Please watch the Frontline documentary, Living Old, in its entirety and answer the following questions:
- What factors contribute to life expectancy and longevity?
- What variables contribute to individual differences in health among older adults?
- What are you personally doing now to help ensure that you will have a healthy life cognitively, socially, emotionally, and spiritually as you age?
Aging, Health and Life Expectancy – Critical Response
introduction of medical advances within the past century and subsequent
improvements in lifestyle choices have resulted in an overall increase in
longevity across the board. The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and
Development currently estimates that the life expectancy of persons in the
United States and Japan now reaches 84 and 86 years consecutively (World Health Organization, 2018, p. 66). Nonetheless, it is critical to acknowledge that
there are a number of factors that contribute to life expectancy and longevity.
Gender statistics reveal a disparity in the
mortality rates of men and women of the same age. Pundits often attribute this
incongruence to the risky behavior that men have been known to engage in at
their prime. Genetic factors also impact mortality rates. Some predispositions
may result in subjects being at a higher risk of suffering from complications
such as heart disease, accidents, self-harm or even hypertension. A person’s
life expectancy may also decrease on account of their socio-economic status.
This is because they may be unable to participate in healthy lifestyles or gain
access medical care. Moreover, prenatal conditions are also associated with a
higher mortality rate amongst senior citizens. Childhood conditions have a
direct influence on an individual’s longevity, especially when the disorders proceed
to weaken the body (Larson & Declaire, 2017, p. 78). Marital status has
also been found to influence life expectancy. A lower mortality rate is typically
recorded for the widowed, divorced or individuals who have never been married.
Conversely, those in committed relationships are often projected to live longer
owing to an improvement in cardiac health and regular spousal motivation.
Higher levels of education are also associated with improved longevity since
the said persons are better equipped with the knowledge on how to lead a
there are also a number of variables that contribute to the individual health
differences witnessed among older adults. Heredity and current habits play a
major role in determining the health of senior members of society. Family
history has recently been blamed for a host of common diseases chief among them
being autoimmune disorders, diabetes and cancer. The inheritance of certain
sets of genes predispose an individual to developing the aforementioned
disorders, which is why family history is regarded as an ideal predictor of the
risks senior members face. Poor diet and the consumption of alcohol also
contribute to ageing differences witnessed among older adults. While poor diet
fails to promote the body’s repair mechanism, alcohol exaggerates ageing by marking
an early onset of premature symptoms a heightened risk of bone loss, cardiac
dysrhythmia and cancer.
Bearing this in mind, I am currently engaging in
a number of activities that will ensure I have a healthy life cognitively,
socially, emotionally and spiritually as I age. Constant brain exercises function
as a way of improving my cognitive abilities. Puzzles build new neural pathways
and strengthen existing connections. In particular, acrostics and syllacrostics
stimulate the brain, allowing it to improving its coping capabilities when
generating new memories. Yoga and fitness promote my social wellness. It allows
me to connect with my core as a precursor for the development of meaningful relationships
with kin and friends. Developing practical coping skills also come in handy
when seeking to develop practical alternatives when facing life’s challenges.
It allows one to navigate difficult relationships and find alternatives when
confronted by trials. Also, it is fundamental to take time off busy schedules
to reconnect with family members for they also function as a support system. Seeking
connection with others improves my emotional wellness and allows me to share my
experiences with others. Additionally, meditation and connecting with myself will
promote my spiritual wellness; allowing me to relax more and free my mind of
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