The Effect Of The Age Factor On The Older Population


In relation to a human body, age is one of the factors that are impossible to change because of gradual irreversible changes of the organism. When an individual is young and his or her body is growing and achieving maturity, this factor may be viewed as positive. However, an inevitable perspective for any person is that after reaching a critical point, the age factor negatively affects the body. As a consequence, there is a gradual increase of the quantity of risks affecting specific organs and body systems. This paper analyzes the effect of the age factor on the quality of life of the older population. It suggests that, with time, the increase of an individuals age escalates the risk of having a broad range of diseases such as dementia, osteoporosis, Alzheimers disease, diabetes and other. Consequently, there is a need for organizing the work of health care services in such way that medical professionals could prevent the risk of the increase of the mentioned issues. This measure would positively affect the quality of life of the elderly people improving their health and well-being.

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The Background

There is a specific need for addressing the health care issues associated with the older population in the US because there is evidence that the nation is getting older. It is estimated that the age structure of the US population would change mainly because of the generation of baby-boomers, who began turning 65 in 2011. As a consequence, the governmental and non-governmental structures should change their policies and strategies in order to meet the increased demands of services for the older population. This issue is especially relevant because the contemporary situation in the demography of the population is not that complicated. However, by 2050, the surviving baby boomers will exceed the age of 85, which would further increase their social needs. In this respect, it is important to create proactive strategies that would allow predicting possible problems in various spheres of social life and bypass them instead of resolving possible complications after their emergence. In this sense, health care is among the spheres that are relevant to this issue because the increase of the older patients and clients would intensify the pressure on the nursing homes, different medical facilities, and their personnel accordingly. Therefore, medical practitioners require increased awareness of the issues connected with the older population that would affect their workplace. As a consequence, it is useful for nurses and physicians to know the typical problems of the elderly population associated with aging. This knowledge would positively affect the sphere of social and medical policies by advocating diverse solutions to the predicted problems.

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Health-related Consequences of Aging

The contemporary progress in technology in medicine led to the fact that people living in the US have an opportunity to live longer than their ancestors. This perspective is the outcome of the main victories of humanity against infectious and parasitic diseases such as smallpox, polio, and major childhood killers like measles (Global Health and Aging, n. d.). As a consequence, many countries of the world including the US would have an increase in older citizens. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that life expectancy for the US population has reached a record of 78.8 years in 2012. This statistics is associated with another issue, which is in the case a person is aged 65 he or she has a chance to live almost 20 years more. Despite this change sounds optimistic and inspiring, it is associated with specific issues the predominant part of which are related to health. The reason for this is that as people get older, they may develop a lot of chronic diseases or conditions that negatively affect their quality of life and even endanger their perspective to live longer. Among them, one can name the degradation of skeletal muscle mass and the ability to store calcium in bones, which lead to the fact that elderly people are at risk of injuries. Moreover, such changes lead to functional limitations because of muscle weakness caused by physiological changes in muscle morphology, protein, and hormonal kinetics, insulin resistance, inflammation and oxidative stress. In addition, there are other critical changes in the organism, which affect cognitive abilities and mental health overall. Thus, among the related issues are dementia and Alzheimers disease along with different forms of anxiety, negative affect, substance abuse, and suicide. Also, scholars claim that as old age progresses, self-report of individuals become most closely related to psychological symptoms, which are the consequence of cognitive impairment, that lead to difficulty with self-care. However, these are not the only problems of the elderly population mainly because of the probability that these conditions may be aggravated by obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The reason for this is that with age nutrient-sensing neurons of the human body change the pattern of control of metabolism of glucose. What is more, cardiovascular disease within the age group between 65 and 85 years deserves a particular attention as it remains the main cause of death. Among other critical diseases and conditions are cancer, chronic pain, and arthritis, which may severely deteriorate the quality of life of individuals. The mentioned issues are relevant almost for any population of the world and especially to the developed countries, which also suffer from the economic burden of these diseases. For instance, it costs Canada $190 billion annually to provide treatment to elderly citizens up to 90% of who suffer from at least one chronic condition and take from one to five medications. Therefore, from the perspective of geriatric medicine, aging is associated with a lot of critical factors that require adequate and timely mitigation.

Recent Researches and Mitigation of the Issue

The gravity of the consequences of the increase in the older population leads to the fact that many scholars and governments attempt to provide different solutions that allow solving the exposed problem. Despite the academic investigations are separated due to the natural division of science many scholars find diverse solutions some of which can be united in a social policy. For instance, investigating the ways to solve the problem of muscular degradation with age scholars approve the efficacy of diet and resistance exercise training. Their recent finding demonstrated that high-velocity resistance exercises and aerobic training benefit skeletal muscle, decrease oxidative stress and improve insulin sensitivity. This biological effect of exercising may be used as a component of a comprehensive policy that allows aged citizens reducing the emergence and development of negative health conditions. At the same time, recent discoveries of scholars that specialize on brain research demonstrate that cognitive impairment of the elderly population is caused both by lifestyle and genetic factors. As a result, modern science finds a way of affecting the genetic causes of the investigated problems whereas the state policing and community health initiatives can solve the first issue. Also, discussing diets that allow mitigating the exposed issues, it is critical to consider the discovery that high protein intake by the elderly increases a 75% risk of overall mortality along with cancer mortality. Consequently, health care advocates should develop a community health policy that would regulate the dietary and physical activity spheres of the adults. Researchers demonstrate that it is possible to mitigate the major risks of the revealed problems by means of regulating genetic, dietary, and pharmacologic approaches. Therefore, it is possible to organize community and individual consultations with advanced care nursing leaders in order to provide them knowledge required for improving health and the quality of life of the elderly population.

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Summarizing the presented information, one comes to a conclusion that the problem of the quality of life in the elderly population is one of the most relevant concerns for any society of the world. The reason for this is the improved quality of life, which led to the fact that people in various countries live longer than their ancestors. However, the analysis demonstrates that there is a direct correlation between age and health risk factors that negatively affect the well-being of the old people and the quality of their lives overall. Among such issues is weakening of muscles and bones, cognitive degradation, chronic diseases, and conditions. However, recent researches demonstrate that such measures as exercising, nutrition and medication control allow preventing the development of the most of these conditions. Therefore, it is possible to create a community health strategy that would allow bypassing the predominant risks related to age, health and the quality of life of adults. Also, the research revealed that there are genetic factors related to age that possibly triggers the development of age-related diseases, but this domain requires further investigations.

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