An old adage states that "age is just a number," but one new study published in the journal Population and Development Review takes this phrase to another level. The study revealed that there are numerous factors that go into determining a person's age, and they could have a significant impact on medical treatments.
Researchers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis recently focused their efforts on determining which factors should be considered when dealing with the aging population. In the past, most of the focus for medical professionals and patients was on chronological age. However, this new study found that qualities such as overall health, brain function and life expectancy all play a role in the aging process, and as such they need to be considered when determining "age."
"Your true age is not just the number of years you have lived," said researcher Sergei Scherbov. "It also includes characteristics such as health, cognitive function and disability rates. ... We used to consider people old at age 65. Today, someone who is 65 may be more like someone who was 55 [years old] 45 years ago in terms of many important aspects of their lives."
This new definition of "old age" may have a considerable effect on the treatment an individual receives. While the outline for care will vary from person to person, taking the different health factors into account can help customize the treatment and medications to best fit an individual's lifestyle.
No matter what a person's numerical age is, he or she needs to be granted care based on medical age and health issues. There is nothing stopping patients of any age from participating in home enrichment programs that improve their quality of life or even home nursing care that enhances the treatment of any type of injury or condition.