There have been debates among the scientists, sociologists, and the psychologists over the best criteria to be used in determining what can really be considered as a successful aging. This debate has resulted into an agreement over a number of socially modified factors including such categories as; behavioral, environmental, and role related factors as those factors which together work to extend the life expectancy of the old people. Such factors, apart from working to postpone death among the old, also work to postpone chances of the aged being disabled earlier in life. This write up will seek to show in details how such factors can play about in people’s lives to produce a healthier aging population.
According to Hayward & Warner (1997), successful aging comprises of; active engagement with life, reduced risks of diseases and disabilities, as well as high and effective mental and physical function. The specific factors considered important for successful aging include; one’s physical health, one’s productivity, and financial stability. This write up will look at these three key factors and how they play about in life to produce a healthier aging population.
Rowe & Kahn (2005) identified a number of key factors, which determines how healthy an aging population can be. First is one’s lifestyle. According to them, the aged should continuously involve themselves in physical exercises. They argued that this would help them maintain their bone weight, reduces depression and chances of disability and death. They also argue that involvement in exercise decreases risks that may result from genetic factors. It equally reduces chances of the old suffering from a number of diseases and disorders such as obesity and cancer that may result from poor eating habits.
The second factor is nutrition. Rowe & Kahn (1997) argue that the level of success in aging normally depends on whether one eats the right diet, quantities, and proportions of food, water, and vitamins. Hayward & Warner (2005) equally point out that the right eating habits reduces susceptibility to ailments such as; arthritis, diabetes, and heart related diseases. It also reduces disorders which influence hearing ability and visual impairment, which are common among the old.
Finally, the old people should create a strong social network so as to reduce loneliness and worries. This will help increase the length of time one remains actively engaged in life that, in turn, gives them a sense of belonging and usefulness.
In conclusion, such standards though are recommendable, are only within the reach of very few people making successful aging a goal of the minority. The majority are not able to afford such nutritional and physical lifestyles as most of the old especially in the developing countries are poor.