Chapter 1 Textbook Notes

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Health Studies
Ingrid L.Stefanovic

HEALTH AND AGING TEXTBOOK NOTES Chapter 1: Introduction and Basic Concepts in Aging How we age and the rate at which we age are balanced between the resources to which we have access and our exposure to various toxins, both of which are, in part, reflections of the choices we make. Psychosocial gerontologists have focused more on describing what happens cognitively, emotionally, and socially as we age, with a view toward identifying factors that promote positive aging or increase the risk of negative aging. Free radicals can accelerate deterioration, but antioxidants may decelerate it. The last decade or so has seen a heightened interest in optimal aging. The cholesterol-lowering agents and Viagra are among the most commonly prescribed medications in this country. Gerontology is unique among the scientific disciplines in that, since its inception, it has recognized interdisplinary endeavors are required for understanding the aging process. Biogerontology has greatly increased our understanding of the genetic and cellular mechanisms of aging, but the disciplines of psychology, sociology, and anthropology are also essential for understanding both the processes and ramifications of aging. Clinicians are not more successful at treating the chronic illnesses of late life, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, leading to rapid demographic increases in the over-85 population. How we live and the resources we can use profoundly affect the way we age as much, if not more, than out genetic endowment. Basic Definitions When does late life begin? There are often inconsistencies, but the consensus is emerging that late life is not at ,OOK424J0304:8,39K,9430300894L89L3J:L8K-09Z0034:3J-4O,34O-4O,:O98 Different cutoff points have been used, but it is most common to define young-old persons as those between ages 65 and 79, old-old individuals as those between 80 and 99, and the oldest-old, or centenarians, as those who are age 100 or older. Another important distinction is that between age, cohort, and period. Age refers to the number of years a person has been alive, whereas cohort refers to a group of people who share the same birth year or sometimes those who shared historical
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