When English poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote, “Time and tide wait for no man,” he lived during the Middle Ages. Back then, life expectancy was 45 years old, thanks to disease, like the bubonic plague, and low infant mortality rates. With the vast, modern improvements in healthcare, hygiene, and diet, populations today can expect long, healthy life spans. But living longer has an impact elsewhere, including on the economy and division of labor and care. Check out the infographic below to see where older populations are increasing and how they’re affecting the economy.

Aging Populations

In 2012, the global population reached 7 billion, with 8% of those people aged 65 and over; by 2015, the older population rose by 55 million. This means that over 8% of the population is considered not part of the workforce, so fewer taxes are collected and there are fewer contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Aging populations also mean more dependency on basic and social services, such as healthcare, affordable food, and appropriate housing. With finite resources, many countries are feeling squeezed.

According to the graphic, the older population is projected to double to 1.6 billion globally from 2025 to 2050, however, the total population will grow by just 34% over the same period. This means that the balance between those who are able to contribute to a country’s economy and be in good enough health to not rely as heavily on social services will not grow at the same rate as the older generations, leaving an imbalance of resources available.

Adding to the disparity is the question of who will care for and attend to the aging populations. Many middle-age adults find themselves stuck between caring for their children while simultaneously caring for their parents or elderly relatives. Some countries have a worrying outlook for the number of people available to care for the aging population.

In 2015, Japan had the highest ratio of aging population, where 30% or more were 60 years or older. By 2050, the number of countries expected to meet that 30% ratio will balloon to include Canada, nearly all of Europe, much of Asia, and parts of South America. Countries, like Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, the UK, Poland, and Canada, with the least amount of younger generations, face a difficult task of figuring out how to maintain a balance between providing for new generations and taking care of older generations.

Chaucer’s original thought rings true for today’s countries: Time does not wait. As populations around the world continue to grow, so must the options and resources available to maintain healthy, prosperous economies and lifestyles. It is the legacy of each generation to figure out how to care for the previous and set up the next population for success.

person lifting weights

As we age, our bodies change in many ways. You may notice it becomes more difficult to complete routine tasks; perhaps you’ve experienced a loss of balance, or difficulty lifting heavy items. These may be signs of Sarcopenia—or a change in muscle strength and function due to loss of skeletal muscle mass. Sarcopenia can act in conjunction with other common conditions, like osteoporosis, to cause slips, falls, and injuries that can lead to serious disability and prevent you from performing daily tasks.

Who Gets Sarcopenia?

Sarcopenia is believed to be a natural part of the aging process, but there are many factors that can contribute to, worsen, or accelerate the development of the condition.

  • Sedentary or inactive lifestyle
  • Changing hormone levels
  • Inadequate protein levels and/or changing protein requirements
  • Dietary deficiencies
  • Inflammation

How Do You Treat and Prevent Sarcopenia?

There are many ways to help reduce your risk for Sarcopenia or help restore muscle mass after a Sarcopenia diagnosis. Your doctor may prescribe a treatment or prevention regimen that includes physical activity (specifically resistance training exercises), hormone replacement, and/or dietary supplements.

  • Aging adults should consume high-quality protein, lots of fruits and vegetables, and reduce intake of cereal grains.
  • Aging adults may also consider supplements containing creatine, whey protein, vitamin D, and Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Your doctor may draw blood to track hormone levels and correct imbalances with hormone replacement therapy.
  • Regular physical activity, specifically resistance or weight training, is crucial to combatting muscle loss and rebuilding diminished muscle strength.

To learn more about rehabilitation after a fall or participating in a therapy program to retain muscle and bone strength in older age, contact your local Aperion Care facility.

Consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.

Sources:

dark leafy greens, 6 common dietary deficiencies in aging adults

6 Common Dietary Deficiencies in Older Adults

Aging adults tend to eat fewer calories, due to decreased appetite and activity levels. This decrease in caloric intake can also lead to deficient levels of vitamins and minerals. These dietary deficiencies have been linked to chronic diseases such as: heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.

What causes dietary deficiencies?

Many factors can lead to dietary deficiency in aging and older adults and can vary from person to person. Some leading causes of deficiencies are:

  • Poor nutrient and dietary intake
  • Physiological changes that accompany aging such as forgetfulness, and loss of appetite
  • Financial factors that limit food purchasing decisions
  • Medications that decrease the body’s ability to absorb nutrients

What vitamins are the most important for maintaining a healthy life?

As the body ages, its ability to absorb essential vitamins and nutrients begins to decrease. Common vitamin deficiencies among aging adults include:

  • Calcium—important for bone density and strength, calcium is found in dark leafy greens and dairy products, as well as calcium-specific supplements. Calcium deficiency can lead to decreased bone density, lowered mobility, and falls.
  • Vitamin D— this vitamin works in conjunction with Calcium to promote bone health and strength. Vitamin D is naturally absorbed by the body through sunlight, but can also be found in certain types of fish and fortified foods like orange juice or milk.
  • Magnesium—this mineral plays a part in many body processes like glucose and blood pressure regulation. Magnesium is found in many plant and animal food sources, especially dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
  • Vitamin C—this vitamin plays a role in the absorption of proteins, as well as the creation of connective tissue, which is vital for wound healing. Vitamin C also contains antioxidants that may help fight diseases like cancer. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are the best sources of Vitamin C, like citrus fruits, tomatoes, and bell peppers.
  • Vitamin E—the antioxidant qualities of Vitamin E allow it to combat disease-causing free radicals. This vitamin also supports immune system functioning. Vitamin E can be found in nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.
  • Vitamin B6— B vitamins perform many functions in the body, primarily supporting protein absorption and cognitive function. The richest sources of B vitamins are fish, organ meats (like liver), potatoes, and other starchy vegetables.

Aging adults should consider lowering their intake of saturated fats and sodium, and increasing fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products. A doctor may recommend specific supplements or foods to help ensure proper vitamin intake.

Consult your doctor before making changes to your diet or supplement routine.

Sources:

 

Elderly person having trouble breathing

What is COPD?

COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is a chronic and progressive condition that makes breathing difficult. COPD is caused most often by smoking, but can be caused by any prolonged exposure to lung irritants like dust, air pollutants, or chemical fumes. People suffering from COPD experience coughing fits that often produce excessive mucus and difficulty breathing.

How will my lifestyle change?

The condition has no cure, and worsens over time, but there are some lifestyle changes people diagnosed with COPD can make to slow the progress of the disease and make breathing more comfortable.

  • Quit smoking
  • Monitor air quality in your home
  • Avoid air pollutants like second-hand smoke and chemical fumes
  • Prevent infection by washing hands often and getting vaccinated
  • Lose weight
  • Eat healthy
  • Stay active

Consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, medication, or lifestyle.

COPD Care at Aperion Care

For our guests diagnosed with COPD, pneumonia, aspiration pneumonia, asthma, or ventilator dependency, a number of Aperion locations offer complete care for advanced respiratory needs, including Ventilator Units and Tracheostomy Care. Contact your local Aperion Care facility to learn more.

 

Sources:

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/copd

http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/copd/living-with-copd/life-change.html