Why Health Screenings Are Important As We Age

It is well-documented that regular medical tests are essential for overall health and wellbeing. A focus on preventive care like getting a regular health checkup is critical to not only living longer but also healthier. Studies cite a host of health problems as people age, but it is time to change the narrative because globally, just one in three persons are looking forward to old age. Regular health checkups can identify any early signs of health issues, show a family’s history of the disease, and empower people to take charge of their healthcare. Making prevention priority also includes eating plant-based foods, increasing physical activity, and staying up-to-date on screening tests. Here are four medical tests that can help track and maintain optimal health.

Blood Pressure

 High blood pressure (hypertension) is a risk factor for heart conditions and can lead to heart, eye, brain, and kidney problems when left unchecked. One out of three Americans has hypertension, so it is critical to regularly monitor blood pressure checked regularly. Hypertension usually does not show any symptoms, so monitoring your pulse is the best way to protect potential and underlying issues. Starting in our 20s and 30s protects against preventable age-related conditions that can affect the older years.


Testing for your blood sugar levels has been advised for people wh are obese or overweight aged between 40 and 70. Although specific risk factors can prompt early testing, the American Diabetes Association has recommended routine screening from age 45. Diabetes when left untreated, can result in blindness, kidney failure, and heart diseases. This test is easy and can be done at home with the right kit. The ideal time to check your sugar level is early in the morning before taking any meal. This way, you can have a better view of what’s going on overnight. 

Flu Shot 

The older you get, the weaker your immune system becomes, making you more vulnerable to complications from infections like flu, which can sometimes lead to pneumonia. It can be hard to treat, especially in people with a weak immune system. Health experts have consequently recommended getting a flu shot at least once every year. If possible, undergo a rapid flu test to identify any form of influenza in your body. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have also advised these tests for individuals who are at risk of flu complications, like pregnant and older people. 

Screening for Colon Cancer

At age 50, one in every twenty-one men is at risk of colorectal cancer, unlike one in twenty-three for women. Screening for colon cancer is advised when you are 50 or older and should be done once every five years. Individuals with symptoms and family history must start talking to their doctors even before turning 50. The American Cancer Society has also suggested African Americans to begin testing at age 45.

Often, people will not get an issue checked out until it becomes a critical problem that can lead to harmful consequences. While your medical records and family history may prompt your doctor to recommend several other tests, you should regularly undergo these tests to help you live a long, healthier life.

Edited by Global Health Aging

Five Questions With Mental Health Advocate Drona Dewi

Name: Drona Dewi
Job: Author and Mental Health First Aider
Country: Malaysia and Nepal
Age: 35

Drona Dewi is a holistic wellness trainer from a biotechnology background with more than ten years of experience in research and development. Dewi is a triple threat: she is a certified trainer, certified image consultant, and certified skincare consultant. She works as a training manager at the Medhini group, where she manages all aspects of planning and execution of training programs related to science and technology. A licensed mental health first aider, Dewi is passionate about mental health and started her research on diabetes care and lifestyle modification. In the last five years, she has ventured into wellness to improve both inner and outer beauty. Her approaches are backed by science because she believes good skincare is an investment and says a lot about one’s lifestyle. Dewi is passionate about creating awareness of the importance of lifestyle balance through science communication. Connect with her on Instagram, FacebookLinkedIn, YouTube, and website.

On making time for self-care and mental health:

“Since I need to help myself before I help others, I have a routine that puts me first before my family. I am home most of the time, and working from home, even pre covid, has put me into a fixed routine. My “me time” is in my kitchen preparing food for the family, and as a wellness mama, I find time to bond with my sons through exercise. Our exercise time is added to my routine because it is critical, and I see my body as a temple. The best part of founding Drona Wellness is I get to practice what I preach. Drona means balance in Sanskrit, and wellness is a lifestyle. Whenever I am sharing with my clients, I feel more empowered because it reminds and reassures me of my wellness knowledge and how I can improve. Seeing science in everything brings me joy! I do not try to reinvent the wheel. Instead, I share my points based on science-backed research findings. I am co-author of “Life is a Gift: Loving You,” a beautiful anthology covering a wide range of subjects aimed at teaching one how to love oneself unconditionally along the journey through life.”

On a surprising fact about the skin and health connection:

“While the connection between skin and health needs a holistic approach, spiritual beauty is especially important because it is how you feel about yourself emotionally. Spiritual beauty is the Tejas (Sanskrit word), meaning the radiant energy that gives the glow from activities and actions such as love, truthfulness, kindness, face yoga, and exercise to release feel-good hormones. These will assist you in dealing with stress and emotional difficulties. I have met people without skincare routines who have good skin, and it’s because of their spiritual energy – a light that shines brightly within. One can start by having a gratitude journal and practicing mindfulness because you sometimes need to pause, breathe, and learn to love your life!”

On the role of diet in maintaining healthy skin:

“There is a famous quote, “you are what your skin eats.” What you feed yourself will be reflected on your skin, such as the deficiency of trace minerals and vitamins. Due to an increased level of free radicals from poor diet, premature aging is a common problem. A simple Skin Profiling Analysis can check if there is an imbalance in the body using the elements of oriental analysis, and the results will show the imbalance on the skin surface. This method has been used, since ancient times, even before the advancement of technology. One sentence that sums it all is glowing skin, glowing health.” Read more about beauty stereotypes in older women.

On improving both nutrition and skin health:

“Embracing our genetic makeup is important. The 40/60 rule of 40 percent nature (genes) and 60 percent nurture (environment) is the key to understanding the relationship with the skin. We need to have the courage to love ourselves wholeheartedly. As a mental health first aider, I get people to rediscover their purpose in life. We often need to pause, breathe, and be grateful for life! When you feel good about yourself and eat good food, then good genes get turned on, AND good skincare works wonders. People are into quick fixes and investing in cosmetic surgery and skincare, trying to improve their skin and beauty when often a simple improvement in diet, health mindset, exercise, skincare, and makeup routine can dramatically improve the health of skin cells. This month, I am starting a series called Let’s Talk Wellness about different science-backed trends.

On her future goals:

“I would love to coach and help businesses and entrepreneurs in the health, beauty, and wellness industries. I also want to provide solutions to their needs, opinions, and ideas by communicating science better. For example, over-claiming a product as ‘chemical-free’ does a disservice to the consumer. Instead, it is better to communicate in a more specific way, such as naming the toxic or harsh chemicals to be avoided in skincare or food. I plan to influence the world with science-backed research on the holistic approach to a better lifestyle. Just like Dr. Rangan Chatterjee! It includes relaxing more, eating smart, moving better, and clever sleeping. Post-COVID, a new religion will be born, the religion of “lifestyle,” and this has made my goals more achievable in a sustainable way. Because even now, people realize the importance of a healthy lifestyle and are looking for creative ways to attain it. Wish me luck!”

When you feel good about yourself and eat good food, then good genes turn on, and good skincare works wonders.

Drona Dewi, B.S.

Why More Older Adults Are Playing Video Games

Video games have become a mainstream activity among older adults who have found functional utility and pleasure in gaming. With better access and ease of use, older adults are using video games to reduce stress, maintain mental sharpness, connect, and to have fun. According to a survey conducted by the AARP, which included 3737 people aged 50 or older, 47 percent of respondents reported playing video games every day. The average respondent spent five hours every week playing video games on tablets, phones, game consoles, or computers. According to the study, the 50-59 age group is experiencing the most significant spike, which is an interesting fact, as this is the generation that grew up playing Ms. Pac-Man and Atari.

While teenagers and especially boys are still the most avid gamers, the grandparents are emerging as an essential player group. An AARP survey reported that more than 10 million U.S. citizens above the age of video had become video gamers between 2016 and 2019. There were more than 40 million gamers in the target age group in 2016, and this number has grown to more than 50 million in 2019. It has a massive implication for companies such as Nintendo and Electronic Arts (EA) that may now create more products targeted towards the older adult market.

According to Dr. Anne McLaughlin, an engineering psychologist, and professor at North Carolina State University, older adult experiences may be enriched, depending on the type of game played. McLaughlin, who was part of the team that conducted the digital games case study, says that the highest benefits usually come from unfamiliar games. Challenging and new games rather than familiar but challenging are thus the right combination because completely new tasks form new pathways in your brain.” For persons who are just new to the world of gaming, it is essential to start with much simpler games such as Solitaire, online chess, and scrabble. The case study also found that both occasional and regular video gamers benefited a lot from playing. Older adults reported significantly lower rates of depression, better health, more excellent social functioning, and well-being as compared to non-gamers.

While playing to enhance mental acuity is great, some older adults play video games for the sense of community it provides. As such, it is not surprising to find older adults who enjoy video games, especially multiplayer games such as World of WarCraft or Super Mario. According to Greg Portell, head of global consumer industries and retail price at Kearney consulting firm, video games provide a sense of interaction and virtual community because of the isolation many older adults feel. Loneliness and social isolation in older adults are serious public health risks associated with dementia and other serious medical conditions.

Given the many benefits of gaming for older adults, digital entertainment has turned into some form of clinical therapy. The science is still in the formative stage, but studies show that video gaming can address loneliness and loss of purpose that many older adults experience. According to Dr. Kathrin Gerling, an assistant professor of computer science at KU Leuven, a research university in Belgium, gaming restores a sense of accomplishment and agency for older persons. Her paper titled “Designing Video Games for Older Adults and Caregivers” examined the design of interactive technologies to support caregiving relationships through play. Accessible game design and its impact on older adults is a critical area of focus, which can further improve the demographic’s uptake of video games. It can be a very empowering experience for an older gamer to thrive and feel a sense of belonging in an activity that mostly involves younger adults.

Edited by Global Health Aging

New Book Calls On Government To Prioritize Aging Research

A newly released book by first-time author, Breanna Deutsch, proclaims that the world’s largest and most pressing healthcare issue is none other than what the majority of people consider an unwavering part of life: aging. Deutsch asserts that the leading cause of the world’s most critical health conditions—chronic diseases that lead to organ failure, heart problems, immune issues, and a general decline in quality of life, all boil down to the body’s aging process.

In Finding the Fountain: Why Government Must Unlock Biotech’s Potential to Maximize Longevity, Deutsch demands that governments direct more resources to tackle the issue of aging, in particular by taking advantage of biotechnology. She also stresses that while aging may seem inevitable, much can be done to impede, reverse, and possibly even prevent it altogether. For example, IV Therapy promises to help boost immunity, but IV therapy costs are not low-cost. Consumers should also be aware that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not monitor the supplements in IV therapy. 

As a resource that adopts and encourages others to embrace a positive view of aging as a healthy, normal part of life, our goal is to also encourage and welcome honest dialogue with those we disagree with, such as Deutsch. This is because everyone is growing older, older people still exist, and the aging population, like other age groups, brings both challenges and opportunities.

Deutsch suggests that although global life expectancy has gone up in recent years—the United Nations estimates it at a record 72.6 years—the assortment of ailments that plague the elderly makes the uptick in years hardly worth it. She claims that while technologies exist to combat the cell death that leads to aging, these treatments often face roadblocks which prevent them from making it to hospitals or centers that are accessible to the everyday person.

While we agree with Deutsch that aging increases vulnerability to age-associated diseases, we disagree that the increase in life expectancy is hardly worth it. There are benefits with living longer, from increased productivity to boost the economy, to intergenerational connections that give the child and the older adult a sense of purpose. The fact people are living longer but not necessarily healthier does not imply that aging is at fault. Instead, it means we have and continue to put little focus on prevention.

Healthy aging does not begin when we are older adults. It starts in our younger years. How young? As soon as we arrive in this world! Putting a greater focus on tackling social determinants of health (SDOH) will reap faster dividends than current biotechnology therapies for aging and longevity, which are either expensive or not FDA-cleared or approved. We need more research and better resource allocation into SDOH because, for several years, SDOH has only been popular among public health practitioners and recently moved into the policy domain.

We also cannot forget that beyond focusing on genetics plays a critical role in how we age. For example, family studies demonstrated that about 25 percent of the variation in human longevity is due to genetic factors. However, promoting proven public health interventions can help mitigate chronic conditions that accompany aging.

As both scientists and science communicators, our team at GHA are careful about current language toward aging, which could lead to ageism. Because, at the moment, everyone is growing older, older people still exist, and the aging population, like other age groups, brings both challenges and opportunities.

Deutsch’s book offers a step toward the future by putting pressure on the government to aid its citizens in taking care of their overall health. While we take a different approach, we also believe in prioritizing the goal of prevention and allocating the necessary funds to reach it. Ultimately, the saying prevention is better than cure always rings true.

Edited by Global Health Aging.

Four Science-Backed Home Remedies for Adult Diaper Rash

In Japan, where adult incontinence products have outsold baby diaper sales since around 2013 due to low birthrate and rapidly aging population, older adults wearing incontinence briefs may suffer allergic reactions from materials used and added fragrances in incontinence products.

Signs and symptoms of diaper rash include small raised lumps, dry and peeling skin; burning and itchy skin; painful and tender areas; and inflammation and infected patches of skin.

Older adults wearing incontinence briefs may experience allergic reactions from materials used and added fragrances in incontinence products. It is, therefore, essential to change incontinence briefs often and regularly. Many sufferers of adult diaper rash may benefit from natural remedies that contain therapeutic benefits in a non-clinical way. These include:

  • Soothing Aloe Gel

Aloe Vera Gel or creams can help to soothe irritated and inflamed skin, or you could use aloe direct from the plant source. It’s natural healing properties reduce inflammation of all forms of burn and skin irritations.

  • Essential Oil Spray

The healing power of essential oils can work wonders for any skin type. Add a ¼ cup of water to ½ a cup of pure Almond oil, three drops of pure lavender oil, and 3-4 drops of tea tree oil. Shake the mixture together, making sure it’s mixed well. Then spray the affected area twice before putting on either an incontinence pad or underwear.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar Washes

You could consider using Cider Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar as it contains natural anti-bacterial properties. Cider Vinegar and Apple Cider Vinegar is a quick solution to getting rid of irritating diaper rash. Mix a cup of either Apple Cider Vinegar or Cider Vinegar into warm bath water, wipe gently with a damp cloth. Warning: Be careful of severe rashes or open wounds. Do not use this method to treat diaper rash if you have broken skin.

  • Porridge Oat Infused Bath

Porridge oats can soothe and heal the skin when used to treat diaper rash in adults or babies. Add half of a cup of porridge oats to a piece of cheesecloth or a material similar, wrap them up carefully, trying to avoid the oats escaping into the bathwater completely, and relax in the soothing oaty water. Babo Botanicals, a New York–based plant-based skin care brand offers an oat product that helps prevent redness, inflammation and diaper rash here – https://www.babobotanicals.com/blogs/from-the-doctors/adult-diaper-rash

Edited by Global Health Aging

Shining A Light On Elder Abuse In THE usa

There are many shocking stories about the way older people have been treated by friends, family members, and even nursing home employees.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), elder abuse can lead to physical injuries – ranging from minor scratches and bruises to broken bones and disabling injuries – and serious, sometimes long-lasting, psychological consequences, including depression and anxiety. For older people, the consequences of abuse can be especially serious and take a longer time to recover.

Approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse. Some estimates range as high as 5 million elders who are abused each year. Victims often become more confused, frail, and unhappy with their circumstances as they are abused and exploited. Older adults, in particular, need advocates, such as elder abuse lawyers, health professionals, and social service agencies, among others.

In addition to the health and social problems linked to elder abuse, older adults are left feeling undervalued and underappreciated, a sobering fact that another human being would deem another human being less than them.

As stated in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, “…all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, which among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Older adults deserve to be treated with dignity, feel loved, and cared for since every life across the age spectrum is precious. If not, ageism (discrimination and stereotyping based on age) will continue to prevail because ageism is linked to elder abuse. Health care professionals can help to revolutionize society through health education, empowerment, and advocacy.

Elder abuse is more common than anyone might think. It is a critical public health issue that results in poor health outcomes and increased mortality among older adults of all races, cultures, sexual orientations, social classes, geographic areas, faith communities, mental capacities, and physical abilities. Until service providers work together to address this problem, elder abuse will continue with devastating societal implications for older adults and their loved ones.

This is part of a series about aging in the twenty-first century.

Are These Issues With Age Becoming More Common?

Health issues often seem like a fact of life, particularly as we get older. Some health conditions common in older people include high blood pressure or diabetes, depression, and oral health problems. Here are three issues to be aware of and how they impact our lives.

Hearing Loss

As you age, it is common to develop issues with hearing. However, it’s worth noting that these days, hearing issues are becoming a lot more common and developing far earlier than they used to. For instance, research shows that personal listening devices, even during our younger years, can negatively impact hearing. Loud noises can also cause sudden or permanent hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss is painless and usually happens over time. Symptoms of hearing loss are increased concentration, muffled sounds, and avoidance of social events. Without treatment, such as hearing aids or cochlear implants, hearing loss will get gradually worse over time. 

Chronic Pain 

Chronic pain is a common, complex, and distressing problem that has a profound impact on society and individuals. It is now a concern in developed countries due to lifestyle choices and work environments. One of the most common forms of chronic pain during work time is repetitive strain injury, also known as RSI and repetitive motion disorder. RSI is a general term used to describe the pain felt in muscles, nerves, and tendons caused by repetitive movement and overuse. Companies and corporations should provide ergonomic furniture options, such as standing desks, laptop stands, and monitor stands, that could provide a tremendous benefit to employee health and wellness.


Obesity is becoming more of a problem for every country because most people are not getting the right diet that their body needs to stay at a healthy weight. Communities are continuing to buy into the myth that healthy food is more expensive than unhealthy food, regardless of evidence. While chia-seed smoothies are expensive luxury food, basic nourishment like carrots, lentils, potatoes is cheap. There are also socio-economic factors (income, education, employment, community safety, and social supports) at play that affect our ability to make healthy choices. For instance, people on low incomes are more likely to buy calorie-dense foods instead of fruit or vegetables because they are more filling. Raising awareness of the health risks associated with obesity while still treating people with dignity and respect can encourage ALL people to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

This is part of a series about aging in the twenty-first century.

The Changing Face Of Global HealthCare

The world of healthcare has changed enormously in the past few years. Many people are now prioritizing their health and wellness, from using exercise apps and wearable technology to raising awareness about specific health conditions. As the healthcare sector continues to evolve in so many different ways, health professionals must understand these crucial changes for continued effective treatment and all-around healthy living.

There are so many things at the moment that are impacting global healthcare, in both positive and negative ways. And the more health professionals can do to improve this, the better it will be moving forward. Here are just a few ideas to impact the healthcare landscape.

Technology In Healthcare

The healthcare industry is constantly changing and evolving with new technologies, practices, and innovations. Technological advancements, in particular, and illness trends all have an impact on w help improve the way patients are cared for, treatments are delivered, and hospitals are run. From policy to patients and everything in-between, technology plays such a major role in the future of healthcare. For instance, robot technology caring for the aging population is on the rise, and this is something that looks set to increase in the coming years, especially as technology grows rapidly. 


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the healthcare industry. It has led to many problems with patients getting ill and hospitals becoming overwhelmed. Though in some areas, the number of cases does seem to have reduced. But we are still amid a pandemic, and it could be a long while before the world returns to a degree of normalcy. The strain of COVID-19 on healthcare systems around the world should not be overestimated, and this is something that looks set to change the way a lot of countries run and operate their healthcare systems. 

More Essential Healthcare

There is now a greater emphasis on essential healthcare, and one change in recent times includes the important elements of running a successful and fully operation hospital or doctor surgery. For instance, companies like Premier Anesthesia have played a major role in helping with this moving forward. For over nineteen years, Premier Anesthesia has carefully and intentionally developed hospital-based anesthesia practices.

There are a lot of ideas that play a massive part in essential healthcare, and it is vitally important for health professionals to come up with ideas that can play a role in delivering care and enabling health. Health professionals can continually improve their understanding of how the healthcare process works. With change comes the opportunity to play a crucial role in finding ways that can impact the world of healthcare.

This is part of a series about aging in the twenty-first century.

The Rise Of Gray Divorce In Today’s World

Gray divorce is a worldwide phenomenon, yet many individuals have never heard of it. When someone over the age of 50 gets divorced, it is known as Gray divorce. Recent data shows that among U.S. adults ages 50 and older, the divorce rate has roughly doubled since the 1990s.

Gray divorce because it has different effects than divorce earlier in life. The impact of gray divorce affects not only the individual but the family system as well. Therefore, it is critical to investigate the reasons why some couples over 50 may decide to get a divorce.

A study reported that the onset of an empty nest, retirement, or chronic illnesses was not linked to gray divorce. Instead, the authors found that the reasons for this phenomenon are very similar to that of younger divorce. Some examples are marital quality, marital duration, homeownership, and wealth. Couples who are socially and economically disadvantaged are more likely to go through a gray divorce. If an older couple is experiencing social or economic hardship, or if they are just afraid of a gray divorce, they can work to avoid it. Some practices that could help include working on communication, spending time bonding together, and keeping their marriage a focus even while there are still children in the home. Another part of strengthening marriage to avoid gray divorce is to understand the models of marriage and divorce.

There are two models of marriage in today’s world. The first is the Expressive Individualistic Model, which states that couples only value their marriage if it helps them grow personally and achieves their individual goals. Under this model, individuals would consider gray divorce if they felt that their expressive individualistic goals were not being achieved or if they have experienced long periods of unhappiness with their partners. The second is the Commitment-Based Model of marriage, which states that binding and romantic love will hold couples together unless there is a severe strain on the relationship. Couples who fit into this model tended to experience gray divorce when they were experiencing severe relationship strain.

Marital problems are common and happen for a variety of reasons. Some examples are flawed reasoning to initially marry, physical/emotional abuse, or communication problems. Other challenges that could lead to divorce are lack of emotional mutuality, affairs, and alternative relationships. Once a couple gets divorced, their life can change dramatically.

Adults who go through gray divorces face many new challenges, including deciding to date again and finding a new partner for economic and health benefits and social ties. According to a 2019 study, 22 percent of women and 37 percent of men re-partnered within ten years of gray divorce. Re-partnering could mean being remarried or cohabitating. Re-partnering through cohabiting occurred more than remarriage, especially for men. Surprisingly, the rate of divorce is 2.5 times higher for those that have been remarried.

More research needs to be done on the gray divorce. It is an important topic of study for individuals going through a gray divorce or supporting others experiencing marital strain that could lead to divorce.

Logan Nuttall is a senior at Brigham Young University. Connect with Logan via email.

past lessons, future directions

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