Aging brings turkey necks, “senior moments” and sagging bodies. Sounds pretty dismal, right? It would — if that represented the complete picture. In actuality, growing older for most people isn’t all that bad, even in our youth-obsessed culture. In fact, it can be quite spectacular on many fronts. We bring you some bad news and some good news about growing old.
Related article: Aging gracefully
Even though we all have genetic predispositions, our health and aging aren’t predetermined. By making conscious choices in our behavior and where we focus our attention, we can transform our experience of our body to decrease our biological age – Deepak Chopra
The bad news
Between 2000 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years will double from about 11% to 22%. The absolute number of people aged 60 years and over is expected to increase from 605 million to 2 billion over the same period.
The world population is rapidly ageing
The number of people aged 80 years or older will have almost quadrupled between 2000 and 2050 to 395 million. There is no historical precedent for a majority of middle-aged and older adults having living parents, as is already the case today. More children will know their grandparents and even their great-grandparents, especially their great-grandmothers. On average, women live six to eight years longer than men.
The need for long-term care is rising
The number of older people who are no longer able to look after themselves in developing countries is forecast to quadruple by 2050. Many of the very old lose their ability to live independently because of limited mobility, frailty or other physical or mental health problems. Many require some form of long-term care, which can include home nursing, community care and assisted living, residential care and long stays in hospitals.
Dramatic increase in the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease
The risk of dementia rises sharply with age with an estimated 25-30% of people aged 85 or older having some degree of cognitive decline. Older people with dementia in low- and middle-income countries generally do not have access to the affordable long-term care their condition may warrant. Often their families do not often have publicly funded support to help with care at home.
Globally, many older people are at risk of maltreatment
Around 6% of older people in developed countries have experienced some form of maltreatment at home. Abusive acts in institutions include physically restraining residents, depriving them of dignity (by for instance leaving them in soiled clothes) and intentionally providing insufficient care (such as allowing them to develop pressure sores). The maltreatment of older people can lead to serious physical injuries and long-term psychological consequences.
The good news
But enough of the doom and gloom, here are some exiting facts about getting older:
You most likely are happier than you used to be.
One recent study found that They were least happy during middle age. A similar study out of the University of Chicago found that levels of happiness climbed between the ages of 65 and 85 — and beyond. Why? Some experts believe it is because older people are able to tap into the toolbox of social and emotional instincts they’ve built with experience. “It’s a very encouraging fact that we can expect to be happier in our early 80s than we were in our 20s,” Andrew J. Oswald, a professor of psychology at Warwick Business School, told the New York Times. “And it’s not being driven predominantly by things that happen in life. It’s something very deep and quite human that seems to be driving this.”
In some ways, your mind may actually be sharper.
A University of Illinois study found that older air traffic controllers excelled at their mentally tough jobs — and performed as well as younger peers — because they were so good at navigation and at handling several airplanes at once. In short, they were able to overcome any weaknesses by tapping into their wealth of experience. For those of you worried about staying sharp, challenge your brain by performing mental exercises and don’t buy in to the negative stereotypes associated with aging and memory.
You are able to handle social conflicts more effectively.
A University of Michigan study found that older people are better at reasoning when it comes to social dilemmas and conflicts. When presented with various stories about conflict, they specifically are more adept at understanding different perspectives, suggesting compromises and coming up with several reasonable resolutions.
Your sex life may be better.
Studies show that satisfaction in the bedroom actually grows stronger with age, even if you experience a drop in sexual desire. More specifically, one study out of the University of California, San Diego found that the majority of women aged 60 to 89 were moderately to very satisfied with their sex lives. Even so, doctors say that vaginal dryness and impotence can still present a problem to older adults, but there is also help for that.
You aren’t nearly as stressed as you used to be.
No doubt everyone experiences stress, no matter what their age. But the good news is that people over 65 report having less stress. Although they do cite health concerns, worries over work, money and family subside. Meanwhile, those between the ages of 35 and 49 are the most stressed, followed by people aged 25 to 34.
Your marriage is stronger.
Studies have discovered that marriage actually gets better in old age. One reason is that long-time couples learn how to express more affection, especially after the kids leave home. Another reason is that the stresses of marriage in middle age actually brought couples closer together as the years went on. Being happily married is definitely a good thing as satisfied couples are more likely to enjoy better mental and physical health than their not-so-happy friends.
You like your job more.
In one recent study, 92 percent of workers aged 50 or older report being very or somewhat satisfied with their job. Compare that with those under 30; only 80 percent of this group reports the same thing. Only 38 percent of young adults admit being very satisfied with their work, while 63 percent of those 65 and older say they are deeply satisfied. Why the difference? Experts say it’s most likely because older workers have already made it up the corporate ladder to positions they enjoy more.
So if you think old age has already overtaken you and left you in the dust, these facts about getting old will shed a new light on age – you are after all as old as you feel. Like a good wine, we can all grow better with age!
Found on: www.huffingtonpost.com