The process of aging begins at birth. To be more specific, aging is a process that begins at birth and ends at death. Aging is not a simple process and it involves physical, social, and mental process that affects differently each individual. During the aging process, the physical body functions deteriorate requiring higher coping skills on the aging person’s part so as to be able to adjust with the environment. Just like sexism, agism is a concept that entails negative attitude or prejudice towards a specific group. In this concept the old people are viewed as unhappy, sick, useless and empty and thus face discrimination. Young people have had a negative attitude towards getting old and thus they hate becoming or being refereed as old. This perception makes the old people to feel ashamed of their old age. Whether old or young, human beings have similar basic and physical needs, and they also need to love and be loved for intellectual stimulation and self-esteem. Aging being a continuous process in the functions and structure of the body, with the passage of years the physical abilities of the later slows down. It is poor nutrition, impoverished environment, and diseases that break down the natural nervous system ability to resist against deterioration. Without the damaging factors, the brain cell loss or structural changes can thus not take place, and senility can be controlled to large extend (Arking, 2006, 11).
The aging has a great impact on the present generation. This is witnessed on how the women take most of their time worrying how their physical appearance looks. Many of the mothers wish that their breasts could be the same as they were 20 years ago or when they were young. They are seriously worried of their eyes and forehead appearance. Some people accept to look like their parents and grandparents, but others opt for help from outside to maintain their bodies looking perky and young. On what one does to his or her body depends on the personal choice. The present generation has gone ahead and chosen to use the Botox for the purpose of preventing the muscle contraction so that they remain or appear to be young. Aging has brought the sense of self denial on the people as they are not willing to be what they are. In our generation today people are using al sort of means to ensure that their outward appearance is similar to as when they were young. Some of the means they use such as Botox have even more impact on their bodies which are worse that even the old age itself. Some of the chemical used to maintain the physical outward appearance have paralyzed the bodies of those who use the chemicals (Ebersole, 2006, 15).
The aging has impacted the generation today and will have impact on the future generation by changing their role they perform in the economy. When somebody retires due to his or her old age he or she leaves the work and the social roles him or her was performing in the community at large. The roles were of economic and status significance and they are no longer provided. Aging is not an option for every one and thus it eliminates people who are of economic importance from society.
Despite some of the negative impacts of aging, aging in one way or another is of significant to a society. The old people are people who have long term experience over the life issues. These people provide important information that is required to solve a particular problem in the community basing their solution of the problem they are offering on the past experience of problem they had. For this matter the old people are in way providing or offering solutions to most of the problem that are affecting the current generation and the generation to come. No matter what level of education the old people have, they tend to offer the best answers to serious problem affecting the modern society. For this reason we can say that aging although disliked by many due to its effect on the outward appearance of their body, it is important to the continuity of the present generation (Lenker, 1999, 13).
As people are getting old, the more the responsibility of the current generation is increasing. Old people can not take care of themselves, and thus it makes the young generation to take the responsibility of caring for them. The dependency of the old poses to the young an economic burden as the old are only consuming and not producing. This reduces the per capita output. The dependency of the old on the young generation changes to be a care-giving role which in turn can turn to be stressful and affect the physical and mental health of the old.
The most feared aspect of aging in our lives is loss of mental functioning. This fear itself can lead too a poor quality of our lives. The belief that as we get old we are losing our mental function has led to withdrawal from others and also loss of our self- esteem. As we get old our learning process changes. Old people requires more and effort and time to comprehend information. Old people avoid learning things that may not be of help or rewarding to their life. These changes which occur to aged may be attributed to the change hearing, sight and other body senses that coordinates withy our memory. This problem that arises as a result of aging makes the young to feel that old age life is not worth to live as it is accompanied by so many lives constrains.
Concerning the health issue of the aging people, many people as they become aged they give less attention to the issues of health or diet which leads to malnourish. The old tend to eat diets which are not right for their body health, thus making them suffer from the deficiency diseases. The old people are characterized by loss of or defective teeth, which makes then to decide to use soft food. This makes their digestion system to be impaired since the food they are consuming lacks minerals and vitamins. Calcium in diet promotes better functioning of digestive system and better growth, and if it lacks in the diet affects the process of aging (Nussbaum, 2000, 19).
The aging people are highly likely to suffer from diseases like: cancer, heart diseases, respiratory diseases, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer, kidney diseases, infections, influenza and diseases. According to world health organization and centre for disease control old age itself can not be referred to as the cause of death.
Chronic conditions and diseases affect most adults. These conditions are more prone if one does not take serious health issue. Apart from the diseases which are said to kill the aged people, the aging people are likely most to suffer from two problems, that is: mental problem and depression. Mental health issues require much extra care. The old should be shown a lot of compassion as a way of neutralizing their mental problems. The aged should be provided with all facilities that could make their life a little bit easy. The aged people usually are concerned to have: secured housing, leading productive and meaningful lives, living independently, remaining health as well as stable mental health. Community centers, nursing homes, senior centers, hospitals churches, and libraries have resources and information available for mental health and aging. These if utilized well they can reduce the associated problems of aging and especially the mental problems. The mental problems which seriously affect the aging people are the depression (Clark, 2002, 23).
The present population should get committed to deal with depression as it seriously affects the aging. Lack of control and independence are often making the aging people to lose and withdraw in simple basic pleasures of life. Some medications at old age have also been found to cause depression. If during the medication of the old people a change on their behavior is observed, the issue should be reported to a professional medical officer. Alzheimer’s disease, Senility, and dementia are unpleasant aging realities that the aging people are facing. If a person is found to have behavioral or cognitive disorders must be given proper medication or care for best quality of life and successful medication. The caregivers of the old people concerned with the issues of mental health often require help such as in-home nursing care or respite care, so as to offer more skilled patient care. There are also facilities and nursing homes that take patients on respite care for families which require alternative forms of care or taking vacations for what ever reason. This kind of care for the aged people, it gives them the opportunity to socialize with the people of their age where it was impossible at home to have such kind of opportunity. A good support system of family, medical professionals, friends will make sure that the mental problem of the aged people is not a big and an overwhelming issue in the process of aging, and if it does, the quality of life can be enhanced through an invaluable support system, and also help in making a difference that is considerable in the life of aging people (Lenker, 1999, 13).
To make the generation of the aged people and the young one to live together with no one feeling a burden from the other, and live a comfortable life, some measures need to be effected. The responsible institution should provide the aged with the means that can enable them to get the basic physical needs such as the clothing, food, and shelter. The aged should remain part and parcel of community. They should not be seen as people who are burden to the community as they are useful in one way or the other. They should be given opportunities to participate and serve the community in various activities. This will make the aged to feel loved by the community and therefore reducing the possibility of suffering from mental illness such as depressions. The aged people should be provided with the necessary resource that can keep them match with the changing needs of the society. These resources are: educational, recreational, cultural and spiritual resources. This should not be termed as a waste of resources to the aged as they enable them to be self-dependent and thus stop to be an economic burden. The aged should be provided with good health care services so that the physical, emotional and mental well-being can be maintained (Ebersole, 2006, 15).
To ensure that the generations also live together in harmony the enacted laws that govern the relationship between the old parents and their children should be made firm. The children should feel obliged to help their parents at old age without seeing it as a burden. They need to show love to their parents by providing them with the physical basic needs. The children should remember that it is the same parents who took care of them during their infancy life and thus they need to show the due respect to their parents regardless of their physical outward appearance. The youths should understand that old age is not death but it is just a stage of live which is compulsory to very one if he she does not die at early stages of life. It is well know that most young people fear getting old because that is the end of transition of life stage and after this is death. It does not matter one being old, but one can live a longer life if he or she take a good care of himself during the time of old age. Death is compulsory to every one and occurs as a result of dieses, infection or accident and not due to old age (Arking, 2006, 11).
Arking Robert. The Biology Of Aging: Observations And Principles. Oxford; Oxford University Press, 2006, p.11
Clark William. A means to an end: The biological basis of aging and death. Oxford; Oxford University Press, 2002, p.23
Ebersole Priscilla. Towards health aging: Human needs and nursing response. London; Quorum Books, 2006, p.15
Lenker Lagretta. Aging and identity: A humanities perspective. Mahwah, NJ; Praeger publishsers, 1999, p.13
Nussbaum Jon. Communication and aging. New York; Greenwood, 2000, P.19