Active Aging and its effects on Europeans
Analyzing the components of active aging and its effects in Europeans will give a thorough explanation and understanding of what makes their quality of life higher than most populations. Definition of active aging According to the World Health Organization, Active Aging is the “process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation, and security in order to enhance the quality of life as people age” (Kuyken, 1995). The Organization came up with this definition to more thoroughly express the process of achieving the vision of aging as being a positive experience instead of the society’s negative portrayal. Physical health relation with AA Physical health can be defined as the absence of disease. Therefore, it is possible to prolong the delays of functional declines through physical activity.
Essentially, if an older adult aged between 55-60 years can quit smoking, then it can increase his life expectancy by four more years (Walker, 2007). Seniors are also expected to get sufficient sleep since sleep deprivation has been associated with enhanced cardiovascular diseases. moreover, lack of sleep can affect the functioning of the immune system, while at the same time increasing the levels of blood inflammation. Physical inactivity is also a factor of fatigue, an indication that good sleep enhances AA. Apparently, when an individual age, he is more likely to sleep less than when he was younger. For older adults, loss of weight should not be received with excitement. Therefore, any unintentional weight loss should often be reported to health professionals.
Fundamentally, physical activity can help to avoid social care in old age. Being active before attaining the age of 70 years has greater advantages, such as encouraging independence, and avoiding the costly burden to the society. With many families choosing to take their old people to homes run by professionals, physical exercises can guarantee an individual the appropriate liberty to live at his own home without the need to appear burdensome to relatives. Besides, it is appropriate to take classes offered by local colleges. In EU member states, one finds policy measures encouraging old people to take volunteer activities within the community in order to keep their cognition active. Keeping the mind active is, in fact, more important to the female gender than the male, due to the former’s longer life expectancies.
Besides, more women than men are likely to have their cognitive functioning decreasing as they age. Apparently, aging makes many women to take up caretaking jobs, and this can limit their abilities to devote much of their time in ensuring that their brains develop in a healthy manner. Besides, the existing strategies are geared towards the prevention and the management of age-related chronic diseases such as substance abuse disorders and neurological challenges. Policy initiatives include palliative and long-term care as well as the development of age-friendly settings and services that can reduce the perception among the elderly that they are burdensome to the society. The European societies acknowledge that the mental state of the elderly can often be caused by the lack of freedom, adequate housing, and social programs.
Hence, most of the policy initiatives have focused on the vulnerable groups that live in rural areas, who often suffer loneliness. Due to loneliness, the elderly may suffer a relapse of the mental state. The ability to relate well with family and friends can guarantee appropriate aging. According to research, older adults who isolate themselves are at a greater risk of suffering pre-mature death, becoming disabled and even suffering from a variety of sickness (Edwards, 2011). Apparently, many of the elderly live an isolated life after having lost a spouse through death. Therefore, many of them may not have anybody to assist them with shopping or with going for a medical appointment. Even then, having a web of close relatives can help to respond to such needs.
Such a perception devalues them. Rather, the model focuses more on ensuring that old people can actively participate in the society. The EU member states spend a huge amount of their budget on social protection. In fact, there is an indication that a quarter of the budgets are spent on social protection (Menec, 2003). The spending is quite excellent, considering that many of the baby boomers are likely to retire any time from now. Hence, even when many of the European countries allow them to retire at 66 years, most of them opt to leave active work at the age of 56 years. Fundamentally, active aging in Europe has been perceived positively when considered form the social wellbeing perspective. Old citizens appear to be satisfied with their social relationships.
Respondents in Finland and Sweden tend to be more satisfied in their social relationships when compared to those from other EU jurisdictions. In one typical survey, respondents were asked the role played by older people in different facets of the social life. Quality of Life and active aging Quality of life for the elderly entails the ability of the senior members of the society to enjoy good life which they can be proud of. Active aging is a factor of participation in leisure activities and the kind of facilities that have been set in place to ensure good living among the senior members of the society. The fact that Europe has focused on the training of health providers in order to specifically take care of the elderly is an indication of how the age group is prioritized.
Considering that many of the seniors who participated in the economic progress of the post-world war II period are now attaining the retirement age, the need to acknowledge their role is based on the kind of quality life that they will enjoy. However, there exists a disjoint in the manner in which quality of life among the elderly is perceived. Fundamentally, life satisfaction among the old population can be quantified from the perspective of the building of an age-friendly environment, addressing its financial burden, ensuring medical care and retirement protection (Walker, 2007). Besides, it can be a factor of ensuring their independence in terms of making sure that they are well educated. Furthermore, policy measures would entail the aspect of providing them with opportunities that can make them to effectively participate in community initiatives.
Others include the ability to access outdoor facilities. According to WHO, the overall life satisfaction of the old can be enhanced if a supportive environment exists, which can enable them to optimize their health and their wellbeing without the need for them to move. Therefore, the ‘young old’ exhibited more life satisfaction tendencies as envisaged in their healthier outlook, better education and having greater political and social participation. Apparently, it was quite easy to find such age group involving more in volunteer work. On the contrary, the ‘old-old ‘were less likely to enjoy the aspect of life satisfaction due to mental and physical health issues. Besides, higher levels of depression could be envisaged. Such differences were also likely to be found in in the manner in which both groups perceived life satisfaction.
Hence, there is a possibility that the quality of life for the senior citizens will be compromised due to the quantity that is about to retire. Already, many of the jurisdiction are spending a lot of resources to provide for them. With projections that old citizens’ welfare program will double, the countries’ budgets are already constrained. Moreover, there are indications that the public would oppose any plans to increase funds. Hence, there remains only one option to guarantee active aging for most of the citizens; maintaining a robust life. Unlike the practice in other continents, Europeans value their senior citizens to the extent that they are ready to avail flexible retirement programs for them. Those who derive life satisfaction in the work environment can be allowed to retire at 66 years, with others being permitted to gain part-time employment and even involve in community work.
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