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Signs of Getting Old

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes articles that are interesting to her readers.


The process of growing old is called "aging." It is also spelled "ageing." Both spellings are acceptable. All human beings, animals and plants begin to die the same minute they begin to live. Therefore, we die as we age.

The space between the time we are born and the time we die represents the accumulations of many changes that have taken place to us physically, psychologically, mentally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. From that list, you can see that no parts of us remain the same.

About 150,000 people die every single day across the world. About two-thirds of them die from age-related causes.

People Age Differently

Even though everyone dies slowly day by day, some signs might not be noticed immediately. There are some people who seem to look like they age overnight. Friends who have not seen each other in a long time might be shocked when they meet years later because they have aged so much.

Most people do not look the same way at class reunions that they looked when they left high school years earlier. Since everyone doesn't age the same way, some people at the same physical age might look much older than their former classmates.

Common Signs

Even though people age at different rates, and to different degrees, there are some common signs of the aging process. Some of those signs and symptoms of aging include greater risks in the following areas:

  • The skin begins to wrinkle, crack and sag.
  • Hearing loss begins in some people around 75 years old.
  • By age 80, more than half of all Americans have cataracts.
  • Teeth fall out.
  • Hair turns gray or white and fall out around the age of 50.
  • Changes become obvious in posture, movement, and balance.
  • Urinary incontinence develops.
  • Forgetfulness is common.
  • Naps become necessary during the day.
  • Nails grow more slowly as one gets older.
  • Weight loss is noticed after 55 in men and after 65 in women because of the loss of muscle tissue.
  • Between 60–64, osteoarthritis rises to 53 percent. The joint disease comes from the breakdown of joint cartilage and underlying bone. Joint pain and stiffness are results of osteoarthritis. Some older people need hip or knee replacements.

There might not be visible signs of aging with the naked eye. The aging process is clearly noticeable when people go to the hospital and certain tests are administered. X-rays and MRIs and other tests show how people have ages internally.

Woman with gray hair and wrinkled skin

Woman with gray hair and wrinkled skin

Skin Changes

The skin is the most visible sign of aging. Even though the other signs might be obvious to individuals, they might not be obvious to others immediately. For instance, urinary incontinence is private.

Hearing aids are so small and modernized these days that people wear them without others knowing it. There are cosmetics that can cover some of the skin changes, but most changes in the skin are ever-present.

  • The skin of older people gets thinner and becomes less elastic. Thin skin is more prone to lines, cracks, and wrinkles, especially around the eyes and the mouth because they move the most.
  • Sweat glands produce less sweat.
  • Age spots develop on areas that are exposed to the sun.
  • The skin is stretched because of gaining and losing weight as well as gravity.
  • Older adults have dry and dull skin because it doesn't produce as much natural moisture as it did when they were younger.
  • Because blood vessel walls become weaker and thinner over time, the skin can become easily bruised.
  • Sometimes open pores show up on the face, back, chest, and upper arms.
  • Moles appear on the face, neck, shoulders, and on other parts of the body.

Aging Is Inevitable

Even though there are many plastic surgeries that can hide some aging, there are none that can prevent aging from occurring. If people continue living, they will continue to age.

It bothers some people to get old. Some people say women age more gracefully than men. However, the bottom line is that it really depends on the person. If a person, whether male or female, wasn't graceful as a young adult, the person wouldn't be graceful as an elderly person.

Watch this 80-year-old bodybuilder.

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Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on August 25, 2019:

Tim, you offered very good advice that I hope my other readers will pay attention to. It does help to have a positive attitude about getting old. I know that principle works to help a person get well when he or she is sick. I didn't think about it working that way with aging until you brought it to my attention.

As usual, thanks for your helpful comments.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on August 25, 2019:

You are welcome, Margaret. I completely agree with you as a writer and wise person all of which comes out in your well written article. Interestingly enough, according to the Baltimore Longitudinal Study, more of the plaques associated with Alzhemer and dementia were found in older individualss' brain who held negative views on aging (decline, debilitating, etc.). However, those who thought aging was associated with wisdom, guidance, leadership, and other positive attributes had fewer of these plaques. The scientists concluded the way we think about aging can influence the brain.

Your article hits every one of those points right on the mark.

May your day be peaceful and blessed, Margaret.

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on August 25, 2019:

Tim, I grew up in the South where older people were admired for their wisdom and respected for their age. I thought when my generation got older, we would be admired and respected the same way. I am finding out that it is not happening like that. Times have changed from those days back in the South in the earlier days.

Thanks so much for your comments about aging biologically and the cultural perception of the process.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on August 25, 2019:

I know the changes in aging occur biologically, at the cellular level, but how the culture emphasizes or respects aging can impact the rate of aging. Perception has been shown to effect aging. In the west, the youth of an individual is stressed in cultural interactions while this is not true in other parts of the globe. We can't get around the biological changes, but whether we "act our age" can be a cultural perception of the process. Thanks for a well written article, Margaret, filled with rich information.

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on August 24, 2019:

Thanks, Betty for reading, commenting and sending the link. I watched the video and was amazed at the bodybuilder who can do so much at her age.

Betty A F from Florida on August 24, 2019:

Great article Margaret,

I certainly do not relish growing older. I saw this video a few days ago of a woman in her eighties who is a body builder. If you have time, it's well worth the watch. She looks fantastic, strong and she's in better physical shape than most who are half her age. Though there are always signs of aging regardless of what we do, I hope I can achieve at least half of what she's managed to do.

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