Dr Pierre Guillet Chronicle: The five pillars of successful aging - Chap.1
Advancing the space of healthy life
We are, today, the parent of the person we will be tomorrow. Gerontology, which is the science of evolution of living beings in time, also serve to reflect on this future. This reflection allows to prepare, based on past history and the realities of the day, what we can become with age. It includes prevention, that is to say, how to organize themselves to avoid a bad aging. The area of healthy life, that is to say life without self need anyone to ensure the actions of everyday life is to progress.
What are the pillars of a successful aging? What should you be careful, how to fix problems before it's too late? The answer to these questions came to me after a thirty years experience in general medicine, the Association of Gerontology of the thirteenth arrondissement of Paris, in a study of the main reasons that cause one day, suddenly in this or that person an abrupt change of life and an entry in the dependency. Most of the time, said older people just ask for a partial relief, regardless of their overall living conditions. Now life is moving in a succession of periods of equilibrium and crises rather than dispersing aid throughout the aging is mainly the crisis we must focus our attention. Although analyzed, they can afford to find another balance health as good as before for the person and his entourage. While unforeseen or aggravated by clumsy aid, they are to create situations of loss of autonomy.
We call frail difficulty or inability to provide only the basic needs of life: drinking, eating, elimination, but also wash, dress, and beyond, maintaining the house, manage accounts, shopping and meet other people. All of these disabilities is addictive and there are fears of old age. It may, for various reasons linked to disease or inadequate living space, needing outside help once or several times a week: it is a small frail. If you need daily assistance for many tasks, it is an average loss of autonomy. Finally, the great loss of autonomy is defined by the need to be helped 24 to 24 hours on his home or be placed in institutions, often called médicalisée.Ce assistance to old age does that on extreme periods of life, where a dependency is already apparent. Although it softens, but does not change the duration.
The gerontological balance sheet aims to identify a set of elements that determine the proper age of an individual. Then, a "dialogue" between family members, medical responders and / or social and the individual itself, enabling the latter to understand where she is, what it can count. That gives him time to be accompanied to navigate his life. See, for example, that housing is inadequate does not necessarily mean that we accept his amendment without fear. As with other life changes, it will reflect a maturing.
It is architecture that gave me the idea of "Pillars". Controlling the strength of buildings such as palaces of Venice and the Bridges of Paris requires regular monitoring of the most important pillars. Similarly, we can not consider a "successful aging" without a permanent control of the "pillars" that support the most important daily life, namely resources, housing, health, social and emotional life. In humans, only the physical health, been more or less regular assessments. But health is not the only pillar of balance of good aging. It should be read in a broader context.
Successful aging requires a harmony between health, desire and pleasure of living and ways of living. It is a balance between risk and lifestyle choices, between an individual and his environment, and each of these terms is as important as others. We will see in future columns the importance of these five pillars.