The Aging Process – Essay Example

The paper "The Aging Process" is a great example of an essay on sociology.
Older adults face a number of new health concerns that they may not have considered when they were younger. Physically, they are more susceptible to chronic diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, obesity and poor oral health. They are also more susceptible to injury through falling or other accidents. “In the United States, one of every three persons aged 65 years and older falls each year. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injuries, hospital admissions for trauma and deaths due to injury” (Centers for Disease Control, 2008). In approaching older ages, people who were never sick a day in their life become more susceptible also to new illnesses such as West Nile Virus and old diseases such as pneumonia as their bodies lose some of its ability to fight off infection. For this reason, it is wise for older adults to seek immunization shots for these illnesses and the illnesses that lead to them such as influenza.
Mental state is also an important factor in the well-being of older adults. A study reviewing the possible link between personality and longevity was conducted amongst a collection of 660 people over 50 years of age in Oxford, Ohio (Schwartz, 1995). These subjects had answered questions in 1975 having to do with their attitudes regarding aging and other questions designed to ascertain their overall disposition and personality. Researchers re-interviewed those participants who were still living in 1998 and noted in what year the others had died. The study found that those who thought of aging in an optimistic way lived, on average, 7.5 years longer than those who took a bleaker view. The researchers also concluded by their findings that both lower blood pressure and reduced cholesterol lengthened life by about four years. By contrast, those participants who exercised didn’t smoke and maintained a proper weight only added only one to three extra years. Clearly, by this evidence, attitudes based on general personality affect longevity as much or more than do many other aspects of living. The researchers felt all of the above aspects were important to longevity but were surprised by the degree to which personality seemed to weigh in on the issue. Overall personality and viewpoints regarding living were highly correlated with long life, even after statistically controlling such distinctiveness.