscles and keep them fit. Aging individuals must keep to a diet. However, moderated physical activities are recommended for aging individuals. To achieve being active and successful aging, one must eat healthy foods to boost their immune system. Mental health is also critical for a successful aging. Individuals with mental problems are more likely to have bad experiences in their old ages compared to those with sane minds. To facilitate successful aging experience, affordable housing must be availed to aging individuals. Considering old people are less likely to get an employment in the job market, the simple necessities should be made accessible to them.
This may also include accessible home safety kits and products to help the elderly in their homes. Active and successful aging cannot be achieved in an unsafe neighborhood and buildings. The elderly are more prone to the effects of insecurity compared to the rest of the population. Since aging is not a disability, elderly individuals can own vehicles. In this case, there should be proper safety measure on the roads and signage to guide them through the traffic. For those who do not have their own cars, there should be safe and accessible public means of transport, and it should be affordable to the aging population. Professional services must also be sensitive to the needs of the elderly. Institutions such as banks, railway stations, airports, bus stops and schools must offered special treatment to the elderly with regard to their inability to compete with the younger generation.
Financial security and economic independence is a great facilitator of active and successful aging. Without finances one can have quite a difficult time in the modern world. Aging individuals who have adequate finances have fewer problems, because they can afford to eat good meals and sign in for medical checkups now and then. Some of the things required to make aging an easy and pleasant experience are quite expensive and may require money to lessen these challenges. Take for instance organic foods that are very expensive. Enrolling for a gym to work out and exercise, and a number of other aspects of keeping fit make life very expensive.
Am I aging actively/successfully?
In my opinion, I believe that will be aging successfully. This assumption is backed by several practices that characterize my personal life. First, I am a very conservative fellow when it comes to diet and food. I am not a fun of fast foods and I prefer home cooked dishes rather than the random fast foods that are popular with young people of my age. The consumption of alcoholic drinks and drugs are some of the things that compromise the well being of an individual in their old age. I have over the years avoided such substances and upheld healthy eating habits. I am also very keen on getting my mind engaged in various activities.
Am in the community football team where we meet to practice every evening and jogging every morning. This helps in keeping me fit and healthy thus aging problems may not have a toll on me. I am also involved in various health group programs that educate us on how to prepare for aging. The problem with most people experiencing aging challenges is because they did not adequately prepare both mentally and physically in their youth. I think I am aging successfully because my health is quite good and am also very conscious of the things that I do that may compromise my health and well being. I intend on pursuing further education and learn more about other things especially in history and probably the world of technology.
This will keep my mind intelligently provoked leaving no room for redundancy. I believe that keeping my mind engaged and my physical fitness intact will greatly help in reducing my aging challenges. However, I am very well aware of what to expect from the looming old age ahead of me. There is power in having a prior knowledge of what lays in store for you because it helps you to be prepared and plan for different situations. My preparedness is based on prior knowledge of what to expect gained through listening to the experiences of others. Aging can be stressful if one lacks financial independence hence becoming a bother to his or her progeny. I have thought of this and I have a plan in place to save funds that, I expect, will enable me to live comfortably in my old age. Saving is very important for my financial security in the future.
I am also very concerned about my weight and I always go for medical checkups every 3 months. This helps me monitor my health condition and ultimately maintain a healthy body. With all these careful measures in place, there are no possibilities that my successful aging will be compromised at any cost. To identify and ensure that I am aging successfully, I must live right in my young age and be careful of what I do with my health and body since it has direct implications on whatever will happen in my future life. It is critically imperative to monitor one’s health and be sure that they are headed at the right direction with their health.
Medical checkups and exercises are the most effective ways proven by experts to control and ensure a health and well being of an aging individual. Therefore, I have a responsibility to guard and influence my aging future and that can be done in these early stages of life. I am positive about being able to achieve a successful and active aging if I continue with the careful life practices that I am carrying out currently.
Personal plan for aging actively/successfully
My personal plan for aging is simple. To avoid any kind of challenges in my young age is the key principle for good aging. I support the social-emotional selectivity theory. The Kernel idea of this theory is that as we age, we are choosy about the associations in which we devote emotional power (Gilleard & Higgs, 2005). The theory, developed by Dr. Laura Carstensen, has influenced motivating exploration about how older people may vary in their communal and emotional requirements from younger people (Gilleard & Higgs, 2005).
Overall, some of the results imply that older people are predisposed to prefer associations they see as consistent and content. On the other hand, younger people are inclined to react more positively than their elders to innovation and motivation in associations. Even though this theory has been used to elucidate conduct of people in older accommodation and nursing homes, one study suggests that this transformation begins roughly at the age of 30. For our bodies, we can avoid smoking and take pleasure at our food and drinks and take delight in cooking our own meals. In general, it’s mainly imperative at mid-life not to take any notice of health tribulations when they gather up. Stemming the wave of mass increase will be of assistance while weight-bearing work-out or potency exercise is confirmed to be one of the obliging applications for keeping up our mobility as we age (Gilleard & Higgs, 2005).
By all ways, at this end we require to take time to sweep, floss, and clean our teeth and go to the dentist frequently. I personally prefer and recommend people to wear content and accommodative shoes always. This is just an incomplete and rather characteristic successful aging training list. It’s not even as straightforward for everybody to do all of these things, economically, bodily, or psychologically. So it is most excellent not to judge others but to hold up their hard work. So much in life is not contained by our power, and aging at an indispensable level is one of the individual things. We will get older and we will change in innumerable ways, and if we live long enough, we will ultimately be unable to find a number of our capabilities.
We can only do our best to acknowledge and respect our bodies and minds, look for help when we require it, and enclose ourselves with thoughtful and optimistic associations. All aging individuals do not experience equal or similar challenges all together. To this extent, it is imperative that every individual conducts a personal routine and develops an individual plan.
Gilleard, C. & Higgs, P. (2005). Contexts of Ageing: Class, Cohort and Community. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.
Grenier, A. (2012). Transitions and the Life course. Bristol, US: The Polity Press.
Gullette, M., M. (2004). Aged by Culture. Chicago, US: University of Chicago Press.
Katz, S. (2005). Cultural Aging: Life Course, Lifestyle and Senior Worlds. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press.