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Lecture

Health Sciences 1001A/B Lecture Notes - Human Resources Development Canada, Veterans Affairs Canada, Health Professional


Department
Health Sciences
Course Code
HS 1001A/B
Professor
Shauna Burke

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AGING: A VITAL PROCESS
Required reading: Chapter 19 pp. 580-590
Kassy Birtch
Honors Spec. B.Sc.
M.Sc. Student in Health and
Rehabilitative Science
The University of Western Ontario
Canada’s Seniors
Proportion of Canadian seniors (65+)
o 1/20 in 1921 1/8 in 2001 (life span is changing because of life style and health care)
By 2026, 1/5 Canadians will have reached age 65
Population aging is a complex issue:
o Well-being of older Canadians
o broader areas affecting the total population (e.g., health, labour markets, public
finances)
Causes of an Aging Population
1. Change in fertility rates since 1945
o 1940s - 1960s: Each woman had roughly 3+ children
o Mid 1970s to present: Decrease in birth rate results in roughly 1.5 children per woman
o Baby boomer population is funneling out, on the graph they have the highest population
Causes of an Aging Population
2. Increase in Life Expectancy
o Life expectancy: average length of time a person is expected to live
As life expectancy increases a higher proportion of population will be in later years
o 30% of people born in 1900 would live to age 70
o 77% of people born in 2004 “the number is known, but there is going to be a relative
incease compared to those born in 1900
Causes of an Aging Population
In 1997 life expectancy at birth was 75.8 yrs for men & 81.4 yrs for women

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Life Expectancy
Factors that affect life expectancy
Social Factors
o i.e. Support systems increases life expectancy as you have people to help you through
your problems and issues, religious adherence
Biological Factors
o i.e. hormones
Lifestyle factors
o i.e. dietary habits and physical fitness
Why do women live longer?
WOMEN
o Protective effects of estrogen
o Lower rates of stress-related illness
o Cope by seeking social support
MEN
o Higher rates of risky behaviours
o More likely to die from crashes, unintentional injuries, suicide- have a higher rate of suicide
than women, AIDS, and early myocardial infarction
Aging and Life Expectancy
Life Span :
o Theoretically projected length of time left based on maximal potential of human body in
best environment (theoretical number, influenced by your lifestyle choices)
Longevity influenced little by genetics
Senior Women and Senior Men
Women form the majority of the Canadian senior population (56% in 2001)
o 60% seniors aged 75-84
o 70% of seniors aged 85+
Nearly 1/3 seniors are widowed
o In 1996; 75% of seniors were married compared to 41% of women (higher population of
women that are widowed than in the younger populations)
Aging and Life Expectancy
Although women are living longer, their extra years may not be healthy ones (their quality of life
is not necessarily better if they are living longer)
o Chronic conditions (arthritis, osteoporosis)
o Widowed
o High probability of living alone (because they are widowed)
o Less likely to be covered by a pension (women before used to have lower paying jobs
therefore their pension money was low)
Aging and the Health Care system
Implications:

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o 96% of seniors living at home saw at least one health professional within a year (have a
large proportion that are trained health care professionals that commute to individuals
in their home that are older to take care of them)
o 84% of seniors reported taking some medication in a 2-day period (are the individuals
covered for these medications and the health care professionals have to make sure that
they are getting their medications)
o 56% reporting taking two or more medications (health care professionals have to make
sure they are not mixing medications, they are taking all the required ones and they are
taking them on time)
Aging and the Health Care System
The challenges of an aging Canadian society will require ongoing efforts to:
o Improving health, independence in later life
o Facilitate participation
o Strengthen supportive environments
o Sustain government programs for Canadians of all ages
Canada’s Federal Government and Aging
Federal involvement in aging policies and programs includes:
o Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (looks for housing possibilities for elders and are
near health care facilities)
o Health Canada (health promotion programs)
o Human Resources Development Canada (public retire income programs pensions and
benefits)
o Status of Women Canada (issues in senior women’s health and provide information for
them)
o Veterans Affairs Canada (health care programs for individuals with disabilities and
provide income support for elders who need them and their families)
What Happens as You Age?
Many of the characteristics associated with aging are actually a result of neglect and abuse to
our bodies and minds
This is the foundation for later:
o Psychological problems
o Chronic conditions
As we Age:
Aging is a natural process, so despite optimal behaviours and environment aging will occur
o This results from a series of biochemical processes not yet fully understood by scientists
o Studies of healthy individuals indicate constant biological functioning until age 70
Theories on Aging
No one theory accommodates all facts
Aging likely caused by variety of processes and factors (environmental and biological)
o Cellular theories
o Immune theories
o Metabolic theories
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