Are we aging healthy?

July 03, 2018

Are we aging healthy?

In November 2016, the US senior citizen population achieved a new milestone.

American seniors are now more than:

50 Million Strong!

The world’s population is aging: virtually every country in the world is experiencing growth in the number and proportion of older persons in their population. The number of older persons — those aged 60 years or over — is expected to more than double by 2050 and to more than triple by 2100, rising from 962 million globally in 2017 to 2.1 billion in 2050 and 3.1 billion in 2100. Globally, the population aged 60 or over is growing faster than all of the younger age groups.

The questions that we need to ask ourselves: Are we aging right? Are we aging healthy?

 “Healthy Aging” is a fashionably used term not fully understood by too many people. Mere absence of disease doesn’t qualify as “healthy aging.” The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Healthy Aging as “the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age.” It includes things like being able to learn, grow, and make decisions as well as being able to build & maintain relationships. It is achievable by almost everyone and can be used to describe mental & physical well-being of the mind, body, & soul at an older age. Unfortunately, just a brief glance at the American health statistics clearly shows that we’re not getting any younger, healthier, or any better at handling this phenomenon called “old age.”

Here’s an overview of some key segments:

Chronic Diseases:

  • 80 % of older adults have at least one chronic disease while 77 % of older adults have at least two!
  • 2 million Americans aged 60 & above suffer from diabetes or 23 % of the American population
  • 90 % of Americans aged 55 + are at a risk for hypertension or high blood pressure
  • 85 % of older adults have at least one chronic illness: Almost 50 % have arthritis, 40 % have hypertension, 30 % have heart disease, 12 % have diabetes, 30 % have hearing loss, 15 % cataracts and 10 % have a stroke

Falls:

  • Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall
  • Falls are also the most common cause of older adult traumatic brain injuries, accounting for over 46% of fatal falls

Mental Health:

  • One in four older adults experiences some mental disorder including depression and anxiety disorders, and dementia. This number is expected to double to 15 million by 2030
  • Even though older Americans only make up 13 percent of the population, they account for 20 percent of the people who commit suicide. In fact, older Americans have the highest suicide rate of any age group
  • Dementia, the irreversible deterioration of intellectual ability — often accompanied by emotional disturbances — afflicts as many as 7 % of Americans over the age of 65 and 30 % over age 85. People with dementia often suffer from depression, paranoia and anxiety

Substance Abuse:

  • Alcohol abuse is a major problem for older Americans and is one of the eight leading causes of death for older persons

Due to lifestyle changes, increased accessibility to healthcare services and increased income levels, life expectancy rates have increased over the years. However, we at QOL make your healthy a priority and strive to help in making the aging experience enjoyable and stress free.

Wishing all our readers healthy and happy aging!



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