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

Retiring? What about your health?

It’s important to consider future health needs when it’s time to select a community for living out the golden years. Look for destinations with access to medical services, nonprofit health services like meal delivery, transportation services, affordable housing options, recreation opportunities, volunteering opportunities, and private-duty services. For example, walkable city centers are getting more consideration as retirement destinations, as are college towns that offer robust learning opportunities or entertainment. One shouldn’t overlook staying in an existing house and community if it meets future needs. (Locked) More »

5-minute fixes for better health

Focusing on small ways to improve health may feel less daunting to some people than taking on big lifestyle changes. Ideas include doing five-minute bursts of a helpful activity. These include five minutes of exercising, meditating, removing fall hazards in the home, moisturizing the skin, watching an educational video about an unfamiliar subject, calling a friend, throwing out expired medications, removing a junk food item in the pantry, and tossing spoiled foods from the refrigerator. Another suggestion is to get five more minutes of sleep each night. (Locked) More »

Tips to remember

Occasional memory lapses are upsetting, but unfortunately are a natural part of aging. These changes can slow certain cognitive processes, which makes it more difficult at times to learn and recall new and existing information. These minor memory lapses are often not a sign of Alzheimer’s disease, and there are ways for older adults to sharpen their everyday memory to help retain just-learned information. More »

Setting up a home gym

Regular strength training can help older men slow muscle loss and even increase muscle mass into their 90s. One challenge they face is finding the time and place to exercise. Joining a gym or enlisting a personal trainer can help maintain regular workouts, but for those who cannot make it to the gym or afford a trainer or gym fees, setting up a home gym is a great alternative. (Locked) More »

Straight talk about your sex life

A recent survey found that even though many older adults enjoy an active sex life, few talk about their sexual health with their doctor or other health care provider. It’s important to have an open line of communication because in general, sexuality changes over time, and many older men encounter problems that can interfere with performance, such as erectile dysfunction or problems with arousal, energy, and stamina. (Locked) More »