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

Putting off retirement may benefit your brain, health, and longevity

A later retirement may not only benefit your bank account but can pay dividends when it comes to your health. Research increasingly shows that a later retirement may actually improve your brain health and could extend your life. But it’s important to mention that not all research shows this benefit and some jobs, including those that are stressful or too physically demanding, may actually have the reverse effect. More »

Ways to stay sharp behind the wheel

Many aspects of aging affect the ability to drive, such as poor vision, hearing impairment, loss of muscle mass, and changes in thinking skills. Addressing underlying health conditions and getting an evaluation from a driver assessment program can help older adults improve weaknesses in driving. Other tips to stay safer behind the wheel include cutting down on driving distractions, such as cellphones, loud music, or chatter; limiting exposure to busy traffic, and avoiding driving in bad weather. (Locked) More »

Keep on driving

An older man’s health tends to go downhill after he loses the ability to drive. Driving keeps men more independent and increases their ability to socialize, visit the doctor, or go exercise. The best ways to ensure men stay behind the wheel is to sharpen certain physical and cognitive skills, as well as reviewing other aspects that affect driving ability, such as medication side effects and car accessories. (Locked) More »

Practical advice for helping people with dementia with their daily routines

Caring for someone with Alzheimer's is one of the toughest jobs 
in the world. "It is stressful, physically and emotionally draining, and very expensive, as almost 15 million unpaid caregivers for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias can attest," says Dr. Scott McGinnis, medical editor of the Harvard Special Health Report A Guide to Coping with Alzheimer's Disease. Learning how to take care of a person with dementia can be a trial-and-error process. Every person with dementia and every caregiver is unique, and so is their relationship. However, the following general tips may be useful in helping people with dementia remain physically healthy and connected to the world. More »

Can drinking tea prevent dementia?

A new study suggests being a regular drinker of tea may protect against dementia, especially for people who are genetically predisposed to the disease. Researchers point to tea components like flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential, and L-theanine, which regulates neurotransmitter and brain activities. More »

Getting a start on growing stronger

Strength and power training can slow muscle loss and can also help prevent or control arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis and improve cognitive function. The exercises described can be performed at home with minimal equipment. More »

Should you consider a low-cost hearing-aid alternative?

The FDA no longer enforces the requirement for getting a hearing test before purchasing a hearing aid. However, while nonprescription FDA-cleared hearing aids aren’t available yet, a variety of personal sound amplification products are, and they may be good alternatives for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. (Locked) More »