How can I help cure aging?

Maintain quality of life

Many older people are “sick” according to classic medical criteria: They regularly take medication because of a chronic illness, even if they may not feel sick themselves, or at least not all the time.

In chronic diseases, drug therapy aims to prevent long-term complications. This applies equally to younger and older patients.

In old age, however, there is another important aspect: It is important to maintain physical and mental functionality. Because if you can manage to some extent in everyday life, you also have many more opportunities to spend a self-determined retirement. Above all, physical functionality is important. Older people must - in the truest sense of the word - keep moving.

The scientists of the research network "AEQUIPA - Physical Activity, Justice and Health: Primary Prevention for Healthy Aging" develop, test and evaluate exercise programs for older people. Your goal is to develop an offer that specifically counteracts the aging process - for example muscle loss - and appeals to senior citizens equally. The offers are intended to motivate older people to exercise more through the use of assistive technologies. In addition, the researchers work with selected municipalities to develop community health promotion strategies for this target group. In this way, researchers and actors from practice and politics work closely together so that the offers actually reach people

Many measures can help to maintain physical activities such as self-sufficiency, walking or climbing stairs in old age. It seems simple, but very important, is to prevent accidents, especially falls. An elderly person who has to lie in bed with a broken hip joint for several weeks after a fall can find it difficult to get back on their feet. It is not uncommon for a fall and the associated longer recovery time to lead to restrictions in everyday and social life. Those affected are then dependent on the help and support of other people. After a hospital stay, professional rehabilitation can help make everyday life possible again.

The risk of falling for older people can be reduced significantly within one year through targeted programs - such as the Bavarian Fall Prevention Program. This is borne out by the results of a study funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. In their follow-up project, the researchers are investigating whether the risk of falling remains permanently reduced even after participation has ended and how the prevention program can be integrated into everyday life in Bavarian nursing homes "Long-term evaluation of the Bavarian fall prevention program in nursing homes (LongFall)".

Another pillar are medical-technical interventions that aim to remedy specific deficits that stand in the way of physical functionality. The traditional walking stick is now supplemented by measures such as joint replacement or a neuro-implant that sends electrical impulses to the muscles and thus compensates for a weak foot, for example. Both are not primarily aimed at extending life, but rather at ensuring that the body functions and that the quality of life and independence of the person is maintained.

Always full of your senses

Senses, which are important for maintaining physical activity and therefore part of the quality of life, are often the first to weaken in old age. Loss of vision or hearing can have different consequences, which also affect the psyche of the person. Detecting visual and hearing disorders early and taking effective countermeasures is therefore an important factor in maintaining joy, health and well-being in old age.

The sense of balance is usually the first sense in humans, which decreases with age. Disturbances of the sense of balance are often initially compensated for by the sense of sight. However, if the eyes deteriorate with age, not only does it become more difficult to see, but physical mobility is also significantly restricted.

Hearing impairments have a profound effect on social life. Because those affected find it increasingly difficult to follow a conversation - especially in a room with background noise. According to recent data, only one in five people between the ages of 61 and 70 can hear well. About the same number are profoundly hard of hearing. Between the ages of 71 and 80, around every third person is severely hard of hearing. Beyond the age of 80, it is more than one in two. Modern hearing aids can support these people. The hearing contact lens, for example, an in-the-ear hearing aid, also helps those affected with severe hearing loss.

Mentally active and socially integrated

Quality of life in old age goes beyond maintaining physical functionality and sensory performance. If loneliness and the development of depression in old age are to be counteracted, the maintenance or at least extensive maintenance of mental health is important, especially the prevention of dementia.

The German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases V. (DZNE) researches the causes of disorders of the nervous system and develops strategies for prevention, therapy and care. It cooperates closely with universities, their clinics and non-university institutions.
The DZNE is one of six centers for health research (DZG) set up by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research to combat the most important common diseases.

There is still a considerable need for research in this area in particular. Scientists now know that the path to dementia begins early in life - long before the memory disorders become noticeable. The first mechanisms that could help prevent dementia from occurring are currently being identified. Regular physical and mental exercise seem to play a role here, as does diet. It is also known that dementias occur less frequently when blood pressure is well controlled.

If a disease is no longer curable, those affected can find help in palliative care. The doctors take care of your symptoms and try to alleviate them. Your goal is to offer those affected the best possible quality of life. It is not just about relieving physical ailments. Often it is precisely psychological or social stress that people suffer from at the end of their lives. The desires and well-being of the patient are decisive for palliative treatment.