As our bodies accumulate damage over the years, they become more likely to develop age-related conditions and diseases, particularly if we have any genetic predispositions towards them.
Sensory impairments are some of the most common of these conditions, along with mobility problems caused by the ageing of bones and joints which can lead to arthritis and rheumatism.
Dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, are amongst the most debilitating conditions ageing can bring.
Less obvious problems of older age are loneliness and poverty. Almost 2.5 million (one in four) pensioners live in what is nationally defined poverty. Along with decreased mobility, this means that many older people live in relative isolation. Together these factors can have a devastating effect on health and wellbeing.
Ageism and discrimination in society and in the media can blight the lives of older people, who may feel invisible, worthless or outdated, hearing a false emphasis on ‘the burden of our ageing population’ when increased longevity should be celebrated and embraced by us all.