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By J. Manuel Cordova, M. D.
In past issues I wrote about the elderly, the variability and diversity involved in such a stage of life. Much material written about aging focuses on loss. Although older adult sometimes experience physical, mental, or psychological losses, continued growth and creative expression often mark the lives of many elderly. They are signs of healthful aging.
Adults are taking college courses and make contributions through tutoring, teaching, (See Lake Chapala Community and philosophy), counseling (such as peer counseling), and advocating for political and social actions. Some experts believe that there is a creative peak at age 65. Sometimes, older adults just need someone to encourage them to pursue latent interests or rediscover forgotten talents and activities that were set aside when family and job occupied much of the day.
Increased knowledge of resources available within the community will sometimes stimulate interests and encourage new avenues of self-expression.
When the Physical Changes occur:
The old saying that, “You are as young as you feel” has a great deal of truth to it. In the absence of serious diseases or other crushing problems, people “feel” just about like they did when they were young. The essence of a person doesn’t change, the body does.
In the later years, healthful living with regular exercise, weight control, adequate rest, a balanced diet, avoidance of tobacco, and moderation in consumption of alcoholic beverages can produce a feeling of wellbeing and vigor that surpasses that of an overweight, sedentary, 30-year-old smoker.
Good health also helps ensure a satisfying sex life in the later years. The degree to which the body changes can vary enormously. Some men and women in their 60s and early 70s participate regularly in certain exercise programs, some of them vigorous.
Conditioned older athletes have hearts, lungs, and muscles that are in better shape than those of many younger people. Moreover, they have a lot more vigor than someone years younger who has a let his or her body get badly out of condition.
What are the general body changes you will face? Usually the changes that started during the middle years continue; and why call them middle years? To some people, the term “middle age” has a negative meaning. In our youth–oriented culture, a middle–aged person occasionally is viewed as someone past his or her prime years. This impression, of course, is not true.
Physical Changes in Aging
One of the first changes most people notice is with their vision. During the middle years, the lens of the eye becomes less elastic, and results in loss of the near visual capacity, that`s the most common aging process involving the eyes. Another dangerous situation is Macular Disease, a degenerative disorder associated with age and other factors in which ultraviolet light and solar exposition is important.
Another Change is with memory . . .
(To be continued)