Ageing is a process by which we witness qualitative and quantitative changes in an organism over time. Sometimes, ageing is taken as a misconception that ageing means getting old, which is not valid.
Ageing means accumulative changes in an organism that takes place across an individual’s lifespan from conception to old age.
The moment an organism is conceived, it starts to age. There are universal principles of ageing which all the individuals have to go through.
When the baby is born, his skin is so delicate. He keeps on shedding dead skin and gains new skin each day. He also has to gain coping skill in the new environment. As the baby age, he gains weight and height and other physical characteristics also.
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In adolescence, there is a spurt in growth. There is tremendous growth in all the spheres such as physical, cognitive and social etc. The youth is the time for energy and enthusiasm. Mathematical and logical capabilities are an all-time high.
After adolescence comes, middle adulthood is a peak time for responsibilities, cognition and physical abilities are still on high. The adults are trying to cope and perform up to the level of expectations.
They have good cognitive capabilities. After middle adulthood, old age starts around 65 years of age.
This is the time of decline in abilities physically as well as cognitively. There are a lot of challenges and problems. They need love and support.
All this is part of the ageing process. This happens universally though there are individual differences in speed and degree.
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Men and Women Ageing Perspectives
There can be different perspectives on ageing for men and women. For males, ageing is more related to loss of physical and mental function. There are more cardiac health issues with men.
For women, the loss is more subjective. Women are mostly aggrieved due to the loss of youth and loss of attractiveness.
They remember their youth and frustration due to many processes bound upon them like childbirth, childrearing, managing house and family members.
They complain about losing their strength due to a lot of responsibilities. In old age also, they suffer more from isolation than physical decline.
Other issues related to ageing in middle adulthood are cohabitation and marriage. A married couple lives together.
They understand each other and each other’s needs. They take care of each other. Those who could not marry due to some reasons or whose spouse are no more in the world face real problem.
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They try out cohabitation with some friend or lover: There may again be some issues related to cultural and social conformity.
The adverse effects of ageing in middle adulthood and old age can be handled with proper diet, active, supportive social environment, and spiritual activities involvement. Warmth in a relationship and exercising routine can slower the effects of the ageing process.
Ageing Process in Men:
The ageing process in men is mostly related to physical and functional loss. There are certain stereotypes related to ageing which stigmatize the ageing men. Even though they feel capable enough, societal stereotypes make them helpless. Following ageing effects can be seen in men:
As men age, there is an accumulation of fat due to a sedentary lifestyle. Most men, due to being busy in their work-life, forget that they should keep them fit.
They gain weight around the tummy, which may be why most diseases spring up. Men should follow a strict regimen of exercise and a balanced diet to keep them fit. A diet high in fibre and low in fat and rich in nutrients is recommended.
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There is an increased risk for Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia in men due to ageing. There are other risk factors for lack of motivation, depression and mood swings.
Due to dementia, there is memory loss. Such changes in memory and recall can result in defeating behaviours, and depression can be a result.
Therefore, men should try to do some mental exercise through puzzles, etc.; Herbal extracts like ginkgo Biloba can also prove helpful as they help increase blood flow in the brain and extremities and protect nerve cells.
Men are most active sexually in their 30s. after the thirties, there is a decrease in the formation of sex-hormones in the body, resulting in decreased libido.
There is an increased risk for prostate enlargement in the 40s. Therefore, it is recommended that routine health checkups should be practiced.
Therefore, there are associated with physical and psychological traumas related to these disorders. There may be more appointments with doctors.
Due to ageing, there is increased risk of joint and bone diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis.
Though mostly osteoporosis.is found in women, but a large segment of men also suffer from this. Due to ageing, the connective tissues are not able to repair efficiently as earlier.
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Ageing Process in Women:
As ageing occurs in women, there are more psychological and emotional changes than physical changes. Women are mostly engrossed in their image management.
They love to look beautiful. When the first signs of ageing shows, they are shattered. They want to hide their grey hair. However, it does not happen with all the women. Few may handle ageing gracefully. Following ageing effects can be seen in women:
The hormonal changes in women cause many ageing problems. The women are bound to get menopause around middle adulthood. It results in loss of reproductive ability.
It also brings some physical as well as psychological problems in women. There is the decline in bone health. Most women may feel arthritis and osteoporosis.
They should take regular calcium supplements and lots of dairy products to handle bone issues.
There are evident skin changes; wrinkles all over the body due to ageing. There is a decrease in the immune system’s efficiency, which makes women more prone to diseases.
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Menopause brings many psychological changes in women. The feeling that they are no longer fertile makes them depressed initially. They feel so sad.
There are mood swings and hot flashes. They may feel lethargy. There is a subjective feeling of fatigue and helplessness. They develop a sense that their spouse may not like them as earlier due to their loss of attractiveness.
They doubt their self-concept, which may result in a lack of understanding of security. However, there are exceptions to this.
Some women limit their social engagement due to a decline in health. They may feel fatigued all the time. Some think that they should attend social gatherings because they do not look good anymore.
Simultaneously, some may feel that they have plenty of free time now and may engage them with other groups of women who are also free.
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They may enjoy life more than before when they have lots of responsibilities. Financial soundness is the factors which can affect the social life of women in old age.
Ageing is a natural and inevitable process. The women should be given a fair amount of love and affection and acceptance by their loved ones to accept the ageing changes and challenges better.