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How Old Are You Really? Biological Age

May 29, 2016 by · Comments Off on How Old Are You Really? Biological Age
Filed under: General 

People have always been interested in being “forever young” and today’s society is no different. We want to resist the ageing process.

The speed at which we are ageing can be measured – its called biological age, or how old your body really is.

The area of study which is now called longevity, and was once called anti aging, is hugely popular in the states.

It’s something I’m very interested in, and see it as a big part of the future for myself and my clients.

Your chronological age is how old you actually are.

Biological age is the age of your body at the cellular level.

Today we will look into how you can establish, what your biological age is and how you can improve it.

There are a few longevity factors in the list which surprised me!

(Deep question alert!)

What is the purpose of life? I don’t mean any deep seated stuff, like procreation.

I just mean, what is most people’s AIM in life. What do they want to get out of their time on earth?

Firstly and most importantly, people want to be happy. Easier said than done.

Happiness is a state of mind. It’s a feeling.

Ask someone with a big goal (like building a successful business or losing more than three stone).

“What will reaching your goal do for you?”

Often they will say something like “When I get there I will feel happy”, or “satisfied with myself”, or they say “I will feel proud”.

“I will have more energy”.

“I won’t be afraid of trying new clothes on or going out with friends”.

“I don’t want to feel like a slave to food”

“I don’t want to be scared to look in the mirror or get on the scales”.

Life is all about feelings.

People spend their entire lives in search of feelings! (mostly happiness, contentment, satisfaction and love)

How people actually reach this state of “happiness” is different for us all.

Most people I know AIM for a decent job (or business) with decent money.

All with the ultimate goal of having a good retirement.

I hear people say “When I finish work, I’m going to do this or I’m going to… (insert goal)”.

The point here being, if being happy and having a nice retirement is people’s main goal in life, then keeping your body fit and healthy surely must be part of your plan.

I know of a very wealthy man who got cancer and passed away just before his retirement, I’m sure that was not part of the master plan, he had built his business up so he could sell it and have a nice retirement (as most business people do).

He didn’t make it and didn’t get to “cash out”.

Many people don’t make it to retirement because their “plan” is messed up from the start.

Without sounding depressing we only get one shot remember.

This is NOT a rehearsal.

A lot of people get to retirement age and their body is wrecked!

This stops them from being able to enjoy their time off as much. Living life with lots of restrictions. “I can’t go there because of the steep hill”, or “I can’t do that because of my back or my knees”.

After working hard for 40-50 years – to give yourself a good pension and retirement, this is the last thing that anyone wants.

Peoples bodies are like cars.

On one hand you have new cars with high mileage that are not well serviced.

On the other hand you have old cars with low mileage that have been well looked after.

I want YOU to be like a well looked after old car, with low mileage when you get to your retirement.

I know some people, that slog away and get to the age of 40, and feel and look like they’re 50 or 60!

I also know many people who hit retirement age and feel like a 40 year old, and can keep on working and exercising for another 20 years!

This is all dependent on how we live our lives, obviously there are things such as injuries, diseases and other bad things which can impact our lives negatively through no fault of our own but on the whole we are in control of our own health.

What affects our longevity?

Scientists agree that these factors all affect your longevity in some way, big or small. (this is not a definitive list)

Muscle size and strength
Level of education
How pro active you are with going to see the doctor if needed
The amount of friends you can rely on, and love in your life
Your diet
Blood pressure
Your upper body strength
If you enjoy your work or not
Weather you smoke/drink alcohol or not, and the amount
If you exercise or not

Most of us shorten our lives and ultimately kill ourselves, through our bad habits and lifestyle choices, whatever they may be.

As you would of guessed, it is possible to slow down the onset of ageing and even reverse it to some extent.

I must say, that there is nothing wrong with ageing, it is inevitable. It is something we should be proud of, a chance to show our wisdom to the younger generation.

This article is just to show you how you can SLOW the ageing process with ease and actually enjoy it.

The Ageing Process

As we get older our bodies start to slow down and stop being able to function as well, sadly there is no getting away from this.

BUT through healthy living and making the right choices day in day out we can delay our body slowing down by years!

Just think how much more you will be able to enjoy your retirement if you feel like a 40 year old? and can spend it with the people you love.

Compare this to how much you will enjoy it if you can barely walk up a flight of stairs without having tired legs and being short of breath.

Your chronological age doesn’t have to be the same, or worse, than your physiological age.

How to slow the effects of ageing

The list above obviously helps you but here are a few more ideas for you to beat the clock.

When some people think anti aging, I’m sure some of you may think of things like anti wrinkle creams and lotions, hair dying products, botox and maybe even plastic surgery.

That does kind of sum up some of the western world that these are the steps that the majority of people (plastic surgery being an extreme example) will take to make them look younger, rather than eating healthily and exercising.

Aging leads to loss of muscle mass, loss of mental function, low mobility and a lack of energy, and as you know the cosmetic type anti aging steps I mentioned won’t help any of these.

Top tips to delay ageing naturally:

Enjoy the Outdoors – Don’t spend all of your time cooped up indoors behind the computer or watching TV. There are plenty of things to do and see outside, especially on a nice day I can’t think of anything better than going for a walk with the family down the park or beach. Sunlight also is a natural source of Vitamin D.

Yoga & Meditation – I would say that this is one of the most important strategies in staying young. I started to do this myself and it honestly makes me feel great. Yoga and meditation can help you relax and lower your stress levels (linked with aging) dramatically. It can also help you to see things a lot clearer.

Yoga is also great for your flexibility, the more flexible and supple you are the less chance you have in the future of suffering falls and lack of mobility.

Socialise – Loneliness can be a real killer. Socialise as much as possible with your friends and family. Get out there and do things, go to the cinema, concerts, attend an evening class (the more mentally stimulating the better).

Stay Strong & Active – You have to keep moving or your body will come to a standstill. Taking part in regular exercise is absolutely vital. Regular strength training is extremely important.

Losing muscle mass is something you want to avoid or at least delay for as long as possible so strength training will help this as well as keeping your bones strong, this will lower your chances of osteoporosis.

Nutrition

I believe food is medicine, many of the effects you get from modern day medicine you can get from eating the right foods.

Nutrition influences biochemistry. Biochemistry influences everything at a cellular level.

If you eat well there should be no need for some medications.

If you spend your whole life eating fresh, natural whole foods and stay active then it will also show. You will most likely be lean, mobile, disease free and full of energy, a rarity these days.

You should aim to eat a diet containing lots of quality fats and protein’s (the bodies building materials) which will help you to maintain your muscle stores. Also protein boosts the production of HGH in your body, HGH (Human growth Hormone) is your body’s natural ‘fountain of youth’.

As you age the production of this hormone slows down greatly, regular strength exercise (lifting, pushing and pulling heavy stuff) and quality protein keeps the production of this hormone going!

Eat plenty of antioxidant rich foods – Antioxidants which are found in colourful fruit and vegetables help to reduce the damage caused by free radicals in your system.

Free radicals can speed up the onset of ageing; they are unstable electrons (O1 molecules)which are produced during metabolism. They damage the cell nucleus and the mitochondria.

Free radicals bounce around inside your cells like a pin ball, causing damage every time they hit something. They cause absolute havoc.

Antioxidants provide the free radical with the extra O1 molecule they need to become stable O2 molecules.

Good quality natural foods are the best way to combat these harmful free radicals. Natural organic foods are packed with antioxidants which neutralise the free radicals before they cause too much damage.

Eat Omega 3s – They fight inflammation, improve the appearance of your skin and aid brain function. Three vital things that we need as we age. So make sure you get as many omega 3s into your system as you can, the best source is fresh fish, if not a fish oil supplement will do.

Lower Sugar Intake – Aim to cut out any excess sugar that you eat, excess sugars can modify essential proteins in our body which can lead to wrinkles and energy loss.

Look after your skin through good food and lots of water – Eating foods containing vitamin A (sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, asparagus and carrots), Vitamin C (red peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, oranges, kiwi and pineapple) and Vitamin E (nuts, seeds and spinach) are a great way of helping your skin look healthy.

Stop smoking and limit alcohol intake – There are few things that age you faster than smoking and drinking alcohol every day so cut out smoking and do as much as you can to drink less.

Lower Stress Levels – This is another big one, I just mentioned that there are few things that age you faster than smoking and alcohol; well I think stress is one of them.

Being constantly stressed will ruin your mood, energy levels, social interaction as well as causing so many health problems.

As I mentioned above, I have found deep breathing techniques, yoga and meditation really important and a great way of combating stress.

Let’s be realistic the big medical and health companies aren’t going to promote anti aging through the things I just said, they are going to promote it through new miracle pills, lotions and creams, there is a lot of money to be made from it so they will keep on doing it.

The people who buy these products don’t have to alter their lifestyle one little bit so it suits them which is why it is so popular.

We ultimately reap our rewards in our retirement, if you have invested some time and effort into your “health & fitness account”, you will reap the rewards.

If you haven’t then you won’t!

You can actually measure your biological age online with a biological age calculator.

If all of the things I have mentioned above didn’t require effort or commitment then everyone would be running around into their 90s and later!!

But unfortunately we don’t, we die much younger than that.

Depending on what stats you use, in 2010, UK men were reported to live on average until about 77 or 78, and women on average live until 82 or 83 years old.

Do it naturally and do it right.

Let me know your thoughts on this topic, comment below, I really want to know what you think.

Thanks for reading, take care,

Richard

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The Programmed Cellular Death Approach to Anti-Aging Treatment

May 8, 2016 by · Comments Off on The Programmed Cellular Death Approach to Anti-Aging Treatment
Filed under: General 

Modern anti-aging treatment is built on a common base of knowledge that I will quickly review. Biochemistry and molecular biology tell us there are many types of chemical reactions going on in the human body. We know that it is the genetic information programmed inside our cellular DNA that defines what reactions occur. Genetic information, expressed in regulated ways, builds the body’s proteins and enzymes, and controls how enzymes carry out the cell’s biochemical reactions.

This information, contained in the DNA of our genome, consists of many thousands of long, often repetitive, sequences of base pairs that are built up from four basic nucleotides. Human genome mapping has shown there are over 3 billion base pairs in our DNA. It is estimated they contain some 20,000 protein-coding genes. All body functions are controlled by the expression of the genes in our genome. The mechanisms controlling the aging process are believed to be programmed into our DNA but only a fraction of the biochemical reactions related to the aging process have been looked at in any detail. Cellular aging is a very complex process and many of its low level operating details have yet to be discovered.

Anti-aging theory has consolidated itself along two lines of thought: the programmed cellular death theory and the cellular damages theory. The programmed death theory focuses on the root causes of aging. The cellular damages theory looks at the visible aspects of aging; i.e. the symptoms of aging. Both theories are correct and often overlap. Both theories are developing rapidly as anti-aging research uncovers more details. As works in progress these theories may take years to complete. This broad characterization also applies to the currently available types of anti-aging treatments.

The programmed death theory of aging suggests that biological aging is a programmed process controlled by many life span regulatory mechanisms. They manifest themselves through gene expression. Gene expression also controls body processes such as our body maintenance (hormones, homeostatic signaling etc.) and repair mechanisms. With increasing age the efficiency of all such regulation declines. Programmed cellular death researchers want to understand which regulatory mechanisms are directly related to aging, and how to affect or improve them. Many ideas are being pursued but one key area of focus is on slowing or stopping telomere shortening. This is considered to be a major cause of aging.

With the exception of the germ cells that produce ova and spermatozoa, most dividing human cell types can only divide about 50 to 80 times (also called the Hayflick limit or biological death clock). This is a direct consequence of all cell types having fixed length telomere chains at the ends of their chromosomes. This is true for all animal (Eukaryotic) cells. Telomeres play a vital role in cell division. In very young adults telomere chains are about 8,000 base pairs long. Each time a cell divides its telomere chain loses about 50 to 100 base pairs. Eventually this shortening process distorts the telomere chain’s shape and it becomes dysfunctional. Cell division is then no longer possible.

Telomerase, the enzyme that builds the fixed length telomere chains, is normally only active in young undifferentiated embryonic cells. Through the process of differentiation these cells eventually form the specialized cells from which of all our organs and tissues are made of. After a cell is specialized telomerase activity stops. Normal adult human tissues have little or no detectable telomerase activity. Why? A limited length telomere chain maintains chromosomal integrity. This preserves the species more than the individual.

During the first months of development embryonic cells organize into about 100 distinct specialized cell lines. Each cell line (and the organs they make up) has a different Hayflick limit. Some cell lines are more vulnerable to the effects of aging than others. In the heart and parts of the brain cell loss is not replenished. With advancing age such tissues start to fail. In other tissues damaged cells die off and are replaced by new cells that have shorter telomere chains. Cell division itself only causes about 20 telomere base pairs to be lost. The rest of the telomere shortening is believed to be due to free radical damage.

This limit on cell division is the reason why efficient cell repair can’t go on indefinitely. When we are 20 to 35 years of age our cells can renew themselves almost perfectly. One study found that at the age 20 the average length of telomere chains in white blood cells is about 7,500 base pairs. In humans, skeletal muscle telomere chain lengths remain more or less constant from the early twenties to mid seventies. By the age of 80 the average telomere length decreases to about 6,000 base pairs. Different studies have different estimates of how telomere length varies with age but the consensus is that between the age of 20 and 80 the length of the telomere chain decreases by 1000 to 1500 base pairs. Afterwards, as telomere lengths shorten even more, signs of severe aging begin to appear.

There are genetic variations in human telomerase. Long lived Ashkenazi Jews are said to have a more active form of telomerase and longer than normal telomere chains. Many other genetic differences (ex.: efficiency of DNA repair, antioxidant enzymes, and rates of free radical production) affect how quickly one ages. Statistics suggest that having shorter telomeres increases your chance of dying. People whose telomeres are 10% shorter than average, and people whose telomeres are 10% longer than average die at different rates. Those with the shorter telomeres die at a rate that is 1.4 greater than those with the longer telomeres.

Many advances in telomerase based anti-aging treatments have been documented. I only have room to mention a few of them.

– Telomerase has been used successfully to lengthen the life of certain mice by up to 24%.

– In humans, gene therapy using telomerase has been used to treat myocardial infarction and several other conditions.

– Telomerase related, mTERT, treatment has successfully rejuvenated many different cell lines.

In one particularly important example researchers using synthetic telomerase that encoded to a telomere-extending protein, have extended the telomere chain lengths of cultured human skin and muscle cells by up to 1000 base pairs. This is a 10%+ extension of telomere chain length. The treated cells then showed signs of being much younger than the untreated cells. After the treatments these cells behaved normally, losing a part of their telomere chain after each division.

The implications of successfully applying such techniques in humans are staggering. If telomere length is a primary cause of normal aging, then, using the telomere length numbers previously mentioned, it might be possible to double the healthy time period during which telomere chain lengths are constant; i.e. from the range of 23 to 74 years to an extended range of 23 to 120 or more years. Of course this is too optimistic because it is known that in vitro cultured cells are able to divide a larger number of times than cells in the human body but it is reasonable to expect some improvement (not 50 years but say 25 years).

We know that telomerase based treatments are not the final answer to anti-aging but there is no doubt that they can, by increasing the Hayflick limit, extend or even immortalize the lifespan of many cell types. It remains to be seen if this can be done safely done in humans.

Telomerase based treatments are only a partial answer to anti-aging. Please carefully research any anti-aging supplements based on this line of treatment. Through my articles and website I want to help you maintain your good health for the next 10 to 25 years. My hope is that within time period the fruits of anti-aging research will become available to everyone.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9227048

The Development of Old Age and Related Issues

April 18, 2016 by · Comments Off on The Development of Old Age and Related Issues
Filed under: General 

In traditional Chinese and other Asian cultures the aged were highly respected and cared for. The Igabo tribesmen of Eastern Nigeria value dependency in their aged and involve them in care of children and the administration of tribal affairs (Shelton, A. in Kalish R. Uni Michigan 1969).

In Eskimo culture the grandmother was pushed out into the ice-flow to die as soon as she became useless.

Western societies today usually resemble to some degree the Eskimo culture, only the “ice-flows” have names such a “Sunset Vista” and the like. Younger generations no longer assign status to the aged and their abandonment is always in danger of becoming the social norm.

There has been a tendency to remove the aged from their homes and put them  in custodial care. To some degree the government provides domiciliary care services to prevent or delay this, but the motivation probably has more to do with expense than humanity.

In Canada and some parts of the USA old people are being utilised as foster-grandparents in child care agencies.

SOME BASIC DEFINITIONS

What is Aging?

Aging: Aging is a natural phenomenon that refers to changes occurring throughout the life span and result in differences in structure and function between the youthful and elder generation.

Gerontology: Gerontology is the study of aging and includes science, psychology and sociology.

Geriatrics: A relatively new field of medicine specialising in the health problems of advanced age.

Social aging: Refers to the social habits and roles of individuals with respect to their culture and society. As social aging increases individual usually experience a decrease in meaningful social interactions.

Biological aging: Refers to the physical changes in the body systems during the later decades of life. It may begin long before the individual  reaches chronological age 65.

Cognitive aging: Refers to decreasing ability to assimilate new information and learn new behaviours and skills.

GENERAL PROBLEMS OF AGING

Eric Erikson (Youth and the life cycle. Children. 7:43-49 Mch/April 1960) developed an “ages and stages” theory of human development that involved 8 stages after birth each of which involved a basic dichotomy representing best case and worst case outcomes. Below are the dichotomies and their developmental relevance:

Prenatal stage – conception to birth.

  1. Infancy. Birth to 2 years – basic trust vs. basic distrust. Hope.
  2. Early childhood, 3 to 4 years – autonomy vs. self doubt/shame. Will.
  3. Play age, 5 to 8 years – initiative vs. guilt. Purpose.
  4. School age, 9to 12 – industry vs. inferiority. Competence.
  5. Adolescence, 13 to 19 – identity vs. identity confusion. Fidelity.
  6. Young adulthood – intimacy vs. isolation. Love.
  7. Adulthood, generativity vs. self absorption. Care.
  8. Mature age- Ego Integrity vs. Despair. Wisdom.

This stage of older adulthood, i.e. stage 8, begins about the time of retirement and continues throughout one’s life. Achieving ego integrity  is a sign of maturity while failing to reach this stage is an indication of poor development in prior stages through the life course.

Ego integrity: This means coming to accept one’s whole life and reflecting on it in a positive manner. According to Erikson, achieving integrity means fully accepting one’ self and coming to terms with death. Accepting responsibility for one’s life and being able to review the past with satisfaction is essential. The inability to do this leads to despair and the individual will begin to fear death. If a favourable balance is achieved during this stage, then wisdom is developed.

Psychological and personality aspects:

Aging has psychological implications. Next to dying our recognition that we are aging may be one of the most profound shocks we ever receive. Once we pass the invisible line of 65 our years are bench marked for the remainder of the game of life. We are no longer “mature age” we are instead classified as “old”, or “senior citizens”. How we cope with the changes we face and stresses of altered status depends on our basic personality. Here are 3 basic personality types that have been identified. It may be a oversimplification but it makes the point about personality effectively:

a. The autonomous – people who seem to have the resources for self-renewal. They may be dedicated to a goal or idea and committed to continuing productivity. This appears to protect them somewhat even against physiological aging.

b.The adjusted – people who are rigid and lacking in adaptability but are supported by their power, prestige or well structured routine. But if their situation changes drastically they become psychiatric casualties.

c.The anomic. These are people who do not have clear inner values or a protective life vision. Such people have been described as prematurely resigned and they may deteriorate rapidly.

Summary of stresses of old age.

a. Retirement and reduced income. Most people rely on work for self worth, identity and social interaction. Forced retirement can be demoralising.

b. Fear of invalidism and death. The increased probability of falling prey to illness from which there is no recovery is a continual source of anxiety. When one has a heart attack or stroke the stress becomes much worse.

Some persons face death with equanimity, often psychologically supported by a religion or philosophy. Others may welcome death as an end to suffering or insoluble problems and with little concern for life or human existence. Still others face impending death with suffering of great stress against which they have no ego defenses.

c. Isolation and loneliness. Older people face inevitable loss of loved ones, friends and contemporaries. The loss of a spouse whom one has depended on for companionship and moral support is particularly distressing. Children grow up, marry and become preoccupied or move away. Failing memory, visual and aural impairment may all work to make social interaction difficult. And if this then leads to a souring of outlook and rigidity of attitude then social interaction becomes further lessened and the individual may not even utilise the avenues for social activity that are still available.

d. Reduction in sexual function and physical attractiveness. Kinsey et al, in their Sexual behaviour in the human male, (Phil., Saunders, 1948) found that there is a gradual decrease in sexual activity with advancing age and that reasonably gratifying patterns of sexual activity can continue into extreme old age. The aging person also has to adapt to loss of sexual attractiveness in a society which puts extreme emphasis on sexual attractiveness. The adjustment in self image and self concept that are required can be very hard to make.

e. Forces tending to self devaluation. Often the experience of the older generation has little perceived relevance to the problems of the young and the older person becomes deprived of participation in decision making both in occupational and family settings. Many parents are seen as unwanted burdens and their children may secretly wish they would die so they can be free of the burden and experience some financial relief or benefit. Senior citizens may be pushed into the role of being an old person with all this implies in terms of self devaluation.

4 Major Categories of Problems or Needs:

Health.

Housing.

Income maintenance.

Interpersonal relations.

BIOLOGICAL CHANGES

Physiological Changes: Catabolism (the breakdown of protoplasm) overtakes anabolism (the build-up of protoplasm). All body systems are affected and repair systems become slowed. The aging process occurs at different rates in different individuals.

Physical appearance and other changes:

Loss of subcutaneous fat and less elastic skin gives rise to wrinkled appearance, sagging and loss of smoothness of body contours. Joints stiffen and become painful and range of joint movement becomes restricted, general mobility lessened.

Respiratory changes:

Increase of fibrous tissue in chest walls and lungs leads restricts respiratory movement and less oxygen is consumed. Older people more likelyto have lower respiratory infections whereas young people have upper respiratory infections.

Nutritive changes:

Tooth decay and loss of teeth can detract from ease and enjoyment in eating. Atrophy of the taste buds means food is inclined to be tasteless and this should be taken into account by carers. Digestive changes occur from lack of exercise (stimulating intestines) and decrease in digestive juice production. Constipation and indigestion are likely to follow as a result. Financial problems can lead to the elderly eating an excess of cheap carbohydrates rather than the more expensive protein and vegetable foods and this exacerbates the problem, leading to reduced vitamin intake and such problems as anemia and increased susceptibility to infection.

Adaptation to stress:

All of us face stress at all ages. Adaptation to stress requires the consumption of energy. The 3 main phases of stress are:

1. Initial alarm reaction. 2. Resistance. 3. Exhaustion

and if stress continues tissue damage or aging occurs. Older persons have had a lifetime of dealing with stresses. Energy reserves are depleted and the older person succumbs to stress earlier than the younger person. Stress is cumulative over a lifetime. Research results, including experiments with animals suggests that each stress leaves us more vulnerable to the next and that although we might think we’ve “bounced back” 100% in fact each stress leaves it scar. Further, stress is psycho-biological meaning the kind of stress is irrelevant. A physical stress may leave one more vulnerable to psychological stress and vice versa. Rest does not completely restore one after a stressor. Care workers need to be mindful of this and cognizant of the kinds of things that can produce stress for aged persons.

COGNITIVE CHANGE Habitual Behaviour:

Sigmund Freud noted that after the age of 50, treatment of neuroses via psychoanalysis was difficult because the opinions and reactions of older people were relatively fixed and hard to shift.

Over-learned behaviour: This is behaviour that has been learned so well and repeated so often that it has become automatic, like for example typing or running down stairs. Over-learned behaviour is hard to change. If one has lived a long time one is likely to have fixed opinions and ritualised behaviour patterns or habits.

Compulsive behaviour: Habits and attitudes that have been learned in the course of finding ways to overcome frustration and difficulty are very hard to break. Tension reducing habits such as nail biting, incessant humming, smoking or drinking alcohol are especially hard to change at any age and particularly hard for persons who have been practising them over a life time.

The psychology of over-learned and compulsive behaviours has severe implications for older persons who find they have to live in what for them is a new and alien environment with new rules and power relations.

Information acquisition:

Older people have a continual background of neural noise making it more difficult for them to sort out and interpret complex sensory input. In talking to an older person one should turn off the TV, eliminate as many noises and distractions as possible, talk slowly and relate to one message or idea at a time.

Memories from the distant past are stronger than more recent memories. New memories are the first to fade and last to return.

Time patterns also can get mixed – old and new may get mixed.

Intelligence.

Intelligence reaches a peak and can stay high with little deterioration if there is no neurological damage. People who have unusually high intelligence to begin with seem to suffer the least decline. Education and stimulation also seem to play a role in maintaining intelligence.

Intellectual impairment. Two diseases of old age causing cognitive decline are Alzheimer’s syndrome and Pick’s syndrome. In Pick’s syndrome there is inability to concentrate and learn and also affective responses are impaired.

Degenerative Diseases: Slow progressive physical degeneration of cells in the nervous system. Genetics appear to be an important factor. Usually start after age 40 (but can occur as early as 20s).

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE Degeneration of all areas of cortex but particularly frontal and temporal lobes. The affected cells actually die. Early symptoms resemble neurotic disorders: Anxiety, depression, restlessness sleep difficulties.

Progressive deterioration of all intellectual faculties (memory deficiency being the most well known and obvious). Total mass of the brain decreases, ventricles become larger. No established treatment.

PICK’S DISEASE Rare degenerative disease. Similar to Alzheimer’s in terms of onset, symptomatology and possible genetic aetiology. However it affects circumscribed areas of the brain, particularly the frontal areas which leads to a loss of normal affect.

PARKINSON’S DISEASE Neuropathology: Loss of neurons in the basal ganglia.

Symptoms: Movement abnormalities: rhythmical alternating tremor of extremities, eyelids and tongue along with rigidity of the muscles and slowness of movement (akinesia).

It was once thought that Parkinson’s disease was not associated with intellectual deterioration, but it is now known that there is an association between global intellectual impairment and Parkinson’s where it occurs late in life.

The cells lost in Parkinson’s are associated with the neuro-chemical Dopamine and the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s are associated the dopamine deficiency. Treatment involves administration of dopamine precursor L-dopa which can alleviate symptoms including intellectual impairment. Research suggests it may possibly bring to the fore emotional effects in patients who have had psychiatric illness at some prior stage in their lives.

AFFECTIVE DOMAIN In old age our self concept gets its final revision. We make a final assessment of the value of our lives and our balance of success and failures.

How well a person adapts to old age may be predicated by how well the person adapted to earlier significant changes. If the person suffered an emotional crisis each time a significant change was needed then adaptation to the exigencies of old age may also be difficult. Factors such as economic security, geographic location and physical health are important to the adaptive process.

Need Fulfilment: For all of us, according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, we are not free to pursue the higher needs of self actualisation unless the basic needs are secured. When one considers that many, perhaps most, old people are living in poverty and continually concerned with basic survival needs, they are not likely to be happily satisfying needs related to prestige, achievement and beauty.

Maslow’s Hierarchy

Physiological

Safety

Belonging, love, identification

Esteem: Achievement, prestige, success, self respect

Self actualisation: Expressing one’s interests and talents to the full.

Note: Old people who have secured their basic needs may be motivated to work on tasks of the highest levels in the hierarchy – activities concerned with aesthetics, creativity and altruistic matters, as compensation for loss of sexual attractiveness and athleticism. Aged care workers fixated on getting old people to focus on social activities may only succeed in frustrating and irritating them if their basic survival concerns are not secured to their satisfaction.

DISENGAGEMENT

Social aging according to Cumming, E. and Henry, W. (Growing old: the aging process of disengagement, NY, Basic 1961) follows a well defined pattern:

  1. Change in role. Change in occupation and productivity. Possibly change in attitude to work.
  2. Loss of role, e.g. retirement or death of a husband.
  3. Reduced social interaction. With loss of role social interactions are diminished, eccentric adjustment can further reduce social interaction, damage to self concept, depression.
  4. Awareness of scarcity of remaining time. This produces further curtailment of activity in interest of saving time.

Havighurst, R. et al (in B. Neugarten (ed.) Middle age and aging, U. of Chicago, 1968) and others have suggested that disengagement is not an inevitable process. They believe the needs of the old are essentially the same as in middle age and the activities of middle age should be extended as long as possible. Havighurst points out the decrease in social interaction of the aged is often largely the result of society withdrawing from the individual as much as the reverse. To combat this he believes the individual must vigorously resist the limitations of his social world.

DEATH The fear of the dead amongst tribal societies is well established. Persons who had ministered to the dead were taboo and required observe various rituals including seclusion for varying periods of time. In some societies from South America to Australia it is taboo for certain persons to utter the name of the dead. Widows and widowers are expected to observe rituals in respect for the dead.

Widows in the Highlands of New Guinea around Goroka chop of one of their own fingers. The dead continue their existence as spirits and upsetting them can bring dire consequences.

Wahl, C in “The fear of death”, 1959 noted that the fear of death occurs as early as the 3rd year of life. When a child loses a pet or grandparent fears reside in the unspoken questions: Did I cause it? Will happen to you (parent) soon? Will this happen to me? The child in such situations needs to re-assure that the departure is not a censure, and that the parent is not likely to depart soon. Love, grief, guilt, anger are a mix of conflicting emotions that are experienced.

CONTEMPORARY ATTITUDES TO DEATH

Our culture places high value on youth, beauty, high status occupations, social class and anticipated future activities and achievement. Aging and dying are denied and avoided in this system. The death of each person reminds us of our own mortality.

The death of the elderly is less disturbing to members of Western society because the aged are not especially valued. Surveys have established that nurses for example attach more importance to saving a young life than an old life. In Western society there is a pattern of avoiding dealing with the aged and dying aged patient.

Stages of dying. Elisabeth Kubler Ross has specialised in working with dying patients and in her “On death and dying”, NY, Macmillan, 1969, summarised 5 stages in dying.

  1. Denial and isolation. “No, not me”.
  2. Anger. “I’ve lived a good life so why me?”
  3. Bargaining. Secret deals are struck with God. “If I can live until…I promise to…”
  4. Depression. (In general the greatest psychological problem of the aged is depression). Depression results from real and threatened loss.
  5. Acceptance of the inevitable.

Kubler Ross’s typology as set out above should, I believe be taken with a grain of salt and not slavishly accepted. Celebrated US Journalist David Rieff who was in June ’08 a guest of the Sydney writer’s festival in relation to his book, “Swimming in a sea of death: a son’s memoir” (Melbourne University Press) expressly denied the validity of the Kubler Ross typology in his Late Night Live interview (Australian ABC radio) with Philip Adams June 9th ’08. He said something to the effect that his mother had regarded her impending death as murder. My own experience with dying persons suggests that the human ego is extraordinarily resilient. I recall visiting a dying colleague in hospital just days before his death. He said, “I’m dying, I don’t like it but there’s nothing I can do about it”, and then went on to chortle about how senior academics at an Adelaide university had told him they were submitting his name for a the Order of Australia (the new “Knighthood” replacement in Australia). Falling in and out of lucid thought with an oxygen tube in his nostrils he was nevertheless still highly interested in the “vain glories of the world”. This observation to me seemed consistent with Rieff’s negative assessment of Kubler Ross’s theories.

THE AGED IN RELATION TO YOUNGER PEOPLE

The aged share with the young the same needs: However, the aged often have fewer or weaker resources to meet those needs. Their need for social interaction may be ignored by family and care workers.

Family should make time to visit their aged members and invite them to their homes. The aged like to visit children and relate to them through games and stories.

Meaningful relationships can be developed via foster-grandparent programs. Some aged are not aware of their income and health entitlements. Family and friends should take the time to explain these. Some aged are too proud to access their entitlements and this problem should be addressed in a kindly way where it occurs.

It is best that the aged be allowed as much choice as possible in matters related to living arrangements, social life and lifestyle.

Communities serving the aged need to provide for the aged via such things as lower curbing, and ramps.

Carers need to examine their own attitude to aging and dying. Denial in the carer is detected by the aged person and it can inhibit the aged person from expressing negative feelings – fear, anger. If the person can express these feelings to someone then that person is less likely to die with a sense of isolation and bitterness.

A METAPHYSICAL PERSPECTIVE

The following notes are my interpretation of a Dr. Depak Chopra lecture entitled, “The New Physics of Healing” which he presented to the 13th Scientific Conference of the American Holistic Medical Association. Dr. Depak Chopra is an endocrinologist and a former Chief of Staff of New England Hospital, Massachusetts. I am deliberately omitting the detail of his explanations of the more abstract, ephemeral and controversial ideas.

Original material from 735 Walnut Street, Boulder, Colorado 83002,

Phone. +303 449 6229.

In the lecture Dr. Chopra presents a model of the universe and of all organisms as structures of interacting centres of electromagnetic energy linked to each other in such a way that anything affecting one part of a system or structure has ramifications throughout the entire structure. This model becomes an analogue not only for what happens within the structure or organism itself, but between the organism and both its physical and social environments. In other words there is a correlation between psychological conditions, health and the aging process. Dr. Chopra in his lecture reconciles ancient Vedic (Hindu) philosophy with modern psychology and quantum physics.

Premature Precognitive Commitment: Dr. Chopra invokes experiments that have shown that flies kept for a long time in a jar do not quickly leave the jar when the top is taken off. Instead they accept the jar as the limit of their universe. He also points out that in India baby elephants are often kept tethered to a small twig or sapling. In adulthood when the elephant is capable of pulling over a medium sized tree it can still be successfully tethered to a twig! As another example he points to experiments in which fish are bred on

2 sides of a fish tank containing a divider between the 2 sides. When the divider is removed the fish are slow to learn that they can now swim throughout the whole tank but rather stay in the section that they accept as their universe. Other experiments have demonstrated that kittens brought up in an environment of vertical stripes and structures, when released in adulthood keep bumping into anything aligned horizontally as if they were unable to see anything that is horizontal. Conversely kittens brought up in an environment of horizontal stripes when released bump into vertical structures, apparently unable to see them.

The whole point of the above experiments is that they demonstrate Premature Precognitive Commitment. The lesson to be learned is that our sensory apparatus develops as a result of initial experience and how we’ve been taught to interpret it.

What is the real look of the world? It doesn’t exist. The way the world looks to us is determined by the sensory receptors we have and our interpretation of that look is determined by our premature precognitive commitments. Dr Chopra makes the point that less than a billionth of the available stimuli make it into our nervous systems. Most of it is screened, and what gets through to us is whatever we are expecting to find on the basis of our precognitive commitments.

Dr. Chopra also discusses the diseases that are actually caused by mainstream medical interventions, but this material gets too far away from my central intention. Dr. Chopra discusses in lay terms the physics of matter, energy and time by way of establishing the wider context of our existence. He makes the point that our bodies including the bodies of plants are mirrors of cosmic rhythms and exhibit changes correlating even with the tides.

Dr. Chopra cites the experiments of Dr. Herbert Spencer of the US National Institute of Health. He injected mice with Poly-IC, an immuno-stimulant while making the mice repeatedly smell camphor. After the effect of the Poly-IC had worn off he again exposed the mice to the camphor smell. The smell of camphor had the effect of causing the mice’s immune system to automatically strengthen as if they had been injected with the stimulant. He then took another batch of mice and injected them with cyclophosphamide which tends to destroy the immune system while exposing them to the smell of camphor. Later after being returned to normal just the smell of camphor was enough to cause destruction of their immune system. Dr. Chopra points out that whether or not camphor enhanced or destroyed the mice’s immune system was entirely determined by an interpretation of the meaning of the smell of camphor. The interpretation is not just in the brain but in each cell of the organism. We are bound to our imagination and our early experiences.

Chopra cites a study by the Massachusetts Dept of Health Education and Welfare into risk factors for heart disease – family history, cholesterol etc. The 2 most important risk factors were found to be psychological measures – Self  Happiness Rating and Job Satisfaction. They found most people died of heart disease on a Monday!

Chopra says that for every feeling there is a molecule. If you are experiencing tranquillity your body will be producing natural valium. Chemical changes in the brain are reflected by changes in other cells including blood cells. The brain produces neuropeptides and brain structures are chemically tuned to these neuropeptide receptors. Neuropeptides (neurotransmitters) are the chemical concommitants of thought. Chopra points out the white blood cells (a part of the immune system) have neuropeptide receptors and are “eavesdropping” on our thinking. Conversely the immune system produces its own neuropeptides which can influence the nervous system. He goes on to say that cells in all parts of the body including heart and kidneys for example also produce neuropeptides and neuropeptide sensitivity. Chopra assures us that most neurologists would agree that the nervous system and the immune system are parallel systems.

Other studies in physiology: The blood interlukin-2 levels of medical students decreased as exam time neared and their interlukin receptor capacities also lowered. Chopra says if we are having fun to the point of exhilaration our natural interlukin-2 levels become higher. Interlukin-2 is a powerful and very expensive anti-cancer drug. The body is a printout of consciousness. If we could change the way we look at our bodies at a genuine, profound level then our bodies would actually change.

On the subject of “time” Chopra cites Sir Thomas Gall and Steven Hawkins, stating that our description of the universe as having a past, present, and future are constructed entirely out of our interpretation of change. But in reality linear time doesn’t exist.

Chopra explains the work of Alexander Leaf a former Harvard Professor of Preventative Medicine who toured the world investigating societies where people  lived beyond 100 years (these included parts of Afghanistan, Soviet Georgia, Southern Andes). He looked at possible factors including climate, genetics, and diet. Leaf concluded the most important factor was the collective perception of aging in these societies.

Amongst the Tama Humara of the Southern Andes there was a collective belief that the older you got the more physically able you got. They had a tradition of running and the older one became then generally the better at running one got. The best runner was aged 60. Lung capacity and other measures actually improved with age. People were healthy until well into their 100s and died in their sleep. Chopra remarks that things have changed since the introduction of Budweiser (beer) and TV.

[DISCUSSION: How might TV be a factor in changing the former ideal state of things?]

Chopra refers to Dr. Ellen Langor a former Harvard Psychology professor’s work. Langor advertised for 100 volunteers aged over 70 years. She took them to a Monastery outside Boston to play “Let’s Pretend”. They were divided into 2 groups each of which resided in a different part of the building. One group, the control group spent several days talking about the 1950s. The other group, the experimental group had to live as if in the year 1959 and talk about it in the present tense. What appeared on their TV screens were the old newscasts and movies. They read old newspapers and magazines of the period. After 3 days everyone was photographed and the photographs judged by independent judges who knew nothing of the nature of the experiment. The experimental group seemed to have gotten younger in appearance. Langor then arranged for them to be tested for 100 physiological parameters of aging which included of course blood pressure, near point vision and DHEA levels. After 10 days of living as if in 1959 all parameters had reversed by the equivalent of at least 20 years.

Chopra concludes from Langor’s experiment: “We are the metabolic end product of our sensory experiences. How we interpret them depends on the collective mindset which influences individual biological entropy and aging.”

Can one escape the current collective mindset and reap the benefits in longevity and health? Langor says, society won’t let you escape. There are too many reminders of how most people think linear time is and how it expresses itself in entropy and aging – men are naughty at 40 and on social welfare at 55, women reach menopause at 40 etc. We get to see so many other people aging and dying that it sets the pattern that we follow.

Chopra concludes we are the metabolic product of our sensory experience and our interpretation gets structured in our biology itself. Real change comes from change in the collective consciousness – otherwise it cannot occur within the individual.

Readings

Chopra, D. The New Physics of Healing. 735 Walnut Street, Boulder, Colorado 83002,

Phone. +303 449 6229.

Coleman, J. C. Abnormal psychology and modern life. Scott Foresman & Co.

Lugo, J. and Hershey, L. Human development a multidisciplinary approach to the psychology of individual growth, NY, Macmillan.

Dennis. Psychology of human behaviour for nurses. Lond. W. B.Saunders.

[http://www.psychologynatural.com/DepressionBroch.html]

Dr. Victor Barnes is an Adelaide psychologist and hypnotherapist. He has also had three decades of experience in adult education including serving as Dean of a Sri Lankan college (ICBT) teaching several Australian degrees. His overseas experience includes studies and consulting experience in USA, PNG, Poland and Sri Lanka.

Massage For Senior Citizens – Benefits and Precautions by Eva Gnech

August 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles 

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Probably the most important benefit of massage is the pleasure of human touch, and the companionship provided during massage therapy sessions. This provides a relaxation which alone may relieve some of the loneliness, depression and fears that many seniors suffer from. A recent study found that all senior citizens who were receiving regular massages showed a dramatic improvement in their moods and their attitudes toward life in general. Nearly 50% of the same group tested also showed additional health benefits;a reduction in their rates of breathing, an increase in their range of motion, an improvement of their postures, development of more body awareness, their skin took on healthier colors and their muscle tones were enhanced.

In addition to these general life improvements, some health conditions that may respond positively to regular massage include:

– inflammations in the joints;

– arthritis;

– skin discoloration and other dermatological conditions;

– deteriorating muscles and bones;

– reduced appetite and therefore weight loss;

– poor blood circulation;

– sleep disorders;

– weakened mental capacity,

– tendonitis;

– bursitis;

– asthma;

– emphysema;

– high blood pressures;

– diminished functions of the internal vital organs such as the heart, the liver, the brain, the thyroid, the stomach and the intestines.

Before you make your appointment, make sure you take care of safety first:

– Find a massage therapist that is properly trained;

– Limit your appointments to 30-45 minutes at a time;the elderly appear to respond better to shorter, more frequent sessions.

– Be careful when positioning yourself on the massage table: ask for help or request a chair massage.

– Tell your massage therapist if it is your first massage: request a gentle relaxation massage. Your bones may be thinner and your joints stiffer than other patients; ease into it. Over time you may request a deeper tissue massage if it feels comfortable for you.

– Tell your massage therapist if you are not comfortable being touched in some areas: Many elderly prefer head, hands and feet massages. Even massaging these body parts alone will greatly benefit you.

– Request use of lotions or oils, or bring in your own favorite lotions: senior citizens’ skin tends to be thinner and less pliable, and using oils will help avoid cracking or damaging of your skin. Lotions will also soften and moisturize your skin, making it healthier and more pliable.

Relax and enjoy your massage! With the above precautions massages are perfectly safe regardless of your age. Most importantly, massages help you relax and improve your outlook on life. That alone may alleviate other aches and pains and make this worth your while.

So contact a qualified massage therapist today, and make the appointment that will help you relax and enjoy some TLC, you deserve it!

For a more detailed description of the benefits and precautions of Seniors Massage, see http://massagetherapystartup.com/massage_therapy_for_senior_citizens.html.

For more information regarding massage therapy, setting up your own massage therapy business, or how to make a lucrative living in the massage industry, see http://massagetherapystartup.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Eva_Gnech

WestCare Foundation Announces Expanded Veterans Programs

July 8, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles 

 

WestCare Foundation Announces Expanded Veterans Programs

(Las Vegas) – WestCare, a community-based nonprofit providing responsive human services and behavioral health care programs for four decades, announced today that it has expanded its Veterans’ services.

WestCare, founded in Las Vegas 40 years ago, serves approximately 5,000 veterans throughout the United States annually.  America’s returning warriors often face health challenges including substance abuse and mental health disorders, identified as this generation’s “invisible wounds of war.”   Among them are post traumatic stress, brain injury, sexual trauma, anxiety and depression.  Episodes of homelessness, unemployment, and criminal justice involvement are not uncommon among our Veterans.

“These challenges present opportunities for community organizations, led by specially trained, qualified and informed staff, to assist with issues such as social isolation, domestic violence, reintegration and transition, and other problems a Veteran, as well as Veteran family members, may be experiencing,” said veteran and Director of Veteran Services, Dan Bernal. “WestCare is committed to helping Veterans and military family members live positive, productive and healthy lives.”

WestCare’s expanded programs are aimed at addressing a broad range of issues for Veterans and their families through services that  include: treatment for substance abuse and mental health disorders with gender or youth-specific services as appropriate, HIV/AIDS-specific programs, assistance to homelessness  including transitional shelters and permanent housing projects, family counseling, community reintegration, assistance to those who are justice involved, educational and vocational programs for both youth and adults, and case management.

From the top down, starting with WestCare’s President and Vietnam Veteran, Richard Steinberg, more than 10 percent of WestCare’s leadership and staff are Veterans and members of military families. The organization has a deep understanding of military culture at every level and in every program.  “Serving those who have served” is more than a slogan at WestCare.

Since the organization’s inception, Veterans have been welcomed into WestCare programs.  Today, the expanding reach of Veteran-specific programs is aimed at extending services to the men and women who deserve respect for their service, understanding of where they have been and opportunities for their future.

WestCare

WestCare, whose mission “uplifting of the human spirit,” was founded 40 years ago in Las Vegas.  Since its inception, it has grown to more than 100 locations in 16 U.S. States, the US Virgin Islands and the Pacific Islands headquartered in Guam.  The non-profit organization has a variety of programs available in each of the communities it serves.   For more information on the WestCare Foundation and its mission, visit www.WestCare.com.

The Senior in Senior Citizens Doesn’t Automatically Mean Senile by Jeanne Gibson

April 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles 

I am well aware that teenagers often think that people over thirty don’t know  anything. They are partially right—many of us don’t know much about  things that interest teenagers, and don’t really want to. But that’s not what I  meant by the title of this article.

When a group is formed at church or in some other organization, a Senior  Citizen is seldom asked to lead it. It is just assumed that they aren’t capable  of thinking clearly enough for such an important job.

If a senior citizen applies for a regular 9-5 job, he or she is not likely to  get it if there are other equally qualified applicants, or often some not as  qualified applicants.

Should a Senior Citizen choose to run for President, a major talking point  against him is his age. He is referred to as dottering, senile, not all there,  and/or suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. (Although, I don’t see how they could  prove that last point since even doctors admit that they have to examine a brain  after the patient has died to be sure of that diagnosis.)

Today, I was called “Hon,” at least 3 times by a clerk that waited on me in a  local store. Do you think she would have called a woman in her 30’s or 40’s  “Hon?” I don’t think so. Do we older people look like little children or  something?

Sometimes, when a older person loses a spouse or someone close to them, they  experience a temporary period of time during which they may appear to be  withdrawn and confused, but this is not limited to seniors. It is often used,  however, to take advantage of seniors.

Recently, an elderly relative of mine lost her husband, who left a legally  witnessed will, leaving everything to her, but, within a few weeks relatives  began to descend on her, claiming that “Dad,” or “Uncle,” or “Grandpa,” had  promised him or her a particular item.

His wife, still grieving, and a bit bewildered by it all, rather than risk  dishonoring a promise her husband may have made, handed over the items without  question. It was months later that she realized she had been the victim of  greed.

Even senior citizens are sometimes guilty of assuming another person is  senile just because of their age.

I overheard two older single men in a group I belonged to discussing a  lovely, but very quiet widow lady in our group. One suggested that the other  invite the lady in question to a movie, but the reply was, “No way. I think  she’s senile because she doesn’t say much. Besides, she’s too old for my taste.”  Neither man was under 70 and both were overweight and almost bald. They assumed  that this woman was senile without even knowing her. The truth is that she was  younger than either of them and her shyness kept her from talking much until she  got to know a person well.

Senior citizens are not all senile, as some people seem to think. True, many  are not quite as strong in body as they were a few years ago, but most still  have as much if not more wisdom than many younger people today. If you are  guilty of leaping to conclusions due to a person’s age, take another look. You  may be missing out on one of the very best relationships of your life.

Jeanne Gibson writes from her home in Springfield, Oregon on a variety of  subjects such as marriage, divorce, kids, cats, electric bikes, working from  home and senior citizen issues. To learn more about keeping your brain alert,  check out her blogpost at: http://sowingseedsthatmatter.blogspot.com/2010/07/perk-up-old-brain-cells.html

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jeanne_Gibson

 

  • Senior Industry Network Group Events

    Monthly SING Meetings are held the first Thursday of every month at our NEW location below:

    Desert Canyon - HealthSouth
    9175 W. Oquendo Rd.
    Las Vegas, NV 89148

    S.I.N.G. Agenda:
    - Coffee and bagels will be served
    - A time to show gratitude by thanking those who have sent you referrals
    - Announcements around the room
    - One minute commercials
    - Open Discussion on topics of Self Empowerment

    * When? The 1st Thursday of every month. Networking starts at: 8:00am | Meeting starts at: 8:30am

    * How Much? It’s free!