Hesperian Health Guides
Chapter 8: Growing Older
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Today more and more people are living longer. Cleaner living conditions, vaccinations and better nutrition help prevent many diseases and modern medicines cure others.
But longer life has also brought difficulties. First, older people tend to have more health problems than younger people. Although most of these problems are not caused by age itself, the changes age makes in a person’s body can make the problems more serious or difficult to treat.
Second, as the world changes and younger family members move away from their communities to earn a living, many older people are left to care for themselves. Or, if they do live with their children, older people may feel like a burden in a family or community that no longer values and respects age.
Older women are more likely to face these problems than older men, because women usually live longer and often reach old age without a partner. So in this chapter we describe how older women can take care of their health, treat common health problems of aging, and work to improve the difficult conditions under which many older women live.