Ageing: Causes, Signs and Problems


Introduction to Ageing and Old Age
Ageing is a continuous process of life which ends after death. It is a natural process of life which is observed in all the living beings. Human beings including other animals get older due to the natural process called ageing. According to the Oxford Dictionary, ‘ageing is the process of growing old physically and mentally.’ Ageing can be defined as a process of growing old with distinct physical, psychological and social changes with the passing of time.
When people get older they become mentally, physically and socio-economically weaker. As a result, they cannot perform the same level of work as earlier. At the same time, they suffer from various kinds of diseases like arthritis, hypertension, diabetes etc.

There are various stages of human life. Old age is the last stage of human life. In the global context, it is said that people reach an old age after 65 years. In the context of Nepal the age after 60 years is considered as an old age. The people above the old age are called old or elderly people.

Causes of Ageing
– Diminished immunity power
– Increase in mental tension
– Poor nutrition
-Frequent attack of disease
– Decreased physical strength
– Prolong illness
– Degeneration of cells and tissues

Signs of Ageing
1.Physical Changes
– Taste buds become less sensitive
– Loss of hearing
– Poor eyesight
– The gradual loss of touch sensation
– Problem in digestion
– Wrinkles on the face and other parts of the body
– Weakness and tiredness
– Difficulty in body movement
– Loss of sexual potency
– Loss of appetite/anorexia

2. Mental Changes
– The decrease in memory power
-The decrease in decision-making capacity and creativity
– The decrease in problem-solving capacity

3. Social Changes
– Unable to make active participation in social activities
– The feeling of Loneliness increases
– Affection and attachment towards the small children increases
– The expectation of love, affection, respect and honour from the family and society increases
– The interest in sharing feelings with the same age people increases
– Loss of social status

4. Emotional Changes
– Anger comes soon
– Less interest in everything
-Recalling of old memories

5. Economic Changes
– Dependant life
– Retirement from job/occupation
– The decrease in income source
– Inadequate source of income

Problems of Ageing or Old Age
People suffer from various problems in the old age. They are physically and mentally weaker. Similarly, they suffer from many diseases like diabetes, respiratory disease, hypertension, urination problem, eye disease etc. They also suffer from psycho-social and economic problems. They feel alone in this period. Old age is not a problem in itself but lack of proper care and support to them have become a greater problem at present. Due to the rapid growth of the old age population: it has become a great challenge to the nation. Since ageing is accepted as a challenge, it has become one important area of Family Life Education. In the context of Nepal, the demarcation line of old age is 60 years. The age group population is considered as economically inactive or dependant population. some ageing problems are mentioned below:
– Unable to carry on occupation/profession
– Eyes, ears, urethra and other organs become weaker
– loss of physical and mental strength
– loss of immunity power
– Loneliness
– Dependent life
– Frequent attack of disease related to heart, lungs, kidney etc