Not Feeling Your Age? It Turns Out that Age Really is Just a Number!

Have you ever thought, “I don’t feel my age?”

You are not alone! Scientists are now recognizing that your true age is a lot more than just the number of years you have lived, something in home caregivers have known for ages!

A study published in the journal PLOS ONE, IIASA in May 2014, shows that markers of aging including people’s future mortality, disability, cognitive decline, and ability to recover from hospital stays correspond closely with the strength of their hand grip. A strong handshake really does say a lot about a person and it can help in judging their true age.

Funded in part by a new grant from the European Reseach Council (ERC), the studies researchers, Serguei Scherbov and Warren Sanderson, are working on a growing body of research that defines new measures of aging. These take into account people’s characteristics including their health, disability status, longevity, and other demographic factors.

A previous study published in the journal Population and Development Review by Sanderson and Scherbov, with the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), has shown that measuring age only by the number of years people have lived does not measure variations in the aging process accurately. In the past, demographers relied soley upon age and did not take characteristics of aging into account, but that has changed as lifespans get longer. Similar age is no longer a good indication of like levels of health or other characteristics.

“We use to consider people old at age 65,” says Scherbov. “Today, someone who is 65 may be more like someone who was 55 forty-fifty years ago in terms of many important aspects of their lives.”

Scherbov’s goal is to measure how fast different groups in a society age.

Smiling Biking CoupleIf some group is getting older faster than another, he can ask why that might be and see whether there are any policies that could help the faster aging group. The authors illustrate that policy recommendations in regard to aging differ depending on exactly which characteristics of people are measured. “For different purposes we need different measures. Aging is multidimensional,” says Scherbov. By reconceptualizing population aging to incorporate how people actually function, the study allows for a much richer and more realistic view of an aging population.

Home care (both non-medical home care and home health care) and assisted living enhances the quality of life after 65 by providing trained professionals who already know how to assess an individual’s general health and state of mind in order to provide exceptional care.

Today’s seniors are more active than any who have come before them and many only need a little extra help around the house. Contact me to find out more information about the ever-changing needs of seniors today, and how the in-home care Richmond VA relies on can help you.