Old Age

My definition of good health is a status quo of daily life free of indicators of illness.  These indicators, or symptoms, could include sneezing, coughing, pain, or other discomforts.  I sustained a knee injury playing hockey in high school.  I would sometimes whine about it to my mother.  She used to say, “When I was your age, I didn’t know I had knees!”  I consider good health to be an absence of bodily distractions.

Illness, on the contrary, would be incidences in which a marked change in bodily function is experienced.  Any break from this status quo could be regarded as illness. Weight gain could be considered as an illness, even if it doesn’t necessarily carry any debilitating effects.

I’m not entirely sure where these definitions originated, but I can take a few guesses.  Throughout my life, both of my parents have been employed by the State in some capacity.  Currently one teaches here at MSU and another at an elementary school in Okemos. I have always had very good health insurance and have never had to shy away from doctor’s appointments due to financial insecurity.  Because of this, and being active in sports for so many years, I have grown to pay close attention to my body.  I know when I am in need of some sort of medical intervention.

Old Age – Old Age, by my definition, can contribute to illness, but is not necessarily an illness in itself.  As a person grows older, their body can start to wear out.  But this is natural and something that every person experiences because of the stress of daily life, so I would not consider it an illness.  However, there are illnesses that are associated with an older body, such as bad joints or Parkinson’s. These are specific illnesses caused by specific phenomena, so we can identify and treat them as illnesses.

Shyness- I would not consider shyness an illness, more of a state of mind.  Although, it is something that can probably be treated through therapy and rectified.  I suppose if it were to the point of limiting options for a person then it could be considered an illness, but i feel like shyness would probably be an indicator of a bigger problem rather than an illness itself.

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  1. Jesse Miller says:

    Old age is treated very differently in most cultures, the two cultures that I would like to compare is American culture and Korea. In American culture old age is seen as a handicap and something that should be hidden, so once they stop being able to interact with society, they move the elderly to their own separate communities where they will not get in the way of anyone else and are separate from thei families and loved ones. Where as in Korean culture, the elderly are celebrated, it is an achievement to get to an advanced age and they are treated well usually by moving in with the children that they had once raised before. This shows much respect to people with an older age, showing that they are not something that should be hidden away from society, but something that you should celebrate and keep close to their families and loved ones. These are two very different interpretations of old age, one sowing the elderly as a burden and the other as a gift that should be cherished. The differing ideologies probably arose from how the two cultures grew up and adapted to increasing elderly population in their society as the years progressed.
    Martinez-Carter , Karina. “How the elderly are treated around the world.” The Week. http://theweek.com/article/index/246810/how-the-elderly-are-treated-around-the-world (accessed July 5, 2014).

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