Chapter 12 Textbook Notes

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Health Studies
Ingrid L.Stefanovic

HEALTH AND AGING TEXTBOOK NOTES Chapter 12: What is Optimal Aging? Optimal aging is more than just good health; it must include notions of adult development as well. We focus on factors that accelerate the aging process and as well as those that decelerate it. Models of Optimal Aging The term optimal aging allows for the recognition that there may be different ways of aging well. Models of optimal aging are also teleological, in that they specify a desirable outcome of telos (goal). By definition, a telos reflects the assumptions of the dominant paradigm, as well as cultural values. In some villages in ancient Japan, however, it was considered disgraceful to live too long. The problem was simple if old people consumed too many resources, the survival of future generations might be threatened. Thus, 20% of cultures in the world practiced some form of geronticide, either active or passive. #4Z0,3.,K3840O41$:..0881:OJL3J Rowe and Kahn (1998) identified three components of successful aging; avoidance of disease, maintenance of high cognitive and physical function, and an active engagement with life. The model is hierarchical: Good health is though to enable the other two. Absence of disease allows for the maintenance of good cognitive and physical function. In turn, good cognitive and physical function is necessary (but not sufficient) for active engagement with life. Rowe and Kahn defined active engagement as relationships with other people and productive behaviour. Avoiding Disease There are three critical elements in the prevention of chronic illness in late life, all of which are related to health behaviour habits; avoidance of toxins such as cigarette smoke, good nutrition and exercise. Once individuals have survived into later life, their own behaviours play a much greater role in future longevity. Exposure to toxins accelerates the aging process. Chronic methamphetamine users and those who abuse alcohol often look two or three decades older than they really are. Bad nutrition is simple. It is generally agrees that diets too high in fats, simple sugars, and protein, without fresh fruits and vegetables, and with too man
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