Part 2 – Ageing

Facts About Ageing

  • Ageing and dying are natural stages of life. People should strive to remain physically, emotionally, mentally and spirituality active at all stages of life regardless of chronological age.

  • The average age of the population is increasing.

  • The maximum human life span is approximately 115 years; the average life span is about 85 years. In many countries, people born now can expect to live the average human life span or more.

  • Ageing is partly determined by genes and partly by environmental factors that cause cellular changes with age. Undernutrition decreases ageing in laboratory animals and may slow down ageing processes in people.

  • Even in poor countries, most older people die of noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, rather than from infectious and parasitic diseases. In addition, older people often have several health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease, at the same time.
  • Loss of cognitive mental functions in older people is called senile dementia; the most common cause of this is Alzheimer’s disease. Bone loss with age is called osteoporosis, which occurs most frequently in postmenopausal women.

  • When communities are displaced by natural disasters or armed conflict, older people may be unable to flee or travel long distances and may be left behind. Yet, in many situations, they can also be a valuable resource for their communities as well as for the humanitarian aid process when they are involved as community leaders.

  • At birth, we are generally born with 350 bones in our skeleton, as we grow and age, bones fuse together resulting in us only having 206 bones as adults.

  • In 2050, 80% of older people will be living in low- and middle-income countries.

  • By 60 years of age, we start to have difficulty breathing and 60-per cent of men and 40-per cent of women will begin to snore when sleeping. Snores average around 60 decibels, the noise level of normal speech but often reach more than 80 decibels.