Growing of the Aging Society
A. American scientists say that the elderly are now healthier, happier and more independent. The results of a study that has taken place over a 14-year period will be released at the end of the month. The research will show that common health disorders suffered by the elderly are affecting fewer people and happening after in life.
B. Over the last 14 years, The National Long-term Health Care Survey has gathered data from more than 20,000 males and females over the age of 65 about their health and lifestyles. The group has analysed the results of data gathered in 1994 on conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure and poor circulation; these were the most common medical complaints for this age group. The results show that these conditions are troubling a smaller proportion of people each year and decreasing very quickly. Other diseases suffered by the elderly including dementia, emphysema and arteriosclerosis are also affecting fewer people.
C. According to Kenneth Manton, a demographer from Duke University in North Carolina, “the question of what should be considered normal ageing has really changed.” He also mentioned that diseases suffered by many people around the age of 65 in 1982 are now not occurring until people reach the age of 70-75.
D. It is clear that due to medical advances some diseases are not as prominent as they used to be. However, there were also other factors influencing this change. For instance, improvements in childhood nutrition in the first quarter of the twentieth century gave many people a better start in life than was possible before.
E. The data also shows some negative changes in public health. The research suggests that the
rise of respiratory conditions such as lung cancer and bronchitis may reflect changing smoking habits and an increase in air pollution. Manton says that as we have been exposed to worse and worse pollution, it is not surprising that some people over the age of 60 are suffering as a result.
F. Manton also found that better-educated people are likely to live longer. For instance, women of 65 with less than eight years of education are expected to live to around 82. Those who studied more could be able to live seven years longer. Whilst some of this can be attributed to better- educated people usually having a higher income, Manton believes it is mainly because they pay closer attention to their health.
G. Also, the survey estimated how independent people of 65 were and found a striking trend. In the 1994 survey, almost 80% of them were able to complete activities such as eating and dressing alone as well as handling difficult tasks, like cooking and managing their financial affairs. This situation indicates an important drop among disabled elderly people in the population. If 14 years ago, the apparent trends in the US had continued, researchers believe that there would be one
million disabled elderly people in today’s population. Manton shows the trend saved more than $200 billion for the US’s government’s Medicare system, and it has suggested the elderly American population is less of a financial burden than expected.
H. The growing number of independent elderly people is probably linked to the huge increase in home medical aids. For instance, the research shows the use of raising toilet seat covers and bath seats has increased by more than fifty per cent. Also, these developments about health benefits are reported by the MacArthur Foundation’s research group for successful ageing. It found the elderly who are able to take care of themselves were more likely to stay healthy in their old age.
I. Retaining a certain level of daily physical activity may also help brain function, according to Carl Cotman, a neuroscientist at the University of California at Irvine. He found that rats exercising on
a treadmill have higher levels of a brain-derived neurotrophic factor in their brains. He believes the hormone which holds neuron functions may prevent the active human’s brain function from declining.
J. Teresa Seeman, a social epidemiologist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, was conducting the same research. She found a line between self-esteem and stress in people over 70. The elderly who do challenging activities such as driving have more control of their mind and have a lower level of the stress hormone cortisol in their brains. Chronically high levels of this hormone can cause heart disease.
K. However, an independent life may have negative points. Seeman knew that the elderly people that were living alone were able to retain higher levels of stress hormones even when sleeping. The research indicates that elderly people are happier if they can live an independent life but also acknowledge when they need help.
L. Seeman says, “With many cases of research about ageing, these results help common sense.” Also, the situations show that we may be ignoring some of the simple factors. She mentions, “The sort of thing your grandmother always used to talk to you about seems to be exactly right.”
Reading Passage 1 has twelve paragraphs, A-L.
Choose the correct heading for paragraphs B-G from the list of headings below.
List of Headings
I. Disorders strike much later in life.
II. Drawbacks in public health.
III. Longevity based on high education.
IV. The elderly people of today got better nutrition when they were children.
V. The elderly are becoming more well off.
VI. Most of independent people over 65 complete activities themselves.
VII. Diseases have decreased recently.
1. Paragraph B
2. Paragraph C
3. Paragraph D
4. Paragraph E
5. Paragraph F
6. Paragraph G
Do the following statements reflect the claims of the writer in Reading Passage 1?
• TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
• FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
• NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this
7. Smoking habits are a crucial cause in some cancers.
8. The better-educated elderly people tend to live longer.
9. People over 65 can independently manage a variety of tasks.
10. Elderly people have overcome dementia as a result of home medical aids.
11. Continuing physical exercises is likely to assist digestive function.
12. People over 70 who still do challenging things such as driving are able to lower their level of the hormone cortisol which is linked to heart disease.
13. Isolation may cause a higher level of stress hormones.