Aging is a multi-factorial process. It is influenced and modified by various genetic, biochemical, regulation, and other systems working at once, together, and in close contact, making a direct or indirect (e.g. through other pathways). impact on the aging process
The changes that many older adults experience can affect how they see their lives. Many may feel that they may lose their independence, and look upon aging as a loss of self-esteem, with a lack of confidence in their ability to live a meaningful life and continue to make valuable contributions to the community.
Fear of aging also results from a fear of isolation. With age, sociologic changes occur between aging individuals and family and friends due to the loss of peers and contemporaries -- a spouse, siblings, other relatives, old friends and neighbors. This can lead to isolation unless a concerted effort is made to stay socially active. Aging is also feared due to the physical infirmities of old age. Another fear is the fear of losing sexuality.
How does fear of aging develop? At some point in past, there was likely an event linking old age and emotional trauma. Whilst the original catalyst may have been a real-life incident like a grandmother who suffered through her old age, the fear can also be triggered by myriad, benign events like movies, TV, or perhaps seeing someone else experience trauma.
But so long as the negative association is powerful enough, the unconscious mind attaches a powerful emotion to any thought about aging. The most important changes people reported negative emotions about were in their physical appearance: hair color, amount of body fat, and vision.
The discovery at, say, 51 that age is catching up with them or that life has disappointed, inspires some people to act as though they're 21. It's not simply that the mass media celebrate youth, beauty and vigor -- the ideal age seems to be about 26 -- and thereby taunt anyone younger or older. These are powerful forces, which are sometimes nudged along by something else -- a little old-fashioned "need to feel young".
Depression is a common mental health problem among older adults. This is due somewhat to the occurrence of aging related symptoms such as memory disturbances, decrease in the acuity of the senses, disability, physical illness, bereavement, loss of independence and security, etc.
So how does one prepare to age gracefully? It isn't stressful situations that age you or make you sick. It's how you react to them.Some tips to "grow young" are given on the right.
If they are too cumbersome to follow, just remember that clean living and peace of mind helps you to age gracefully into the twilight years. You'll have less healthcare costs and thus less stress on money matters. Those whose self-esteem remains high do not give age related changes a great deal of thought even when they have significant health problems as well as normal age-related changes. They keep themselves involved and busy, focusing on the present and future, thereby keeping themselves mentally (and physically) young.
New friends may never replace the lost closeness shared with someone who knew you before your hair turned grey, or before your first child was born. But the support network that comes with sharing life with peers can counter loneliness and goes a long way toward dispelling feelings of isolation. The more people you interact with daily, the more chance there is to form new bonds. The more people there will be to bond, with in years to come.
Friends: Perhaps the most important determinant of happiness in old age is the maintenance of good relationships. For many seniors, this primarily refers to a relationship with a spouse. However, positive relations with family and friends also go a long way in increasing life- enjoyment, and have even been cited as a protective factor against dementia.
Tips for growing young:
Eat fresh. Greens and fruits provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to boost your body's immune system.
Commit to exercise daily. Go for the great outdoors or grow your own garden for healthy, organic vegetables and fruits. You get exercise, fresh air and sunshine.
Reduce stress to lessen the strain on your nervous system. Meditate or pray for inner peace and serenity. The healing power of meditation and prayer is both psychological and physiological.
Adopt a pet. You'll be saving a life. Pet therapy produces good emotions which increase the endorphins in the body. Your immune system gets a boost.
Think positive. If you go around with a frown, it may become a permanent feature on your face. Be thankful for what you have and don't envy what you don't. Forgive and forget. This reduces stress. Practice positive anger management.
Self Image: People who grow old gracefully are the ones who maintain a positive self-image. By contrast, an individuals who brood about the aging process and its effects on their bodies find aging difficult and their self-esteem suffers. The key element to successful aging, is how much emphasis people give to the aging process when they think about themselves. Those who handle aging successfully don't change their identity drastically as they get older. They do alter their behavior in response to physical changes brought on by aging, but basically, they don't start to think of themselves as 'old,' even if others do. On the contrary, they take aging in their stride, and prepare for it. Here is what they do:
Sufficient financial resources are the first condition. Retirement may bring financial hardship, and a corresponding change in lifestyle, so it is wise to plan ahead for your non-employment years. The key word in this condition is "sufficient", and research has shown that having more than enough money does not necessarily mean more happiness.
Perceived good health is another condition for happiness in seniors. While age does bring with it a greater chance of illness, and diminished physical condition, it need not mean a bed-ridden existence. Proper nutrition and regular exercise go a long way in fighting age-related illness. However, it is the perception of one's health that matters more than the absolute condition. With the maintenance of a positive attitude, a person with minor, or even major ailments can still live a vibrant and active life.
Having goals, in the form of a project or passion, is another condition for happiness in your retirement years. This may be something as simple as playing a musical instrument, or as involved as running a business. The main idea is to have an interest that fills you with a sense of purpose.
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