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Senior Citizen Life Stage Essay

2900 words - 12 pages

"Depends, Ensure, Genital, False teeth and hearing aids. Bed pans, catheters and railings surrounding my bed. I can't wait to get old.Walking with a shuffle. My back not wanting to be straight. Joints talking to each other. I can't wait to get old.Have to stop doing this. Stop smoking that. Start eating things that make me "pooh." I can't wait to get old.Chop, blend, beat, and add water, then slurp it down. Walk in circles at the mall. I can't wait to get old.I can't work even if I want to. I don't do un-old things. I don't try new things. I watch TV.I can't wait to get old.Live in home with other old farts. Play shuffleboard and Scrabble. "If I could only remember that seven-letter word!" Now I'm old." (Unknown author)The above poem is a satirical look at getting older, and the inevitable changes that come with aging. Time is not on our side; we are all going to get older. Everyone ages; although genetics and lifestyle will determine how well we age, we all have the same "symptoms." In this essay we will be discussing what is happening to the body in our older, senior years, what contributes to "aging", and are there any things we can do to prevent and or lessen some of the things, such as disease, sickness and injuries associated with aging.The Life Cycle PhaseThere are many theories as to why the body ages. Some noted by The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Second Edition are:Programmed senescence, or aging clock, theory. The aging of the cells of each individual is programmed into the genes, and there is a preset number of possible rejuvenations in the life of a given cell. When cells die at a rate faster than they are replaced, organs do not function properly, and they are soon unable to maintain the functions necessary for life.Genetic theory. Human cells maintain their own seed of destruction at the level of the chromosomes.Connective tissue, or cross-linking theory. Changes in the make-up of the connective tissue alter the stability of body structures, causing a loss of elasticity and functioning, and leading to symptoms of aging.Free-radical theory. The most commonly held theory of aging, it is based on the fact that ongoing chemical reactions of the cells produce free radicals. In the presence of oxygen, these free radicals cause the cells of the body to break down. As time goes on, more cells die or lose the ability to function, and the body soon ceases to function as a whole.Immunological theory. There are changes in the immune system as it begins to wear out, and the body is more prone to infections and tissue damage, which may finally cause death. Also, as the system breaks down, the body is more apt to have autoimmune reactions, in which the body's own cells are mistaken for foreign material and are destroyed or damaged by the immune system.85% of seniors have nutrition-related problems due to the effects of the digestive system from aging. Such things as, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis are the...

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