Important Facts About Aging
We are all aging with every breath we take. Our biological systems peak in early adulthood and thereafter begin a natural decline. We’ve compiled some important facts about aging below, and some of them might surprise you.
Expected Trends Associated With the Aging Population
- Most older people die of non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes rather than from infection diseases, and many have multiple issues at one time.
- An older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall every 15 seconds. Every 29 seconds, an older adult dies following a fall.
- One-quarter of all hip fracture patients spend a year in a nursing home.
- One in four older adults experiences some mental disorder including depression, anxiety disorders and dementia, although the majority of older people are not
- The greatest causes of disability are back and neck pain, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, falls, diabetes, and osteoarthritis.
- After age 80, the ratio of widows to widowers is 5 to 1.
Lesser-Known Trends Among the Aging Population
- Approximately one-third of problem drinkers develop their alcohol abuse problem late in life, with women being higher-risk than men.
- Even though Alzheimer’s is a condition that strikes a significant number of elderly people, most elderly people will not experience memory loss to this extent. Because it is a product of disease vs. the natural consequences of aging, moderate to severe memory loss is found in only 4 to 6 percent of adults over age 65.
- People aged 85+ have the highest suicide rate of any age group, with older white males having a suicide rate almost 6 times that of the general population.
Is There a Silver Lining?
At least one study found that people were happiest in their youth and then again in their 70s and early 80s, and their happiness was not contingent upon their circumstances.
Wouldn’t it be an amazing if, even in the face of medical issues, physical challenges, and possible financial limitations, the older we get, the more we “get it,” making the factors that have previously ranked as significant fade in their relevance? Perhaps we become more naturally able to let go of people, things, issues, and memories that don’t contribute to our well-being, yielding a state of happiness that is hard-earned and well-deserved.