Navigation Links
Defining the new normal in aging
Date:2/27/2013

Diana McIntyre approaches her 80th birthday later this year with the same energy and zest for life of friends decades her junior. Aside from back surgery years ago, she's never been sick and, through a busy volunteer schedule, never seems to slow down.

McIntyre's good health feels normalat least to heralthough she recognizes not all seniors are so fortunate. But when it comes to terms like "normal," "healthy" or "successful" aging, she shakes her head.

"I don't know what would be considered normal aging," said McIntyre, past president of the Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton. "What's normal for a 45-year-old? What's normal for an 80-year-old? Those are really irrelevant terms as far as I'm concerned. My own philosophy is I would like to do as much as I can, for as long as I can, as well as I can."

Hannah O'Rourke, a PhD student and Vanier scholar in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta, says terms such as normal or healthy aging are commonly used by health-care professionals to describe or influence how seniors should age. Often they emphasize personal lifestyle choices in staying healthy, such as eating well, staying active and not smoking.

Chronic disease might be the norm, but doesn't have to be the focus

But those terms can fall short of the experiences of most older Canadians, and how they're used affects how a society views older generationsespecially seniors living with chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease, says O'Rourke.

"Normal aging is not something we can easily define," she says. "There are many older adults with chronic disease who report they still enjoy life. When aging is just defined as 'healthy' and 'devoid of disease,' it doesn't leave a place for what to do with all of these older adults who are still aging with chronic illnesses.

"Cures for chronic illnesses are not always around the corner, and health-care teams have patients to care for now. We need to find ways to support older adults with chronic disease to live well according to their own definitions of health and normality."

O'Rourke, a registered nurse whose research focuses on quality of life for people with dementia, points out that many Canadian seniors are well enough to live at home, yet 80 per cent have some form of chronic disease. With that large a majority, putting the onus on individual choices to age successfully sends the wrong message.

"The implication is that if you have a chronic illness as an older adult, you've somehow failed in this goal of aging without chronic disease, which is perhaps not that realistic a goal."

Sound the alarm, a grey wave is here

O'Rourke says much of the policy work, research and teaching about aging also relies on statistics to describe Canada's greying population, such as estimates that, by 2026, one-fifth of the country will be over the age of 65. But those statistics frame aging as a problem to be fixed, she says, and that affects how we view seniors.

McIntyre feels these implications, and not in a positive way.

"When people think of seniors, they think of their limitations instead of their capabilities," she says. "The huge majority of us are doing very well on our own, thank you."

O'Rourke points out that an aging society can also be viewed as a success story because it means the majority of us are living well into our older years.

"Just because something requires resources doesn't necessarily mean it's a huge problem."


'/>"/>
Contact: Bryan Alary
bryan.alary@ualberta.ca
780-492-0436
University of Alberta
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Defining tomorrows medicine - SingHealth Duke-NUS Scientific Congress 2012
2. Epilepsy Leads to More Brain Abnormalities Over Time
3. Normal triglyceride levels in people of African descent may hinder diagnosis of metabolic syndrome
4. Normalizing tumor blood vessels improves delivery of only the smallest nanomedicines
5. Study Pinpoints New Abnormality in Athletes Heart
6. Slow-growing babies more likely in normal-weight women; Less common in obese pregnancies
7. Insecticide Linked to Brain Abnormalities in Kids
8. Genetic abnormalities in benign or malignant tissues predict relapse of prostate cancer
9. Treatment of childhood OSA reverses brain abnormalities
10. Abnormal gene product associated with prostate cancer generated by unusual mechanism
11. Declining testosterone levels in men not part of normal aging, study finds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... , ... According to a new study by NCPA Senior Fellow John R. ... rules Congress has directed the CBO to follow. The CBO itself previously recognized Obamacare ... it estimates a reduction in employer-based coverage due to the GOP reform, which is ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... ... The iaedp Foundation, the premier provider of educational programs and training standards for eating ... of disordered eating, announced today that the 2017 Symposium set a new attendance record ... countries converged on the Green Valley Resort in Las Vegas. , “We are ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... March 24, 2017 , ... ... Premier Center for Shamanic Healing and Spiritual Awakening, proudly presents her Sacred ... 2017. This sacred and spiritual journey during the Summer Solstice will also ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... March 24, 2017 , ... As ... to create a communications platform that positions them as the go-to thought leader ... reinvented their online publication as an always-on, always-fresh news, views and advocacy engine, ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... March 24, 2017 , ... On June ... ERISA Benefit Claims Litigation seminar in Chicago, Illinois. She will present on: ... of cases litigated under ERISA involve claims for long-term disability benefits. This ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)... 23, 2017  HealthMine surveys with 9,250 insured consumers ... health plan members want help from their plans in ... in their health, 2) help closing gaps in care, ... health and 5) relevant, real-time guidance. Meeting these needs ... costs. A Reason to Stay ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... , March 23, 2017  Provectus Biopharmaceuticals, ... the "Company"), a clinical-stage oncology and dermatology biopharmaceutical ... Definitive Financing Commitment Term Sheet (the "Definitive Financing") ... group of the Company,s stockholders, who are referred ... in a Form 8-K filed with the Securities ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 24, 2017 The Board of Directors of ... Report 2016 including the complete 2016 Annual Accounts with notes. ... Nordic Nanovector,s website in the section Investor Relations/Reports and presentations/Annual ... ... Kvåle, Chief Financial Officer Cell: +47-91-51-95-76 Email: ir@nordicnanovector.com ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: