Aging and the Elderly

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AGING AND THE ELDERLY
PATRICIA BUNTIN
DR: GORTNEY
LITHONIA CAMPUS
SOCIOLOGY 100
08/16/11
STRAYER UNIVERSITY

Aging is the length of time during which a being or thing has existed length of life (Webster dictionary). Growing old and becoming an elderly person can be challenging but, yet it can be very rewarding, it can bring a lot of good and bad. Aging has its rewards, but it presents the challenges of all stages of life. Growing old consist of gradual, ongoing changes in the body, changes such as shrinking in height in which the elderly tends to get shorter as he or she age. Elderly people tends to have less appetite which causes them to lose weight, and a decline in strength and vitality, which can sometimes make them feels very weak at times and needs either a cane or a walker or even someone to help assist them in walking. The life expectancy in the United States is going up which means people are living longer than before due to better medications that are out there which have raised the living standards. The life expectancy in the United States in the 1900’s for women would be to live only forty eight years, and for a male the life expectancy in the United States would be to live only forty- six years, as study shows that women in the U.S lives longer than men. Now females can be expected to live eighty years plus and men can be expected to live to be seventy-five years old. Greater material wealth and advances in medicine have raised living standards so that people benefit from better housing and nutrition. Medical advances have almost eliminated infectious diseases such as smallpox, measles, and diphtheria which had killed many infants and children many years ago. (John Macionis, 2009).

As life becomes longer, the oldest segment of the United States population, people over the age of eighty-five years of age is increasing rapidly and is forty times greater than in nineteen hundreds. As the average age of the population rises and the share over age sixty-five climbs ever higher, culture patterns are more likely to change, age segregation will decline as the elderly population increases, the younger population, will see more of the older population where the younger population usually are, such as malls, sporting events, and etc.

Elders in the United States are men and women of all races, classes, and ethnic backgrounds. There are two types of elderly, the younger elderly, which are between the ages of sixty-five and seventy-five and lives independently with good health and financial security whom are likely to live in a house with each other as couples, then, there are the older elderly whom are past the age of seventy-five, most likely to live with a family member (usually a daughter), have health problems and financial insecurity being divorce or a widow.

As someone ages there are a lot of biological and psychological changes that happens in their life, such things as Gray hair, wrinkles, and etc. The ability to learn new materials and think quickly declines. Although, aging is more visible internal, there are a lot more of internal effects of aging as well, which are more critical. As we all age, it is important for us to know the normal course of aging. What happens to us as we age? As we age, health problems start to rise at about or over the age of seventy-five, women typically lives longer than men, they tend to suffer more from chronic disabilities like arthritis.

The brain
As a person age and becomes an elderly, their brain undergoes different structural changes, the brain regions shrinks and becomes filled with fluid, aging impairs the ability of the brain to encode new memories and facts, while processing speed and reflexes decline. The aging of the brain can cause neurological diseases like Parkinson, Lou Gehrig’s disease and Alzheimer. Age-related changes occur in two regions of the brain. The first region is the frontal lobe, which is the area of the...
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