My Dad, My Hero, Me at age 65, My Dad at age 95
WHAT DOES AGING MEAN TO YOU
My Friends, this is a question that I ask each one of you regardless of what age you may be at this time, because we all are living in the process of time. Day by day, we are moving towards the day we no longer will live in this body. Therefore, let us understand that there are things we can do to make this process a health one. Successful aging does not have to be a process of doom and gloom. The choice that you have before you is to live a joyful and healthy life all your life, in other words all the time you have been given for the task you were sent here to accomplish. Therefore, I say to you, if you will be obedient to God, as He has commanded you to do, there is no reason to believe you cannot reach your destiny. Listen to what He commands us to do, He says, “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33 KJV)
Today I celebrate my 66th birthday in this body, and I can truly say that I have been blessed with almost perfect health all 66 years. I have never been hospitalized, never been on any type of medication and can jog five miles daily. The Lord has truly poured his blessings out on me and allowed me to walk upon this earth daily teaching and preaching his word in perfect health aging gracefully in what I call successful aging. You too can experience the same, no matter what age you are, no matter what your physical condition may be. All you have to do is to start from right where you are at this very moment. Make a decision to change your way of living and grow daily in God’s grace, watch and smile as you see yourself aging successfully.
Now listen up, as I share with you the process of aging and how you can enjoy this process as you make the necessary changes to get into the process. First, aging is the accumulation of changes in an organism or object over time. Aging in humans refers to a multidimensional process of physical, psychological, and social change. Some dimensions of aging grow and expand over time, while others decline. Reaction time, for example, may slow with age, while knowledge of world events and wisdom may expand. Research shows that even late in life, potential exists for physical, mental, and social growth and development. In this statement, we understand and now can confirm that modern research has caught up with the teaching of the Bible. “Now listen to what the bible teaches us concerning aging, it says, “Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.” (Hebrews 12:12 KJV). This confirms to us that no matter what age we may be, we have an opportunity to change our physical and health conditions if we would only run this race with our minds stayed connected to Jesus.
Remember, aging is an important part of all human societies reflecting the biological changes that occur, but also reflecting cultural and societal conventions. Roughly 100,000 people worldwide die each day of age-related causes.
Age is measured chronologically, and a person’s birthday is often an important event. However, the term “aging” is somewhat ambiguous. Distinctions may be made between “universal aging” (age changes that all people share) and “probabilistic aging” (age changes that may happen to some, but not all people as they grow older including diseases such as type two diabetes). Chronological aging may also be distinguished from “social aging” (cultural age-expectations of how people should act as they grow older) and “biological aging” (an organism’s physical state as it ages). There is also a distinction between “proximal aging” (age-based effects that come about because of factors in the recent past) and “distal aging” (age-based differences that can be traced back to a cause early in person’s life, such as childhood poliomyelitis).
Differences are sometimes made between populations of elderly people. Divisions are sometimes made between the young old (65–74), the middle old (75–84) and the oldest old (85+). However, problematic in this is that chronological age does not correlate perfectly with functional age, i.e. two people may be of the same age, but differ in their mental and physical capacities. Each nation, government and non-government organization has different ways of classifying age.
Population aging is the increase in the number and proportion of older people in society. Population aging has three possible causes: migration, longer life expectancy (decreased death rate), and decreased birth rate. Aging has a significant impact on society. Young people tend to commit most crimes, they are more likely to push for political and social change, to develop and adopt new technologies, and to need education. Older people have different requirements from society and government as opposed to young people, and frequently differing values as well. Older people are also far more likely to vote, and in many countries the young are forbidden from voting. Thus, the aged have comparatively more political influence.
Now as we grow and age, time has allowed us to begin what I will call successful aging. The concept of successful aging can be traced back to the 1950s, and popularized in the 1980s. Previous research into aging exaggerated the extent to which health disabilities, such as diabetes orosteoporosis, could be attributed exclusively to age, and research in gerontology exaggerated the homogeneity of samples of elderly people.
Successful aging consists of three components:
1. Low probability of disease or disability;
- High cognitive and physical function capacity;
- Active engagement with life.
A greater number of people self-report successful aging than those that strictly meet these criteria.
Successful aging may be viewed an interdisciplinary concept, spanning both psychology and sociology, where it is seen as the transaction between society and individuals across the life span with specific focus on the later years of life. The terms “healthy aging” “optimal aging” have been proposed as alternatives to successful aging.
Six suggested dimensions of successful aging include:
No physical disability over the age of 75 as rated by a physician;
- Good subjective health assessment (i.e. good self-ratings of one’s health);
- Length of un-disabled life;
- Good mental health;
- Objective social support;
- Self-rated life satisfaction in eight domains, namely marriage, income-related work, children, friendship and social contacts, hobbies, community service activities, religion and recreation/sports.
- Mental health can be seen as a continuum, where an individual’s mental health may have many different possible values. Mental wellness is generally viewed as a positive attribute, such that a person can reach enhanced levels of mental health, even if the person does not have any diagnosed mental health condition. This definition of mental health highlights emotional well-being, the capacity to live a full and creative life, and the flexibility to deal with life’s inevitable challenges. Many therapeutic systems and self-help books offer methods and philosophies espousing strategies and techniques vaunted as effective for further improving the mental wellness of otherwise healthy people. Positive psychology is increasingly prominent in mental health.
- A holistic model of mental health generally includes concepts based upon anthropological, educational, psychological, religious and sociological perspectives, as well as theoretical perspectives frompersonality, social, clinical, health and developmental psychology.
- An example of a wellness model includes one developed by Myers, Sweeney and Witmer. It includes five life tasks—essence or spirituality, work and leisure, friendship, love and self-direction—and twelve sub tasks—sense of worth, sense of control, realistic beliefs, emotional awareness and coping, problem solving and creativity, sense of humor, nutrition, exercise, self care, stress management,gender identity, and cultural identity—which are identified as characteristics of healthy functioning and a major component of wellness. The components provide a means of responding to the circumstances of life in a manner that promotes healthy functioning. The population of the USA in its’ majority is considered to be mostly uneducated on the subjects of mental health.
In conclusion, let me affirm with you not to worry about your age, but be mindful of how you are aging and enjoy all that God has blessed you with. Age is only a number that affirms the time of your position in the process. The process is necessary to help you achieve your purpose in this life, and guides you successfully towards your destination. The journey is yours to enjoy. Now live each day as if it is your last day and if you are successful in seeing tomorrow, it will be the first day of the rest of your life. May God bless each one of you abundantly as He moves you through the process of successful aging? I remain your brother in Christ, Pastor Davis/Master Teacher.