Written by Heidi Nestor, Writer and Editor, Life Alert
April 7th is World Health Day promoted by the WHO. No, not the 70s English Rock Band, but the World Health Organization, whose goal is to bring awareness about health issues through public health campaigns.
In their research on aging, WHO predicts that the number of people aged 60 and over will double from 11% to 22% globally. “By then,” they claim, “there will be more older people than children 14 and under – a turning point in human history.”1
One of the reasons why there are more older people than ever before is because people are living longer thanks to modern medicine and health conscious campaigns highlighting diet and exercise as the fountain of youth. Furthermore, old age is being redefined by the current senior generation as seen with rock and roll icon, Roger Daltrey. Although he may still be belting out ageless lyrics such as, “Hope I die before I get old”, he, at the young age of 73, is still touring with The Who; yes, the 70s English Rock Band.
Aging does not mean being stagnated. Seniors are active, involved, and rock’n out. “Their years of experience can make them models of personal resilience and sources of inspiration and practical knowledge. They give voluntary aid, care for grandchildren or neighbors, and participate in support or recovery initiatives.” 2
So, is 70 the new 50? Perhaps, but though the will is strong, the flesh may be weak, and arthritic, with high blood pressure and cholesterol, all which can make seniors vulnerable and jeopardize their independence. WHO notes; “Older people who normally can manage on their own with mild to moderate impairments also risk becoming disable…”3 Maintaining one’s lifestyle and independence is key to aging gracefully and happily. But there are dangers to be mindful of.
Sometimes, the older person does have someone checking in with them but after they leave an accident can occur, such as a fall, rendering the senior unable to get up until someone checks on them again, which can be days later.
WHO has discovered that active aging depends on an interplay of social, structural, and material factors which will affect how resilient or vulnerable people become as they grow older; for example, environment. WHO points out that older people living in precarious environments or are disabled are particularly at risk. Rural and remote areas can create challenges for the elderly in that they may not be as well informed by the media about imminent emergencies; and severe weather conditions could affect their home as well as their bodies. Moreover, living alone far out from neighbors and friends can leave them vulnerable in an emergency.
All in all, WHO concludes that the “Active Ageing framework is based on the recognition of the human rights of older persons…” With diet and exercise, one can maintain strength and agility in their golden years, and with a medical alert system, such as Life Alert, seniors have a right to choose to live in their own homes whether it be in a rural countryside or high-rise apartment.
“…Talkin’ ‘bout my g-g-g-generation,” Life Alert also understands that today’s modern seniors aren’t staying home vegging out on TV; they are active members of society whose needs for personal protection must be as mobile as they are. With Life Alert Mobile pendant5, seniors can stay protected while on the go. Better still, Life Alert is so inexpensive that aging rockers can still afford to go to a WHO concert and be protected at the same time! Now that’s the new (aging) generation, baby!
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