April 21, 2015
Social and Cultural Aspects of Aging GR 240
There are many factors which influence a person’s health. Some of these factors include race and ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status. A person can either add years to their life or life to their years, depending on the route he/she chooses to take. The purpose of this paper is a reflection of how we age and the factors that affect aging.
MICROTHEORIES OF AGING To some extent, people have control over their health. Such behaviors such as smoking, drinking, and exercise can either enhance prospects for the prevention of disease or promote illness and disability (Quadagno, 2010). From previous chapters, we know that cancer, drinking, and living a sedentary lifestyle can lower life expectancy by promoting illness. Smoking can cause cancer, emphysema, and/or lung disease. Drinking can cause cirrhosis and other debilitating diseases. Living a sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity and/or cardiovascular diseases; this depends on the diet and level of exercise. Also discussed was the possibility of adding years to life or life to years. James Fries’ compression of morbidity plays into this. It states that the human life span if fixed and finite, and improvements in health care and prevention will compress the years that an individual will be disabled into the last few years of the life span (Quadagno, 2010). I believe this theory to be true. Decades ago, people were dying from simple illnesses that could be cured: pneumonia, the common cold, infections, etc. Now that we know was causes these things and we have more than adequate healthcare, a lot of these simple and even not so simple illnesses can be prevented and cured; thus increasing the quality of life as well as the life span. Although adequate healthcare is available, all people are not available to get this care because of socioeconomic status. Some are not able to afford insurance, while others do not make enough money to even consider trying to pay a doctor bill. An individual who lacks health insurance may postpone visiting a doctor until a disease like cancer has progressed to a fatal stage (Quadagno, 2010). Factors that affect the elderly in the healthcare system include the…