1. At what age are people considered to be “old” in China?
That is really a big question. People’s views much be divided on this. From my perspective, …
The easiest way to divide the old from all is to judge according to the chronological age. In the past, people over 70s are considered to be old, but this line has been shifted gradually with the time goes by, because people nowadays live much longer than before. Many older people can still make great contribution to the society, so broadly speaking, I think, those over 80s, or those who are no longer physically capable can be regarded as just entering the twilight life.
The biological age has no longer been the only judgment, because the real psychological age and the physical fitness differ from person to person, and they seem to be more important for others to decide whether the person is qualified as “old” or not.
Broadly speaking, when people are over their 50s, they will gradually feel that they are getting older. Indeed, the physical and mental condition do decrease year by year, with a higher possibility of suffering from diseases and less tolerant and acceptable to different opinions and new ideas.
I firmly believe that being “old” is simply connected with the state of mind. If one loses passion for life, they are indeed becoming old. This is why, in China, we tend to describe someone who show very little enthusiasm to life as an old bookish man.
2. Why do old people today live longer than in the past?
The advance in medical service means that more diseases become curable and can be easily diagnosed at an early age. Senile diseases such as diabetes and hypertension are less common among the older pensioner and most of them can even live very long with the illness being uncured permanently.
Food nutrition has also been largely improved, not only because of the development in farming skills but also because of the fertilizers that are used to ensure a higher proportion of diverse types of vitamins being reserved during the planting process within a less time period.
Another important factor is the widespread scientific reports that emphasize the positive effects of regular exercise on people’s physical fitness, so most of the modern people become more aware of the importance of doing sports and many older people, with more time available after retirement, participate actively in various sorts of sports.
Besides, regular health check has been required by most companies nowadays in China and younger people also arrange this activity for their aging parents. It is now fair to say that many potential health hazards can be easily found in advance and therefore be avoided eventually.
More attention has been paid for the aging society, so government and private charity groups have set up many nursing house and other accessible facilities for the senior citizens, which means generally, a higher living standard can be expected and people then live much longer under a better welfare system.
3. What are some things a person can do to help them live longer?
An obvious answer is to take part in more outdoor activities because it can enhance the immune system and further build up the physical fitness. Especially in an outdoor atmosphere, we can breathe more fresh air and speed up the process of metabolism.
Regular health check should be taken on a, at least, yearly basis. So that diseases can be found well before it poses any threat to our body and our mind.
Also, I would suggest people to frequently talk to their friends and family members, particularly on the occasion of feeling stressful or facing difficulties. By expressing one’s emotion feely, one can actually easily release the negative emotion and find hope in life, which seems to be more important than just being healthy physically.
Even though the modern life has set higher demand for most people, in order to live longer, people should constantly adjust their goals to keep pace with their ability at the time. Pushing oneself too much is definitely detrimental to the expansion of longevity.
In any stage of one’s life, people should choose to participate in the things that interest them most instead of those impose heavy mental pressure and make them hopeless all the time.
A simple solution could be the reduction of TV time and Internet addiction and to spend more time on reading books or other mentally healthy activities, such as playing chess or listening to the music.
4. Are the attitudes of young people today towards old people the same as they used to be, years ago?
I personally didn't see any change in recent decade. Younger people are still very respectful and willing to talk and receive suggestions from the older ones.
As for me, I usually believe that the elderly are more vulnerable than the younger people, so I’m always willing to help them and I think this attitude is shared by most youngsters.
Unfortunately, we become less respectful of the older people, and almost indifferent to their request. For example, when an older person fall down on the street, very few people, especially the youth, will step up and give a hand immediately, because we worry about being defrauded of money by them, since similar occasions did happen in the past when some unlawful old people commit crime like this.
In previous time, we believe that older people have very rich experience, but the world is changing too fast. The wisdom they have become less practical in the modern-day society. So we are less likely to rely on them.
Some of the older generation are indeed more conservative, so younger people, who are interested in making changes and trying new things, are not very much willing to spend time with the aged.
Generally, it depends on the personality of each individual. Some may only want to communicate with people in similar age, others value the intrinsic character more, rather than the age.