www.elderrespect.org on Nov 10th 2010 05:48 am
The ways in which people age vary between cultures, and even between individuals within those cultures. It can depend on the level of exercise, diet, use of drugs and alcohol, and even inherited traits passed down through generations. That’s why even a person in their 50s may show more signs of aging than someone in their 70s. People have tried to come up with easy signs of when a person can be considered oldfor example, when they become grandparents or when they retirebut the aforementioned variability makes it hard to pinpoint an exact cutoff point.The concept of successful aging is equally variable. The theory which became popular in the 1980s had three main components: low risk for disease and disability, high-level cognitive and physical functioning, and an active engagement with life, whether through family relationships or community networking. Notice that appearance is not included as a successful aging indicator. It’s neither expected nor intended that your body should look the same at age 60 as it does at age 30. While some anti-aging surgeries can increase self-esteem, be sure to think about whether the surgery is necessary and make sure that its benefits outweigh the risks.Some symptoms that are common throughout individuals’ aging are an increased risk for disease, homeostatic imbalance, and a more limited ability to respond to stress in one’s environment. Decline in memory recall is one of the symptoms of aging seen starting around age 30. Semantic memory (the memory of meanings and concepts) generally remains constant, but episodic memory (the memory of specific events from an individual’s life) is usually affected. The method of memory recall also begins to change with increased age, as elderly people often show a positivity effect where they pay more attention to positive than negative stimuli.Aging can be observed at the cellular level by the length of the telomeres, repetitive DNA regions located at the end of chromosomes. These regions protect the chromosome from deterioration, but decrease during chromosome replication. When the telomeres are no longer long enough to protect the chromosomes, they die, leading to signs of aging in the organism.