Successful aging can succinctly be defined by the quality of life. A main component of a good quality of life, as discussed in lecture, depends on an individual’s health status, which is directly correlated to access and quality of health care. In order to maintain engagement with life, an individual needs to maintain mental and physical functioning, and the health care system has to be adequately robust to provide the necessary support and services. According to Moody and Sasser (2012), “Few individuals can afford to pay the complete cost of long term care in a nursing home…Future projections of long term care expenditures suggest that private (out-of-pocket) and Medicaid sources will continue to be the biggest source of payment…” This impacts my generation tremendously, because in order to afford government services supporting the rapidly aging population, then taxes will rise significantly higher.
2. The term “aging” is commonly and narrowly associated with the senior population bearing gray hairs, using hearing aids, among other assistive instruments to accomplish Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). However, through in-class discussion and the text, “aging” is discussed in a frame that encompasses all the life years. According to Moody and Sasser (2012), “Aging is a gradual, lifelong process we all experience, not something that happens only in later life.” Agreeing with this point, the aging process starts after birth, and is continually shaped by multiple factors such as education, social class, and occupation.
Biologically, this gradual and lifelong process begins at conception, and proceeds through a genetically structured development process up to postnatal and later years in life. Dr. Janko Nikolich-Zugich, a professor at the University of Arizona, likens the way our genes function to the precise orchestration of a symphony. He further notes that, as our bodies grow older, its processes are adversely affected – leading to reduced functionalities. Dr. Nikolich-Zugich explains that these processes are affected because some genes do good things early, but bad things late. For instance, genes needed for rapid growth can cause cancer later. Dr. Nikolich-Zugich further illustrates this duality of genetic process with weakened control systems that in turn leads to diseases like Alzheimer’s, cataracts, immune decline, etc. In addition to the biological aspect, other externalities influence the aging process. Along with this natural occurrence, the more work and physical strain we put on our bodies throughout life, the more susceptible our bodies are to break and wear down, and thus grow old. The wear-and-tear theory of aging supports the concept of aging as a natural process, characterizing the aging individual as constantly wearing out and being repaired. The cumulative result of thousands of cells being damaged and repaired is the physical manifestation of the aging process.
3. In some ways my grandparents’ generation are at an advantage, and in other ways their generation is at a disadvantage in comparison of our life courses. The advantage of being an older person (85+) is the emotional satisfaction and