15 June 2004

Making The Most Out of It

After reading the CA t's heart-warming blog about an old friend she encountered and befriended, I was inspired to post today something about aging and senior citizens.

Aging is a fact as definite as the sun rising and setting. No one can escape it. Everyone works hard to delay it and many business ventures have capitalized on it, gaining billions and billions of money in the process. Women have been observed to age faster then men, mainly due to the hormonal changes they experience starting with puberty, then through pregnancy, and culminating with menopause. During menopause, many women start to notice numerous skin changes, such as, wrinkles, drying of the skin due to decreased sebum (oil) production, loss of elasticity, and a reduction in the rejuvenation process. The onset and extent of skin aging depend on three factors: age, genetics, and lifestyle.

Extended sun exposure, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, obesity, and having too much stress physically and emotionally are the ingredients of a sure formula to hasten aging. Altering one or more of these factors helps in delaying the inevitable.

A good but often ignored anti-aging technique is drinking 5 to 6 glasses of water (standard glass = 250mL) daily. Since our bodies are made up of 50-70% water, we must always make sure that our hydration is always optimal. Water is constantly lost each day through perspiration, urine, and respiration. Water makes the skin healthy and helps us get rid of toxic substances.

Among the more recent tips to stay young include learning an extra language in order to "offset age-related declines in mental performance." The second recent finding reports that people "who ate three or more servings of fruit a day were 36% less likely to develop age-related maculopathy than people who ate less than 1.5 per day." Age-related maculopathy, or age-related macular degeneration, is the leading cause of blindness in people over 65. Blindness is caused by the deterioration of the macula, a part of the light sensitive layer in the eye called the retina. There is gradual cell breakdown, and the tissue is damaged by the growth of blood vessels under the retina. The third recent finding says that if you are the angry type, you should minimize alcohol intake, as the combination increases your chance to become more violent, and of course, contributes more to your aging process. And for men with receding hairlines, this report will surely make them happy. It seems advances in hair transplantation are making bald men more hopeful and optimistic.

Here in the Philippines, those who are 60 years old and above fall into the senior citizen classification. In the Inquirer's editorial today, the paper elaborated on the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003. The new law will help senior citizens avail for themselves employment opportunities, livelihood training programs and self-employment assistance.
"Those who would like to continue their studies can pursue post-secondary, post-tertiary as well as vocational or technical education in private and government learning institutions for free. They will also be exempt from training fees for socio-economic programs. They will get free medical and dental services, diagnostic tests and laboratory examinations in government facilities." [Philippine Daily Inquirer]
I think these perks for senior citizens are long overdue. The best we can do for them is thank them for everything they did for us. Soon, we will all be like them, and we wouldn't want the present generation forget about us, would we?

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