Aging

Children born today in the United States can expect to live nearly 78 years. That life expectancy is a great leap forward from 1900, when the average newborn couldn’t expect to reach age 50. Similar increases have been seen in in developed nations all around the world. In the 20th century, life expectancy increased more than it had in any century since the beginning of human civilization.

Life expectancy at various ages in teh United States

And the longer you live, the longer you can expect to live. Average life expectancy for a newborn American is 78 years, while it is 84 years for a 65-year-old and 87 years for a 75-year old.

But extending the lifespan has also increased the burden of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, macular degeneration, and other conditions that tend to affect older individuals. Most of these diseases, though, aren't inevitable consequences of aging. Instead, many are preventable.

Solid research from long-term studies such as the Framingham Heart Study, the Nurses' Health Study, and others have shown that the combination of not smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and keeping blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar in check can prevent three-quarters or more of these chronic conditions.

Aging Articles

Staying healthy when you’re raising young grandchildren

Caring full-time for a grandchild can have lots of health risks for older adults, such as muscle tears from lifting children or fractures from brittle bones that can’t support the increasing weight of a child. Such risks are in addition to those of being anyone’s caregiver, such as not eating right or exercising enough. Grandparent caregivers can help protect health by setting a rigid sleep schedule for everyone in the house, exercising with grandchildren as they ride bikes or run around, and serving healthy adult foods. (Locked) More »

Testing for dementia

There is no cure for dementia, and people cannot substantially reverse its effects, but there are ways to possibly slow its progression. But first, people need to know if they may have a memory disorder. Testing to confirm Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia is a multilayered process that includes several types of neuropsychological evaluations and biomarker testing. (Locked) More »

A thousand rideshare options for older adults

The United States has about a thousand rideshare services that cater to older adults, according to a CDC-funded study released Dec. 5, 2019, by NORC, a nonprofit research organization based at the University of Chicago. More »

Easing into exercise

Even if you’ve never done formal exercise, some regular moderate exercise — ideally for at least 30 minutes most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure and many other risk factors linked to heart disease. More »

Focus on concentration

Everyone’s attention tends to wander with age. Certain lifestyle strategies, such as working in blocks of time and practicing stimulating activities, can help people sharpen their focus and improve the brain’s executive function skills, such as planning, making decisions, and paying attention. More »

Tips to minimize the risks of anesthesia

Getting anesthesia as an older person has some risk, but less so than the risk from underlying health conditions, the surgical procedure itself, and the care that’s received after surgery. To cope with risks, one can ask a doctor if a delirium risk evaluation would be helpful before surgery; ask if delirium prevention approaches can be put into place after surgery; have family member or friend monitor recovery and watch for mental changes (and report them); and ask if the risks of anesthesia may outweigh the benefits of a procedure. (Locked) More »