Dementia occurs when nerve cells in the brain stop working, lose connections with other brain cells, and die. The National Institute on Aging defines dementia as having two or more core functions that are impaired, including memory, language skills, visual perception, and the ability to focus and pay attention. Cognitive skills, such as the ability to reason and solve problems, may also be impaired.
How long each individual lives is determined by many factors, says Qi Sun, MD, a doctor of science and an associate professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He explains that life expectancy is influenced by genes, environment, and lifestyle choices: “We can look at how the life span has increased over the last 100 years and see that it’s modifiable,” he says.
Americans are living longer, and the vast majority would prefer to age in their own home and community. But there are challenges and costs associated with maintaining that independence. From apps to devices and wearables, healthcare technology is helping more people age in place.
Making healthy lifestyle choices, like quitting smoking and losing weight, can help you avoid senior health risks, though you also need to be physically active and eat a healthy diet. Including a geriatrician, a doctor who specializes in the health concerns of aging, on your senior healthcare team can help you learn how to live better with any chronic diseases.
Many people think that blogging is just for young people to write about personal interests or drama in their daily lives. These groups of people do make up many bloggers, but blogging after age 50 can provide many benefits for older people, too.