What Happens During Aging?

Advancing age signals changes on many levels

If you ask a younger person what happens during aging, they have no idea.  They may describe graying of hair or wrinkling of skin.  Aging isa very personal experience.  Not everyone ages the same and not every organ in the body will age the same.  Some people may look young and live life with gusto.  Others may look old by the time they reach 50 years of age.  Sixty is usually the age at which a person is described as mature  or aged.  The largest demographic of our population is the 85+ segment.  In the past, most people did not live much after 50.  Today people are living into their hundreds.  It is changing the way we will live our lives.

Symptoms of Aging

Aging occurs from the time that we are born.  After 30 years of age, the blush is off the bloom.  Here are some of the changes which occur for someone over 60 years of age:  1) loss of height; 2) gradual deterioration of muscles with age including those in the shoulders; 3) the diameter of the hips increases with age; 4)  elasticity of the lungs decreases requiring more effort to breath; 5) total body water declines to about 54% in men and 46% in women; 6) there is a decrease in muscle mass; 7) Major organs show loss of mass; 7) Movement becomes more difficult as joints stiffen and muscle strength lessens; 8) The exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs becomes less efficient;  9) Changes occur in the heart muscle and in the walls of the arteries; 10) The digestive system becomes less efficient causing necessary dietary changes; 11) There is an increase in the frequency of urination.  12)  Medications are not absorbed as well.  These are just a few of the changes that take place.  Men generally increase in weight until their middle 50′s and then gradually lose weight.  Women tend to continue to gain weight until their 60′s before beginning to lose.

What you can do to slow aging changes

Older-adults1To live a fulfilling and quality life, the old adage ‘Use it or lose it’ is apropos.  The brain uses 20-25% of the oxygen in the body and must be pumped from the heart.  What is good for the heart is also good for the brain.  Exercise, eat healthy, nutritious meals and stay socially and mentally engaged in activities that promote well being and continued learning.  If you stay involved in life and have rewarding relationships, you will most likely live a long and healthy life.  Enjoy your life, share your talents with the community, enroll in your local community college to expand your mind.

Here are a few statistics for you to ruminate upon…the average lifespan for a male is 74 and the average lifespan for a woman is 79.  By 2030, 21% of the population is projected to be 65 and over.  This means that the average retiree of 65 years has 15-25 years left.  In the past, the first stage of living involved growing up and figuring out how to become independent.  The second stage meant finding a mate and  reproducing.  Today there is a third stage after 50 in which older adults can live and give back to their communities.  Many are following passions that they could not do when raising their families.  Aging is being redefined.

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