What makes for a good old age?

What makes for a good old age?

            For many years humans have had questions on what exactly good old age is all about. In fact, good old age is what every individual longs for in their entire life. However, connecting the “good” with the “old age” seems to be ironical to some extent. To some extent, the “good” in the “old age” simply refers to cars, good furniture, fat bank accounts, and even disease free life. Today, good and old are not commonly combined since there has been a negative experience with the old people in the society. Study on the old people reveals that ‘a good old age’ might just be an oxymoron. None of it exists at all on the face of the earth. In the human perspective, it is, however, not as blatantly false as the fountain of youth. There is no place on earth where humans remain young forever. Not even a single drug has been discovered to halt or reduce the rate of aging, leave alone to reverse it. This essay aims to look deeper into the issues or things that make for a good old age. The essay will go on to compare the ideas of a ‘good’ or ‘successful’ aging from different historical or social contexts.

            For a long time, old age has been associated with pain, agony, and the desire to die other than good or success in any way. Several researchers have come up with ideas that can make old age either good or difficult. Others have even gone further to come up with the ideas that make old age successful. There is a consistency in the factors that tend to make old age good. A research conducted by Christine et al. in the article “Culture and the meaning of good old age” points out four major issues that determine a good and difficult old age in the human race. These factors include family, sociality, physical health and functioning, and material security.

            Family is defined as the basic unity of a society. This is the place where everyone places their safety net. Several cases have been reported of the old people being neglected by their families during old age. This has led to the rise in the number of old age homes in the world today. However, several cultures do not believe in leaving their old people alone or neglected. For instance, in the Chinese culture, there is evidence of a pratrilineal kind of family. In this set up, when a son marries he continues to live with his father and mother helping them out with the management of the household and eventually become the heir. The new family takes care of the older generation hence promoting good old age. The old men and women enjoy life with their grand children having all their physical and social needs met.

            Good physical health and function are some of the rather obvious requirements for a successful aging. Every old person desires the ability to function as any other normal adult. Despite the global differences in individual lifestyles and genetics, generally, old people face more difficulties and demands. Good health and functionality are indicators of the ability and capacity to handle and do things independently. Successful aging people are the ones who still possess energy, interest in different activities as well as vitality.

            Nobody desires material security more than the old people. Wealth along with health serves as a basic foundation for successful old age. Research on good old age reveals that health and material security are the most important ingredients for a good old age. Research across culture, however, reveals that wealth is quite a restrictive impression to use comparatively. Commonly, wealth implies the freedom to access money, commodities, and resources. This means that the old person lacks nothing he or she requires all through this difficult journey (Haight, Barbara and Haight, 122)

            According to “Composing a further life” by Batenson, being religious contributes for a good old age. For a long time, researchers have had an interested in determining the benefits of spirituality and religion to the older people (Batenson, 54). According to their results, there is a positive correlation between the well-being of the old individuals in the society. Old people who have high religious commitment tend to experience high satisfaction levels and a greater sense of life with meaning. Religion and spirituality are believed to play a vital role in the lives of older individuals in the society, and helps them to find the true meaning of life in their final years on earth.

            In his book, Atchley reveals that commitment to matters of spirituality among the old offers much satisfaction (Atchley, 98). He goes on to reveal that religious commitment among the old create good and satisfying relationships such as in marriage and with other relatives. In addition, religious commitment improves their perceived deteriorating health status as well as gives them the sense of continual mental growth through learning and religious adventure. All these are classified under the category of things that make a successful old age.

            Study indicates that religion has a positive relationship with improved mental and physical health. However, scientists have not yet determined whether religion indeed is a positive contribution to health and whether physically well people are majorly attracted to religious activities (Haight, 76). It is evident that religion provides several psychological benefits in old age that make it successful. First, religion offers the old a hopeful and positive attitude for life and sickness. This eventually improves individual’s health and lower the mortality of the elderly. Additionally, religion offers a sense of meaning in life, which positively affects family and social relationships with the elderly. This, in turn offers them a greater ability to be able to endure disability and illness.

            In conclusion, old age is a place that many people relate it with fear and pain. For most people, there is nothing good in old age and good old age sounds ironical to many people. However, there are several factors that may promote good old age in individuals. Such include religion, material security, mental wellness, physical health and functioning. Religion tends to offer many benefits that make old age good. For instance, it promotes a positive attitude in individuals offering them the desire to live and face life in an easier way.

Works Cited

Atchley, Robert, Spirituality and Aging, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009

Bateson, M. C., Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom, New York: Knopf, 2010.

Haight, Barbara K. and Haight, Barrett S., The Handbook of Structured Life Review, Health Professions Press, 2009.