Worried about Growing Old? Read about psychosocial aspects of aging .

Getting older! We all do it daily, but have you ever considered how it will affect the rest of your life, especially your career? We don't get to choose whether or not we participate in aging, but we do get to choose whether or not we work, and aging can influence the decision. Many changes take place, the changes include physical, social, and psychological changes.

According to the Population Census 2011, there are nearly 104 million elderly persons (aged 60 years or above) in India; 53 million females and 51 million males. A report released by the United Nations Population Fund and HelpAge India suggests that the number of elderly persons is expected to grow to 173 million by 2026.

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Some research based data on aging

  • In research dating back to the 1970s, age has been shown to have a negative impact on worker promotion, placement, assessments, and grades of interpersonal skills
  • 48% of accountants surveyed believe that it’s more difficult to get a job in their field after the age of 40
  • 64% of older adults claim they've seen or encountered occupational age discrimination
  • 58% of people in their sixties and seventies said they often see jokes that mock their demographic or make sense of social stereotypes.

Aging is defined not only by our chronological age but also by our physical appearance and mental capacity. The word "being a certain number of days or years old" actually refers to how much life experience we have.

List of psychosocial aspects of aging

1] Developmental Changes 

Late adulthood refers to the period of life between the ages of 60 and 70, and it is the final stage of physical development. In the United States, the average life expectancy is about 80 years; however, this varies greatly depending on factors such as socioeconomic status, location, and access to medical care. Women typically live five years longer than men. Late in life, the skin loses elasticity, reaction time slows even more, and muscle strength deteriorates. Hearing and vision, which were once sharp in our twenties, begin to deteriorate; cataracts, or cloudy areas of the eyes that cause vision loss, are common. Other senses, such as taste, touch, and smell, are also less sensitive than in previous generations.

2] Retirements

It's a stage in a life marked by shifts in roles and transitions. There may be issues with social isolation and finances. People who prepare for retirement ahead of time have a smoother transition. Many people than just the retired are affected by retirement. The loss of a job has a significant effect on a retired citizen.

Retirement is often regarded as a reward for decades of hard work. The occasion can be happy if a senior has adequate funds and plans to focus on hobbies or spend time with family and friends. However, some older adults may initially feel confused after leaving their job because their lives have been so focused on finding a place to go and something to do for eight hours a day.

3] Economic Change

Low retirement benefits, a shortage of pension programs for many jobs, and the lengthening of retirement years are all factors that contribute to income problems.

Food and medical expenses are always enough to put a strain on a family's finances. Elders who have adequate financial resources will remain self-sufficient.

4] Social Isolation

Many elderly people suffer from social isolation, which can worsen as they get older.

In the absence of positive people, one's susceptibility to loneliness increases. Owing to feelings of rejection, some older people withdraw from society.

5] Facing death and grieving

Companionship is important for older people.

During this time of growing old together and nurturing each other, strong bonds of love and closeness will form.

They experience feelings of sadness, emptiness, and loneliness when their partner dies. Since women live longer than men, they are more likely to experience bereavement and loneliness.

6] Fear 

If family members aren't willing to lend a hand, seniors who aren't properly prepared for their golden years can become afraid and concerned about their ability to survive. Older adults who have chronic or progressive medical problems may be concerned about not being able to get the treatment they need.

7] Losing Independence 

Some seniors may develop medical conditions or physical issues that make it difficult for them to lead productive lives. If their circumstances worsen, they may be forced to rely on others to drive them around, do their housework, or provide personal care, and they may lose the freedom to spend time with friends away from home. Seniors may experience grief as a result of the possibility of losing their freedom, and they may become disappointed, angry, or depressed.

8] Relocation

Many people are forced to relocate for a number of reasons. Making the decision to relocate is a difficult one. For general help and oversight, some elders must step closer to children. They have to say goodbye to relatives and neighbors they have known for decades. Today's senior citizens have more choices and opportunities when it comes to living arrangements.

9] Facing death and grieving 

Companionship is important for older people. During this time of growing old together and nurturing each other, strong bonds of love and closeness will form. They experience feelings of sadness, emptiness, and loneliness when their partner dies. Since women live longer than men, they are more likely to experience bereavement and loneliness.

Doctor Recommendations On Healthy Aging

  • Get Moving: Exercise and Physical Activity

Some people enjoy it, and others despise it, but regardless of your emotions, exercise and physical activity are beneficial to your health. Exercise and physical activity are, in reality, considered essential components of almost any balanced aging program. People who exercise regularly live longer and live healthier, according to scientific evidence. Furthermore, staying physically active—doing daily tasks that keep the body going, such as gardening, walking the dog, and taking the stairs rather than the elevator—can help you continue to do the things you enjoy and remain independent as you get older.

  • Pay Attention to Weight and Shape

Weight is a complicated subject. Obesity-related health conditions in older people can be overshadowed by issues with body composition (weight-to-muscle ratio) and fat distribution (hip or waist) on the body. Being overweight or obese is linked to a slew of health issues. Obese people are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, some cancers, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis. However, research shows that being smaller isn't necessarily a good thing for older people. 

So, for safe aging, is there a "natural" weight range or pattern? One size does not suit everyone when it comes to older adults. While we've heard a lot about weight and aging habits, keeping track of your weight as you get older is a very personal matter. Discuss any weight-related issues with your doctor, like any weight-loss plans or unexpected weight shifts.

  • Healthy Food for Thought: Think About What You Eat

Food has been found to play a key role in how people mature. Many causes, according to scientists, are expected to play a role in the relationship between diet and improvements in BMI and waist circumference. One consideration may be the food's glycemic index (also known as glycemic load). Low-glycemic-index foods (such as most vegetables and fruits, as well as high-fiber, grainy breads) satisfy appetite while having little effect on blood sugar, making them healthier. Foods with a high glycemic index, such as white bread, induce the fastest increase in blood sugar. 

So it's not just about losing weight when it comes to eating healthy. It can also help shield you from those health issues that are more common in older people.

  • Participate in Activities You Enjoy

Sure, doing what you enjoy can be enjoyable or soothing, but did you know that doing what you enjoy can also be beneficial to your health? That is right. People who are sociable, generous, and goal-oriented have higher levels of satisfaction and lower levels of depression, according to research. People who are involved in hobbies and social and leisure activities may be at lower risk for some health problems. 

‘Age is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength’- Betty Friedan

As said by Betty Friedan, getting older can be challenging but with getting involved in more activities and keeping yourself engaged this journey can also become a joyful one. The trick to aging gracefully is to enjoy it.

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