Over the past 200 years the average human life expectancy has doubled, and some experts say that our longevity has not even reached its peak yet. They are not talking about the distant future. In fact, the first person to live to a 150 may already have been born. Being able to extend life is a great success, especially when it comes with a reasonably high quality of life. But simply adding years of sickness, frailty and decline is not a very appealing prospect.
Loss of independence can happen suddenly through a catastrophic event or insidiously through natural decline. But most seniors don’t prepare well for either. They believe they can stay in their home indefinitely and take care of themselves, even if that means to struggle on their own. Thankfully, there is assistance available that enables people to have both, remaining reasonably independent and being cared for to the extent it is needed.
Men used to have shorter life spans than women, according to statistics that seemed unchanging for many decades. But lately the gap started to close, and at least part of the male population is now making headways in terms of healthy aging and longevity.
Well-to-do older adults who are reasonably healthy have many more options to fill their ‘golden years’ with activities and pursuits than their forbearers could ever imagine. By contrast, insufficient financial security and chronic diseases can lead to a rather precarious endgame. For most retirees, it will be something in between.
Fear of aging, including financial concerns, deteriorating physical and mental health, loss of loved ones, social isolation, and the progressive inability to cope with daily tasks and challenges can make people dread the so-called “golden years” rather than embrace them. Surveys show that most adults are more afraid of losing their independence in their twilight years than they are of death.
As we grow older, many of us find it harder to avoid or undo unwanted weight gain. This is such a widespread phenomenon, it is almost taken for granted that aging and weight problems go hand in hand. However, while there are objective reasons for such a connection, they are by no means the whole story.