The Results of Aging

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The Results of Aging

Prepared for Ms. Ferguson
Mark Trolley

Abstract

This report presents several aspects of aging. The report looks at a number of theories of why we age, the physical and mental changes we undergo as we age, and several ways of caring for the elderly.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.............................................iii INTRODUCTION......................................................1 THEORIES OF WHY WE AGE............................................2 Genetics.....................................................2 Cellular.....................................................2 Physiological................................................2 PHYSICAL CHANGES..................................................2 MENTAL CHANGES....................................................5 Alzheimer's Disease..........................................5 Senile Dementia..............................................5 CARING FOR THE OLD................................................6 Retirement Communities.......................................6 Life-care Facilities.........................................6 House Sharing................................................6 Group Homes..................................................7 Low-cost, Government Subsidized Housing......................7 Foster Care..................................................7 Nursing Homes................................................7 CONCLUSIONS.......................................................9 WORKS CITED.......................................................10

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Tables 1. The results of aging...................................4

INTRODUCTION
The purpose of this report is to discuss several aspects of aging. Several theories of why we age, based on genetic research, cellular research, and physiological research will be examined, along with physical and mental changes that are the result of aging. Specific mental changes that will be explored are Alzheimer's Disease and Senile Dementia. The final aspect to be looked at will be the care of the elderly in retirement communities, life-care facilities, house sharing, group homes, low-cost government subsidized housing, foster care, and nursing homes.

THEORIES OF WHY WE AGE
Since research into aging is not guided by any one universally accepted theory, genetic, cellular, and physiological studies have yielded several hypotheses.

Genetics
The most popular genetic theory, the Error Theory, assumes that aging is the result of the accumulation of random genetic damage, or from small errors in the flow of genetic information. The damage or errors would reduce or prevent proper cell function.

Cellular
The best known theory of aging in cellular research is called the Hayflick Effect, which is named after the American microbiologist Leonard Hayflick. He found that certain human cells could only divide a limited number of times before they die. This may suggest that aging is "programmed" into cells. This could also account for the differences in the life spans of different animal species, and the differences in the life spans between the sexes within the same species.

Physiological
These theories focus on organ systems and their interrelationships. One area currently being investigated is the immune system. As we age the immune system gradually loses its capacity to fight off infections and other invaders. As a result, antibodies are produced that cannot tell the difference between "friendly" cells and "enemy" cells. Most experts now believe that aging represents many phenomena working together (Miller and Keane 97).

PHYSICAL CHANGES
The physical changes that accompany aging...
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