Old Age

My definition of health was that your body is both physically and mentally in good condition and free of any complications or symptoms. My definition of illness was any issue with your health either physically or mentally. The criteria I thought about was that there are relatively obvious issues or symptoms which help identify illness. Also that lack of these symptoms indicated health. I also focused on the fact that they are both body and mind.  There are obviously a lot of different places that these  criteria come from. A big one is school because what I think we’re just expected to believe everything we’re taught and assume it’s fact. Family is also a big one because you also grow up trusting your family and believing that everything they say is also correct. Personal experience is also very important because, for example, some people may not think that depression is a real illness and that it is all in your head until they personally experience having it or someone in their life having to deal with it. Lastly, I think that society/the internet/the media plays a big part because they may even subconsciously lead you to believe the illnesses they focus on are the only important ones. Or, for example, companies and the media often focus on people’s insecurities or lead them to believe they have something wrong with them in order to sell a product. The reason I chose old age for my title was that I had trouble identifying whether or not it was an illness. It kind of fit into my definition of illness in that your mind and body may be less than perfect and showing symptoms of medical complications. I would not, however, consider it an illness though because old age does not necessarily always come with health issues. A second condition on the list was anxiety. I considered anxiety an illness because it affects your mental health and in some cases your physical health. People with anxiety also show symptoms which also makes it easy to identify it as an illness.

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  1. Sarah Newman says:

    I think your definition is very interesting. In Japan, old age is considered a very good thing. Often elderly people in Japan are regarded as intelligent and almost god-like. The younger generations in the Japanese culture believe that because someone is older they have experienced more in their lives, as well as, have more knowledge to share with the world. Interestingly enough, compared to American culture where everyone is afraid of growing old, Japanese culture allows people to embrace aging as a beautiful thing! Unlike American culture, where we throw our old people into homes and forget about them, Elderly people in Japan are traditionally cared for by their offspring. Instead of feeling weighted down by having older people live in their home, the sons and daughters of the older generation think of taking care of their parents as honorary and respectful. To the Japanese culture, old age and aging in general is not an illness, however, a sign of good health and intelligence. The health care system in Japan even pays for 80-90% of all elderly people’s medical bills because the government wants older people continuing to live and speak wisdom to the younger generation. The younger generation learns traditional culture practices from the older age people in Japan.

    Pilling, David. “How Japan Stood up to Old Age.” FT Magazine, January 17, 2014

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