Everything in the world changes and does not remain the same forever. Human development is also full of different phases. The three major phases of human life is birth, adulthood and death. Among these three major phases, aging is the process that a person encounters after he crosses the boundaries of adulthood.
One very important thing about aging is that it is very subjective is nature. It is contingent to various external as well as internal features. For example, the culture a person is part of, the physical health of a person, the climate in which a person resides in, the kind of environment he or she lives in etc., play a vital part in accelerating or slowing down this process.
The actual definition of aging varies in different contexts. A generalized definition of aging can be as:
Aging, the process of growing old, is defined as the gradual biological impairment of normal function, probably as a result of changes made to cells (mitotic cells, such as fibroblasts and post-mitotic cells, such as neurons) and structural components (such as bone and muscle). These changes would consequently have a direct impact on the functional ability of organs (such as the heart, kidney and lungs), biological systems (such as the nervous, digestive and reproductive system) and ultimately the organism as a whole (Burton).
The above mentioned is quite comprehensive. This definition clearly gives an idea that aging is associated with impairment of the organs and cells of the human body, out of which the deteriorating physical as well as mental health is obvious. Although this definition is purely in relation with the biological problems associated with aging, but the result these issues have on the mental health of a person are equally important. Some very other visible signs of aging are:
The physical side of bodily decline (using "physical" narrowly, in the sense in which it is contrasted with "mental") involves diminution in such areas as athletic and related motor capabilities, reflexes, and muscle tone; physical strength, energy, and stamina; acuity of vision, hearing, and other senses; fertility and potency; scalp hair, hair color, and the smoothness of skin; the efficiency of the immune system; height and the percentage of weight accounted for by muscle. (Posner 56)
These signs are some of the few out of various physical issues that a person faces during the process of aging. The mental effects of aging are various. In fact, the physical problems that a person encounters during aging can be ignored, but the mental problems that are likely to occur in the process of aging are far more complex and dangerous. One of the most common problems that a person encounters during aging is the loss of memory. The agony of losing memory can be quite devastating for the person himself as well as others around him. These memory problems are deeply rooted with severe neurological disorders that are likely to occur in future. A term called 'short-term memory loss' is one of the most widely witnessed problem faced by individuals during aging. This problem can lead to serious problems. A person may be deprived of doing things that he would normally do as short-term memory loss can result in serious consequences. For people with responsible job, this problem can result in them losing their jobs or result in premature retirement, which is itself quite devastating.
Apart from memory loss, some obvious issues a person may face are the loss of confidence. A person feels confused and puzzled on normal everyday life problems. Aging can deprive a person from confidence, and can seriously affect his or her lifestyle.
Some of the very common key terms that are associated with the process of aging are elderly, senior citizens, aged etc. Although, upon hearing this, a very old person comes into mind, but the fact is that when there is a discussion about person who has crossed the boundaries of adulthood, this particular terms are widely used.
Aging is all about the effects associated with it. The effects of aging vary in different context. There are effects of aging on a person who is going through this process and there are effects of aging on the people he or she lives around with and the community he or she is part of.
The effect of aging that an individual witnesses himself includes the decline in the normal functioning of the person's body. This decline can has severe outcomes such as different health related problems, which in terms leads to many diseases. The decline of the immunity that can result in aging can make a person vulnerable to many diseases. In many cases, it is noted that the cause of death in many elderly people is due to low immunity or the decline function of their organs. Some very common problems, which take the form of diseases, are diabetes, heart diseases, hypertension and various forms of cancer.
The very visible effects of aging are the change in the facial structure of a person. Wrinkles, fine lines, grey hair are some of the common problems that are quite visible in this process. These problems give a sense of inferiority complex in individuals. People spent million dollars every year just to combat these visible signs of aging.
There is no denying the fact that aging can be stressful not only at an individual level as well as at the family level. The aging person is not alone when bearing the problems of aging. The family members are equally affected both emotionally and financially while coping with the effects and problems of aging. It is never easy to witness a deteriorating medical health of a loved one and to bear the pain with them.
Aging can have a devastating effect on the community the person is living in. The one of the most important issue related with the community with aging is that as people retire, they usually move back to their home city and that in turn increases the demand of houses in the area they are relocating. The aging group requires much more care in terms and for that, the community has to prepare itself in order to make better more convenient infrastructure for this population to make their lives easier. Different centers must be established to help them spent their time more productively and leisurely.
Aging population can be quite beneficial to the society they live in as they are more involved in voluntary actions and try to improve the environment they are part of.
There has been a lot of development in different fields in order to combat against aging. From business field, many products are introduced in the market in the form of medicines and creams that guarantee to slow down the process. In scientific field, researchers are working on different things in order to slow down this process. The main interest for scientists is to eliminate the different health issues related with this disease. Although, there has not been much development, but still different researches are underway.
Aging cannot be postponed forever. It is an ultimate process, which everyone has to go through. People seek ways to reverse this process. Although this process cannot be reversed, there are ways through which this process can be slowed down. 'While we may not be able to stop the aging process, it is possible to prevent many of the diseases associated with aging and to slow the rate at which our bodies' age. Numerous studies have identified several nutritional supplements that can reverse or prevent the damage to our cells that not only age us in appearance, but also increases our risk for several age related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and cancer. (Challem and Geonta Alfieri 2)