Old Age

I defined health as “being in a state of physical, mental, and emotional well-being” and illness as “not in a state of well-being of the physical, mental or emotional sense”. I tried to take a holistic approach to looking at health and illness by including multiple states of being (physical, mental and emotional) in my definitions. Coming up with these definitions I tried to keep in mind that “health” and “illness” mean different things to different peoples in different cultures.
My definition of health resembles that of the WHO’s because in a previous anthropology course I have taken that is the definition we had always used and thought of when talking about health. My criteria for determining the definitions of health and illness stemmed from previous anthropology courses I have taken, such as ANP 370- Culture, Health and Illness and ANP 270- Women and Health: Anthropological and International Perspectives. I have learned a great deal about how other cultures perceive health and illness much differently from the typical western view.
Old age was one of the conditions from the list that proved really hard to decide whether or not it was an illness by my definition. The effects of old age are very dependent on the individual. Some individuals may struggle with immobility as they age, while other are able to move around without assistance. Some individuals may develop mental illness or memory loss, while others do not. In cases where older individuals have problems with mobility or a mental illness or memory loss than by my definition they would be considered ill, but if they were older individuals that did not have these conditions than they would not be considered ill by my definition. Overall, a person won’t necessarily be “not in a state of well-being of the physical, mental or emotional sense” just because they are of old age.
Anxiety was one of the conditions that quite clearly fit my definition. Anxious individuals are usually distressed and display nervous behaviors therefore an anxious individual would not be in a state of mental or emotional well-being.

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