Living Longer: Is 80 And Beyond The New Norm?

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Life expectancy figures are rising across the globe, even in war-ravaged countries such as Afghanistan, states Take Part. More people are making it into their 80’s, and this is mainly due to advancements in medical science.

There has been a significant decrease in infant mortality. A baby born in 2015 has a much better chance of survival. Healthier babies live longer. Vaccination against killer diseases such as measles and whooping cough is one of the major reasons for that. Better nutrition and better sanitation are also responsible for the increase in life expectancy.

While people living into their 80’s is definitely a good thing, according to Psychology Today there is also some bad news.

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Image by Pedro Ribeiro Simões via Flickr

Along with the increase in life expectancy, there is also an increase in old age health problems and diseases. More people are being diagnosed with diseases associated with old age such as cancer, dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Providing health care to older people remains a challenge in most countries. Geriatric care remains a neglected part of medical training in the developed world and in many other countries geriatric training is hardly provided at all.

A better understanding of the needs of the elderly is also required. Older bodies are different; they have different conditions and they metabolize differently than younger people. Most of medical research is geared towards younger people. In most cases, people over the age of 75 are excluded from clinical trials. Some of this is well known, but even in the medical community there is a lack of awareness about the seriousness of falls or the high suicide rate among the elderly.

More research needs to be done.

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