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For most of us, the idea of aging is not a concept that we are particularly comfortable with.
In fact, the “fight” against aging is everywhere. The term “anti-aging” has come to encompass everything from the moisturizers we use to the clothes we like to wear. The overall message is constant: youth is good, and aging is bad.
It’s easy to see where some of this perception comes from. Most of us grew up with grandparents, some of whom will have had health issues that made aging seem rather scary to us. When we shy away from wrinkles and “old” hairstyles, it’s not really the wrinkles that are the problem– it’s the fact they are associated with advancing years. A huge number of people dread the idea of aging, and that’s a real shame for two reasons:
– Aging is inevitable. It’s actually fortunate to have the opportunity to grow old when you think about it. There’s nothing you can do to slow or stop the aging process so, ultimately, many of us go through life dreading something we cannot do anything about.
– We’re basing our fears about aging on outdated facts; the situations that our grandparents went through.
It’s the latter point that we’re going to focus on. Aging in the 21st century is nothing like aging even 20 years ago; times have changed, technology has advanced, and the golden years we experience have every chance of glittering with joy…
Our Understanding Of Health Is Better Than Ever
Many illnesses and conditions used to be written off as “old age”; something that just happened, and few people spent time trying to fix. It was just accepted that when you reached a certain age, your body begins to deteriorate.
However, in the 21st century, medical science is investigating aging in a way it never has before. Dementia is no longer seen as an inevitability that should just be accepted; it’s seen as a condition that is worth researching, treating, and possibly even preventing. No longer are people required to just cope with poor mobility; operations and treatments are available that can give an incredible quality of life no matter what your age.
Finally, geriatricians specialize in those over the age of 70; aging now has an entire medical specialty dedicated to it. Research is ongoing and the developments that result will ensure a comfortable retirement for us all.
Technology Allows A Full Life For Longer
On the back of the advanced medical understanding comes technology; technology that has been designed to step into the breach when our bodies begin to show a little too much wear and tear.
There are countless examples of tech that can help older people live wonderful, fulfilling lives. Deafness was viewed as just something that happened as you got older, even treated as a punchline by sitcoms. Now, the matter is handled very differently; if you ever experience diminished hearing capacity, then you’ll be referred for testing and hearing aid fitting, which will result in a return of normal hearing function. It’s not just your ears, either; if your eyesight begins to fade, then laser eye surgery can give you 20:20 vision once more, all thanks to advances in technology.
Japan – who have a rapidly aging population – are pioneering the research into aging technology, and are producing some stunning results. Take, for example, this bed that converts into a wheelchair to promote mobility in later life. Technology, it seems, will be able to set us free from so many of the age-related limitations our grandparents experienced.
The Internet Allows For Social Connections
One of the biggest risks in old age is social isolation, but this is a problem that the internet is helping to eradicate. When you reach an age where socializing is difficult in person, you will still be able to communicate with friends and family thanks to Skype and social media, ensuring that you will be able to enjoy those valuable connections in the later years of life.
Aging is not quite what it used to be. If you have a fear of aging or try to ignore the issue altogether, then hopefully the above will have helped to calm some of your nerves. The inevitability of aging is something we all have to deal with, but at least it looks like life for older people in the 21st century is going to have plenty to enjoy– so there’s no need to fear what the future may hold for you.
(Related post: Aging: Health Tips For A Great Life)