Its More Than Simple Aging

Fight Aging!
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Find Volunteer Opportunities. Adopt-A-Route provides an opportunity for companies and organizations to engage in community service by delivering a midday meal to hombound older adults. We can't do it alone! Class sizes are limited and attendees have the option to enjoy a healthy lunch catered by the St. Louis Bread Company. Registration is required for this…. Louis Presentation Description: Discussion is an hour-long presentation addressing healthy relationships, boundaries, consent, sexual risks are you safe?

Your donation to Aging Ahead will go straight to work expanding our services and helping participants live independently in their communities. Louis County Library branches. By sponsoring these popular CHOICE presentations, you will be able to support the interests of local older adults and share your name with a new audience. Supporting the Journey Donate Today. Our Impact Aging Ahead, as an Area Agency on Aging, has been supporting individuals and caregivers through the journey of aging since For all of the participants their early life experiences had profound impacts on their experience of old age and their views of a happy life as they age.

The most salient and unforgettable past experiences of Chinese old people are hunger and poverty. Most of them lived very stressful lives when they were young. They worked hard for survival. Their limited earnings were spent on food, and this was often not enough. They are witnesses to the Old Society before s , in which older people had a miserable life, and some of them resorted to begging.

They also witnessed the Great Famine end of s , where millions of people died from hunger. The experience taught them that they needed to satisfy their most basic need: obtaining food. As well as early life experiences, life experiences across the entire lifespan, including SES experiences, also influenced the participants conception of eating and the role of food in their lives. In the last 25 years, in particular, the life of Chinese people has improved dramatically in terms of economic prosperity and the availability of goods and services. As survivors of the Old Society and the Great Famine , older people are now more satisfied with their current lives.

When they compare their early lives with their lives today, the availability of adequate food and clothing contributes greatly to a happy life. The participants see this transition from famine to adequate food not only in terms of satisfying a physiological need but also in terms of social development for the whole society. My partner is an old worker from the Qinghe woollen cloth factory. At the time of the Japanese [invading China], [he was] just [a child] wearing buns screen [the clothes only for child, which cover the private parts of the body].

Worked as child laborer following the Japanese invasion. After liberation, he cared if food [was]available. He is not easy Participant 25, 65—year-old, Female, farmer. I just think, the elders in old society [meaning: before the s] had to beg for food. And think again, there was no fire to heat [the food]. If collecting some firewood, [they] needed to make fire to heat. The elders…I saw elders were suffering in my childhood.

Look, I am more than 70 now and have a happy life…I saw many elders in old society…their life…misery Participant 11, 75—year-old, Female, retired kindergarten teacher. At that time [early s] there was a grain coupon. How much grain you could buy was determined by how many grain coupons you had. It was too hard at that time. Now I don't eat much. But at that time, it was too hard Participant 28, 80—year-old Female, retired researcher. My partner [he died] was… a worker.

I moved in with his family after marriage. Later I was tortured by his family, which hurt me a lot. I tell you, I suffered greatly. In the old society, I went to work …I did not have the right to speak. No right at all. I did not have a child after the liberation. I only had one thought in mind, I would say, just work hard, study hard, then the Communist Party will give you a bowl of food. I just started to work with this in mind Participant 11, 75—year-old, Female, retired kindergarten teacher.

China has a traditional urban-rural dual social structure. Farmers, in ancient China experienced a much better life than urban residents. Unlike urban Chinese, farmers were rarely subsidized by the government. The gap between urban and rural life was significant. Farmers engaged in heavy work, were poor and hungry. In the Communes of the —70s, the collectivization further deprived farmers of their land and produce.

In rural China, poverty contributed to poor food security and poor health At the end of s, China's economic reform was launched in rural areas. Rural reform in China created a large increase in productivity, transitioning the farmer's experience from hunger to the availability of adequate food. Farmers were contented, mainly because the food problem was solved. Our past experience? We were too tired from working in the agriculture commune.

We were in the agriculture commune during our early years. Work was too tiring. Anyway, they [children] could eat until they were full Participant 19, 65—year-old Female, farmer. When we were sent to the countryside [during the Culture Revolution], the salary was measured by work points.

I worked hard and got more work points than other people. As there were many children in my family, they always lacked food. My family lived a comparatively hard life during those days Participant 31, 70—year-old Female, farmer. I feel my life is a happy life now. No worries about eating, no worries about drinking. You see… there are no worries about money now… If you want to eat beef, go buy it; if you want to eat fish, go buy it; you buy what you want to drink. If you wanted to eat something? We were peasants. In previous years, pickled vegetable could be eaten for a full meal.

In one year, or at least for half a year, we needed to eat chaff and swallow [pickled] vegetable. I just came for my husband. He had a heart attack [myocardial infarction]. I think it was caused by tiredness. Too tired. You see, on normal days there was no regulation [regular eating times]. He would not eat when it was the time for eating; not sleep when he should be sleeping; not drink when he should be drinking.

You see, he was off duty at 12 o'clock or 1 o'clock, he had no time to prepare lunch. He also had a meeting, had something to say. He did not have time to eat Participant 23, 70—year-old Female, housewife. We now turn to a discussion of the two main themes Quantity of Food and Quality of Food. President Deng Xiaoping's policy in the s was to solve the problem of adequate food and clothing and the Chinese government declared that the target had been reached by the end of Twentieth-Century The participants expressed their happiness that they now had enough food to eat.

Their current life is much better than their earlier lives when they had little to eat. Participants from developed areas such as urban Beijing to developing areas such as the rural villages of Guilin in Yongfu county , from north China to south China, commonly agreed that there had been improvement in food security. The provision of adequate food satisfies one of Maslow's physiological needs within the hierarchy of needs pyramid. Adequate food is necessary before other needs higher up the pyramid safety, belonging, esteem, self-actualization can be satisfied. Yes, [I am] very happy.

No worries about eating, no worries about clothes Participant 27, 75—year-old Female, retired worker. Enough to eat. Life is OK. Not thinking of the issue of what to eat, to buy chicken, or, to buy chicken essence Participant 22, 80—year-old Female, retired librarian.

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Not all Chinese old people are beneficiaries of the national economic prosperity. Where there are less government subsidies and the collapse of village collective funds, aged farmers have to seek basic support including food from traditional family-based caring and support. There is significant variation in socioeconomic development between geographic regions in China. Rapid urbanization created bigger cities which quickly stretched into suburbs encroaching on the countryside.

Between the s and the number of cities in China increased from 69 to Among the urban cities, 89 had a population of more than 1 million. Many older people and their families lived in the transition areas the urban-rural integration area and lost the opportunity to work on farms. Their children had to find work in the cities and the tradition of family caring is facing a significant challenge due to the internal migration of younger workers.

Pensions for older rural Chinese or compensation for losing farm work opportunities is lower RMB per month than for their urban counterparts RMB per month Urbanization has brought new difficulties to older farmers who escaped from famine but now face the prospect of low income and less support from their families. However, poverty is also an issue in the urban areas of China, particularly for older people or for families caring for older people. While many urban older people have a retirement pension, price increases for food and other consumables have put a strain on their budgets.

Is it enough? Hey, that depends on the situation. How can I compare our life with others? Having a full meal [eat full] is all right. That is just the way it is.

The Real Secret of Youth Is Complexity

I have no way to change the situation. Situations cannot be compared; our life may be different than others Participant 23, 70—year-old Female, housewife. Now this [my] life could be called a happy kind of life. I do not have retirement payment; I am not eligible for a retirement pension … The monthly income is different [from person to person]. Some people get several thousand [a month]; while others get several hundred [a month]. I am not on a pension.

Anyway, it is ok to have meals. For the elders in the past, there was no retirement and they had no money at all Participant 28, 80—year-old Female, retired researcher. In addition, if their children have lost jobs as a consequence of the reform of state-owned enterprises, they may seek help from their older parents. These unemployed young people are called ken lao zi , a generation who depend on their parents. This group of young people do not have a stable job.

They have no ability to solve their own financial problems. They have to rely on their parents and they create a significant burden for older people Participant 25, 66—year-old Female, farmer. The expectation is that parents will support their children when young who in return will assist their parents as they age Economic circumstances can shift the flow of support at a time when older people may be vulnerable and needing economic support from their children. While in general our participants felt that their socioeconomic circumstances and access to food had improved in their later years, those on low incomes or those who were supporting their children were concerned about food insecurity.

In addition, they suggested having several small meals each day, rather than a few large ones. Buy some, not much, enough is ok. Is that right? Participant 21, 70—year-old Male, retired engineer. Old women, they are easy to feed … being old, we can't eat much Participant 16, 65—year-old Female, retired worker. Vegetables and fruits were the most common foods they believed should be eaten more often. Which things are most important [for happy ageing]?


Although great efforts have been made to educate the world about Alzheimer's disease, society at large has continued to marginalize those afflicted with this. These easy habits may help you live longer. No, it's not that you get “softer” with age but that your heart expands to fit even more beauty and love. collected in your life, we bet you can count more gratitude than complaints.

Just playing well and eating well are the most important. First you pay more attention to eating and drinking for your diet. Eat less, but more often, but not more than six meals [per day]. Eat more vegetables, eat more coarse cereals. Eat less oil. Those foods with a lot of oil should be eaten less Participant 17, 65—year-old Male, retired village carder.

I like to eat meat. Meat should be in each meal.

What is "Successful Aging"? - Better Health While Aging

Otherwise your health will be poor. Look, I listen to TV and the elders say, elders should try to eat less meat Participant 36, 70—year-old, Female, retired worker. Our participants believed that eating what you want ensures a happy and satisfying old age. This belief is related to their ability to independently choose what they want to eat. To take care of ourselves, that is enough.

Stay happy and glad for the whole day. Eat what you want to eat.

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That is enough… I have good health through physical exercise. Another thing is to be happy.

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To play what I can play, to eat what I can eat. It is simply that Participant 21, 70—year-old Male, retired engineer. My favorite meal is just steamed buns and rice, and some stir fried dishes. Then… it does not matter what else Participant 21, 70—year-old Male, retired engineer. I know a cancer [patient]… He is back at home and eats what he wants to eat, then exercises the Happy Kungfu … He is nearly recovered… Now his health is good Participant 21, 70—yearold Male, retired engineer. Eat what you want to eat…it is important for your condition Participant 17, 65—year-old Male, retired architect.

Our findings are consistent with similar studies of habits and beliefs of older Chinese. In a qualitative study of Chinese-American older women, participants noted the importance of a balanced diet for health, eating regular simple meals, and maintaining a stable weight. A study in rural China highlighted grandparent's concerns about not having enough food for their grandchildren and the avoidance of hunger based on their experiences in the Great famine A Hong Kong study highlighted that older people were concerned about overeating fatty or fired foods and understood the role of healthy eating, including eating fruit and vegetables, in maintaining good health Our findings are also consistent with Western studies of older people and their eating beliefs and habits.

For example, in an Australian study, older adults valued eating well for health and acknowledged the influence of childhood patterns of eating on current patterns We are now retired and stay at home. We have a willingness for a relaxed life, a little bit of relaxation, not too busy like in the past. We would like to slow down the rhythm of life a little bit, slow down a little…In financial terms, we also want to be a little bit richer. Except for subsidizing, the children and the grandson, we also would like to eat better, and dress better Participant 12, 70—year-old Female, retired high school teacher.

Expensive food may be judged as good food. For instance, before the s, the price of corn was much lower than that of wheat, and wheat was less available than corn. During the Great famine meat was virtually unavailable to most of the population. Enjoyable or satisfying food , or food that is easy to digest is considered good food. Homemade food enables the person to satisfy their personal preferences and often is eaten in a family environment and is therefore considered good food. They are easily satisfied because the food quality was so poor in their childhood.

Simple food is good because it evokes memories of their childhood, their struggle, and joys and sorrows of their life. I also pay attention to my diet, because like us, we all had a hard life previously, especially those who went through the hard times [meaning the years of severe natural disasters in the 's].

Many people died from starvation; grain was very tight. There were many siblings in my family, and life was also difficult. Therefore, we usually had a simple diet, the most normal diet. If you really let us eat chicken, duck, meat, fish, I feel, we will be tired of this after several meals, and will not be used to it. I just like to eat the green vegetables from our home town… that is a simple meal Participant 20, 66—year-old Male, retired high school teacher.

When our prime minister visited four seniors in Shanghai, each of them told him the secret to longevity. Simple as his life is, he was never haunted by hunger. He kept a balanced diet, ate very simple food, but more vegetables. So that explains it. And we do not seem to have much to care about, do we?

Why We Age - And How We Can Stop It

Participant 37, 60—year-old Male, retired teacher. In China, vegetarians are minorities and most of those refuse to eat meat for religious reasons. In contemporary mainland China, the majority of people claim no religious affiliation. There are many Chinese idioms and legends about meat. For instance, jiu rou peng you good friends are those who can share meat and wine , rou shi zhe bi people who eat meat are shallow, where the people are from the elite. As discussed previously, most of our participants experienced the Great Famine at the end of s.

At that time, the participants were teenagers or young adults. They lived in either urban or rural areas and survived extreme poverty. Eating meat was an extreme or unusual event.

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In rural China, there was virtually no meat consumed. Most people had food with meat or fried food only at their family reunion dinner, the supper celebrated on Chinese New Year's Eve. I was in the countryside for decades and married a teacher at that time…lived in the countryside when I was nineteen years old. In that period, a family had many children and only a limited number of vouchers. So, they dissolved fat meat into liquid lard and used it for cooking. As soon as the children came back, they wanted to eat the meat from which fat had been extracted.

But it was not enough for them. I think those were tough days and I shed tears many times Participant 31, 70—year-old, Female, farmer. Other studies of dietary practices of Chinese older adults have noted the competing values concerning the consumption of meat: there is a preference to eat meat but participants understand that too much meat, particularly fatty meats can cause health problems 24 , In the past, we wanted to eat meat but there was no meat to eat.

Now we can eat meat at any time, but we should not eat too much Participant 32, 70—year-old Female, unemployed. I do not like eating chicken, duck and fish, and I would not like to eat those things. Considering the fact that only my wife and I live at home and our children do not live with us, we only need to prepare meals for ourselves, two aged persons. That is enough for us. We do not eat meat every day. Now things are different than in , a hard year, when there was no meat or fish to eat.

Currently, if you want to eat meat, there is enough meat on the market. However, some people do not like or do not want to eat meat Participant 34, 65—year-old Male, retired financial worker. Too much fat and meat in the diet will affect health, but it is ok to have some comparatively good food. This is what I really think of… diet. A light diet without much meat and… fish is good for your health Participant 33, 60—year-old Female, local government worker.

I like to eat fried capsicum. I like to eat garlic bolt. My teeth are not good, I cannot chew. I do not like eggplant… I do not eat meat on hot days, I just eat less meat…Young people cannot be without meat to eat. If you [young people] do not eat meat, you cannot keep up. If you do not eat meat when young, your strength cannot keep up. But you cannot just eat meat Participant 14, 65—69 Female, retired salesperson. Before the s in China, food availability impacted on what older people could eat.

Since the s the Chinese food market has developed in terms of quantity and quality with accompanying increases in the price of food. Affordability of food is a key determinant of older people's diet. Family expenditure on education and medical care increased dramatically over that period. More recently, the proportion of household expenditure on food has further decreased to The Chinese government is acutely aware of the impact of price rises on people's lives, especially those who are retired and on low incomes.

The retirement pension and low-income allowances are adjusted frequently, to support a good quality life for retired people but the participants were very concerned about food price rises In this study, participants often commented that their pension or allowance was just for food or was used as insurance for unexpected events. Significant uncertainty or unexpected expenses in the future for example medical care drove older people to save money from their pension or allowance.

If the price of food increased the participants would spend less on food. Participants expressed their worries concerning increasing food prices. The following participants reflect on price rises in the past and present. Yes, I know everything. I can tell you some past stories.

Three dynasties… Japanese is a dynasty, Kuomintang is a dynasty, the Communist Party is a dynasty. Let us talk about Japan.

I have full experience in the Japanese dynasty. I had dealings with the Japanese, worked for the Japanese, and was bullied by the Japanese. In the Kuomintang period, rising prices happened so fast! The Kuomintang did something… gave you more salary… adjusted the salary many times a month. You can buy a bag of rice today; however, you might buy a half bag of rice tomorrow.

The price increase was too fast. So, up to now, I am scared when prices rise. Although our country is stable now, prices of food and oil are increasing, seriously. Am I right? Of course, the current price increase is not as serious as that of the Kuomintang. But that is reality… that is reality. Do you agree with me? In the Kuomintang, the government printed big bills… a bill of a million dollars, a bill of 10 million dollars… The price rise was almost the same in the early years of the New China.

The Communist government launched many programs to provide adequate clothing and food to people. But, saying it politely, the problem was not solved. In the Great Leap Forward bad climate conditions caused the Great Famine, it was the most difficult time for us. We had to find waste vegetables to eat. We had to eat steamed corn bread] every day. That was the most difficult time. I have experienced that. Those past dynasties, I remember all the details… about the ordinary situation, the community in general.

I am afraid the situation will happen again Participant 2, 80—year-old Male, retired factory worker. We just think we have not got what we particularly want. Now the vegetables and the fruits are all too expensive Participant 12, 70— year-old Female, retired high school teacher. During the last two decades, the dietary supplement market vitamins, herbs, protein supplements in China has grown rapidly 33 and further growth is expected.

It forecasted that the market will grow 10 per cent year-on-year between and Many of these so-called health products focus on the aging population. In the mid s the dietary supplement market was buoyant in China but by the end of the decade questions concerning the quality of the products, and exaggerated and false claims regarding their efficacy, impacted the market.

Participants from Beijing expressed their distrust of those health products. The believed that the products provided nothing to improve their health. More than half of the participants who used health products did so because others sent the products to them as gifts. Around only one third of those using health products brought the products themselves. Chinese aged people do need accurate and relevant information about food and food supplements for maintaining and promoting their health.

However, many of our participants distrust the claims of those marketing dietary supplements. Of course, health is the most important, definitely! Old people have to protect their health. It is meaningless to show how much money you have. If you are in bad health, all of the money is useless. There is a lot nonsense on the media [rubbish or gibberish messages]. I think that is nonsense. I think everyone knows his [or her] way of maintaining their health. They know how to protect their health Participant 2, 80—year-old, Male, retired factory worker. Over nutrition has no benefit. I think Cu Cha Dan Fan literally, cheaper tea and simpler food, plain food is always good. If needed, you can add some meat or milk to your meal. All the products are useless Participant 2, 80—year-old Male, retired factory worker.

Food supply has been dramatically improved since the s in China. Chinese people can buy any food and vegetables across the year. Before the s, both rural and urban families stored and ate Chinese cabbages only during the 3 months of winter. Food safety was considered a concern by the participants, particularly those from Beijing, rather than food availability. Many participants worried about the safety of food and stated that the safety issue could be a barrier to accessing essential foods for their health. They worried about foods containing high levels of fertilizers and pesticides, although they were aware that the government had stated that those hazards were lower than the required minimum standards In the recent decades, many contaminated foods were reported in China's media.

Food producers and suppliers added illegal chemicals for improving or maintaining food appearance and taste. The contaminated foods usually had better presentation and a higher price. Consumers, especially older people, have insufficient information about food safety The participants wanted the government to strengthen food inspection and surveillance. With their increased worries about food safety, the participants tried to seek out safe food or avoided food reported in the media as contaminated How to say, the Nation [government] says it checks [food quality] everyday, it doesn't work.

My son bought a basket of apples. After they were opened, [the apples were] red outside, all are sticky… At the end when he was not in front of me, I secretly threw them into the rubbish.