Aging is a natural life process that starts from the moment we take birth and lasts until we die. Aging decreases the body’s viability and makes it more vulnerable to morbidity and disease. It also leads to the degeneration of cells, tissues, and organs. However, apart from physical changes, there are other characteristics of aging, too. Let’s analyze those aspects of geriatric life and discuss what to expect at 70 years old.
The ability to deal with stress and the capacity to function independently decreases gradually with age. By the time you touch 70, the ill-effects of aging start setting in, and . it entails considerable risk to body systems that degenerate progressively.
What To Expect At 70 Years Old?
Common aspects of life at 70 are:
After 70, geriatric people experience significant fragility. The fragility manifests itself with an increase in weakness, slow mobility, stress incontinence, frequent burnouts, and other multifactorial changes in body parameters.
Women are more susceptible to becoming fragile with advancing age. However, socioeconomic status also has a role to play in this regard.
Therefore, after the age of 70, people need assistance in almost all the work they do. Walking with canes and walkers, seeking help for household chores, and requiring someone to monitor their medication are some of the dependencies that the elderly develop.
2. Mental Health
Geriatric depression is common after the age of 70. Reduced economic activity due to retirement, lack of support from a partner, witnessing the deaths of close relatives or friends, and the overall sense of dependency on others, all act as triggers for depression.
Low self-worth, loss of concentration, disturbance in sleep pattern, and a declining level of interest is seen in depression patients age 70 or more.
By the age of 70 or above, people start taking multiple medicines to cure underlying pathologies. This is known as Polypharmacy.
All drugs have their side effects. Polypharmacy is, therefore, a cause of degenerative changes in the body. Besides, taking multiple medicines together is an uphill task at this age, considering the decline in a person’s mental abilities. Keeping track of medication and regimen is also an added difficulty.
4. Emotional Aspects
With increasing age, your social and emotional life changes drastically. Your network and social circle start narrowing. Negative emotions start dominating over you, as a coping mechanism to the mental stress you’re dealing with. Past experiences, in terms of social interactions and emotional well-being, become less accessible to the person. Thus, they do not elicit or provide happiness any longer. Since positive emotions and social interactions are less, the progression of cognitive disability becomes rapid.
Addressing the lack of social networking is also a domain of geriatric medicine. That’s why social support and caregiving are crucial for handling a geriatric patient.
Positive Aspects Of Life At 70
Let’s not forget that everything about aging isn’t dreadful. One must always try to focus on the brighter side of things as well. Here are some positive changes that you might experience at 70:
You will most probably be proud grandparents at 70. You get to enjoy and play with your grandkids, without worrying about changing their diapers, feeding them, visiting doctors, etc. Spending time with your grandchildren helps in filling the void of social disengagement. You get to express your feelings and reminisce about your past with the little ones. Moreover, it is a pleasant experience for the grandchildren as well, to spend time with their grandparents.
2. Social Respect
Most people are respectful towards elders and treat them in the way they treat their parents. Social respect influences the mental health of all individuals. At an age where a lack of social support increases the risk of cognitive disability, getting respect is a boon for the mind. When you get respect, you instinctively wish to engage with people, which further resolves most of your social issues.
3. More Time For Fun
The elderly require 1.5 times lesser sleep than other individuals. It means that you have more time to spend doing what you love and having fun. Although, in most cases, the elderly population experiences disturbances in their sleep cycles. It is a result of the reduced hours of sleep that they get in comparison to younger people. However, having more time on your hands to do what you love is a positive way to approach this otherwise daunting situation.
Myths About Old Age
While we are discussing the possible scenarios of life at the age of 70, there are some myths about aging, too. They are intimidating, yet false and thus, need to be busted.
A myth about aging that you will hear frequently is that senility is a part of it. Senility is not a part of normal aging. It needs medical attention to treat senility. Thus, it should not be ignored.
Not all older people live without friends and spend a lonely life. It may be a reality for some people, but it is not always true. Social experiments suggest that those who have a lot of close friends in their youth continue to have them in old age. Similarly, people with narrow social circles have lesser friends even in old age.
Although many people don’t believe this, not all elderly end up in nursing homes. Only 5% of the geriatric population stays in nursing homes. Most families are capable of taking care of their elders and prefer to live with them.
The assumption that all elderly live in poverty is false. Most people make plans for their retirement lives. These plans are sufficient for managing their finances even when they don’t have a regular income.
Believe it or not, most of us look up to aging with dread. We fear poor health, lack of money, emotional instability, and death. While all these are a part of the reality of aging, they are not the only things you should expect in your old age. In this article, we looked at the positive and negative aspects of aging to help you know what to expect at 70 years old.
Aging is inevitable. It is something you must accept. If you are reading this article as a youngster, start working on the aspects of your life that could serve as negative triggers in old age.
Life is beautiful and will always be. It’s how you choose to live it that matters. Stay away from stereotypes and prejudices about old age and enjoy life, come what may.