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NU-AGE is a module that has had a profound influence of my understanding about the concept and self-perception about ageing. Having to learn how much more biology, lifestyle, clinical aspects, technology, living conditions and solutions can directly or indirectly alter how an individual age.
Ageism in one major concern that was given much attention to in the module. Ageism was thought be the direct action of our society towards the ageing population(reference). For the past century, the institutionalisation and the idea of making the older population redundant was a major concern to both the economy. Many had to opt for poor relief, begging, paid work when possible, charity, growing food, use of common rights and help from family. Unequal access to improved occupational and private pension have been a concern to how the ageing population had access to an income to support them through later life has contributed much to the of the negative concept of ageing. This led the population to have a stereotypical view of the prevalence of loneliness at older people that their prevalence of illness and disease were more likely higher and older workers are less efficient. Despite all these negative stereotypical views positive ideas and views have been acknowledged, but many recognise that the ageing population have a perceived superior wisdom from experience.
Nutrition and health has an undoubtedly profound aspect on how progression of ageing occurs. Research has shown that people in poorer parts of England lived on average 7 years less than those of in richer parts. This has been affiliated with the qualities of life the two regions face and the conditions they are assumed to face in such regions. The poorer regions are proposed to be subjected to adverse environment conditions, more stress and poorer diet. Richer regions are assumed to have the direct opposite qualities of those of the poorer regions. Research has proven that the genotype of an individual has a profound effect on the progression of ageing of an individual, such as having the Age-1 gene. All these factors are known to contribute oxidative stress, metabolic stress and inflammation which known to affect the trajectory of how ageing progresses and the prognostic implications in later life. It has been proven that diets low in calorific value and higher in unsaturated fats and omaga-3, such as the Mediterranean diet, showed marked decrease in the causes of mortality such as cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases and cancers. Physical activity has been a key player in the progression of how we age. Mental health has been shown to be related to how much an individual is involved in the arts and society. For example, risks of showing onsets of dementias have been shown to decrease with engaging in thought and social processes. (reference) This clearly shows us the ageing is plastic. This relates very strongly to the Clinical Ageing and Health module I took this year in Biomedical Sciences, iterating much of what was covered but in a simplified coherent manner.
Ageing affect individuals related to the ones ageing. Residents in the care homes haves generally shown that there are losses of formal association with members they have had earlier in life thus leading to increased prevalence to neurodegenerative disease and loneliness. This has been addressed by providing and involving the ageing population in the arts whereby bonding with those of a similar age, ethnicity and class which provides a strengthened emotional support, and social identities.
Engagement of the ageing population has been a paramount interest of discussion over the years. Establishments of capital development projects were one of the topics of interest that has been of great interest to me, especially one EX-BEX member shared his thoughts of how he thinks that life savings in the bank might not gain as much capital gains as when other forms of investment out-weighed the risks since equity has been rising for the past century.
Through this module, I have truly come to grasp of the global scale of what society is expecting from ageing, how it is perceived and what we as the younger generation can implement to address issues in relation to the current ageing population and to the younger generation to age in a graceful manner. I have learnt that ageing is not a concept to be worried about and that it should be regarded in a positive aspect to consider in life. Being an international student, I have come to experience thoughts and aspects of ageing in the UK and through other international students which I propose to implement in the Seychelles. Seychelles has had a graceful ageing population two decades ago, unfortunately the can no longer be said with confidence. Prevalence’s of age related diseases are rising and life-spans are decreasing. No strong investigation has been made to determine why such decline is occurring. I feel that it is my duty as a Seychellois to lead the way to investigate and support the ageing population into the aspect of graceful and healthy. My hope is to promote the Seychelles as an example to the world that ageing is in our control and we should not fear it. My dream is to see the ageing population of Seychelles to be healthy, active and vibrant thus defeating the ideology and perception of ageism.
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