Fit in Old Age
Every second, two people celebrate their 60th birthday. Through their research and the resulting products, Bayer’s experts are helping the growing group of senior citizens live a life that is as active as possible. And younger generations can take steps to help prevent diseases as well, so that they can remain healthy well into their senior years.
It’s seven o’clock in the morning. Henry Cohen is just finishing his first training session. He climbs energetically out of the swimming pool. His handshake is as powerful as a weightlifter’s. Henry is 85 and lives in a neighborhood that is specially designed for elderly people. Active senior citizens like him are increasingly common. According to the United Nations World Population Prospects report, 901 million people worldwide were aged above 60 in 2015, and by 2050 this number will have doubled to more than 2 billion – that’s almost every fifth person on the planet.
“We are always looking for new and highly specific therapeutic approaches to be able to provide even better help to patients in the future,”
Dieter Weinand, member of Bayer’s Board of Management and head of the Pharmaceuticals Division
Henry is an example which shows that being old doesn’t automatically mean being sick. “But the rising life expectancy also means a higher risk for numerous disorders, many of which are chronic conditions,” says Dieter Weinand, member of Bayer’s Board of Management and head of the Pharmaceuticals Division. Typical age-related disorders include cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart attacks, eye disorders and cancer. “We are always looking for new and highly specific therapeutic approaches to be able to provide even better help to patients in the future,” explains Weinand. Accordingly, Bayer’s scientists are concentrating on new therapeutic options for conditions such as heart failure, wet age-related macular degeneration, and prostate and lung cancer. The results of this research could make it possible for elderly people to live an active life for longer.
people worldwide were aged above 60 in 2015. By 2050, this figure will have doubled to approximately 2 billion – almost every fifth person on the planet.
Source: UN report, World Population Prospects, 2015
In Delray Beach, there are regular information evenings on health issues. Dietary advisors and speakers from a number of different disciplines explain how senior citizens can stay fit for as long as possible, and how non prescription medicines can help them achieve that aim. These events are organized by Nora Gerson. “Many of my acquaintances and neighbors here suffer from classic risk factors such as hypertension and high cholesterol levels, which can be minimized through diet, exercise and an overall healthy lifestyle,” says the 79-year-old.
Nora leads a yoga group for participants aged between 60 and 93. Henry is one of her students, too. Nora stands with her legs firmly planted and folds her arms around themselves in front of her chest. Her body is calm and relaxed, her gaze focused on the middle distance. The retiree has suffered from osteoporosis and minor arthritis for more than 30 years, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at her. Sometimes the pain is overwhelming. “But I decided for myself that I won’t let it negatively affect my daily life,” says Nora. That’s why she does a lot of exercise and, like many of her friends, takes mild analgesics for their pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects.
Whether yoga, a healthy diet, exercise or just a relaxing break with a four-legged friend: There are plenty of options available to those who want to stay fit well into old age, like U.S. retirees Nora Gerson and Henry Cohen (below).
The senior citizens in Delray Beach are by no means exceptions. Many patients today are well aware of the benefits of prevention and a healthy lifestyle and are well informed about their health and the therapeutic options available, thanks in great part to the internet and digital media. “Patients are increasingly selecting medicinal products to treat minor ailments themselves,” says Erica Mann, member of the Board of Management of Bayer, head of the Consumer Health Division and Chair of the World Self-Medication Industry (WSMI). “Individuals can take steps to stay healthy and productive by easily treating colds or flu, headaches and other minor health problems.” Prevention is also becoming increasingly significant in all age groups, says Mann. Sunscreen, for example, can help to prevent skin cancer, particularly in sunny regions such as Florida. And probiotics support healthy intestinal flora, while dietary supplements ensure an adequate supply of calcium and vitamins D and B12, for example.
Bayer is the world’s second largest provider of nonprescription medicinal products and dietary supplements, and the number one in the world’s largest OTC (over-the-counter) market, the United States. Whether to treat pain, gastrointestinal complaints, hair loss or dry eyes, these products are designed to help people live a self-determined and satisfying life for as long as possible.
“Nowadays, everybody can take steps to stay healthy and productive by easily treating colds or flu, headaches and other minor health problems.”
Erica Mann, head of the Consumer Health Division
Companion animals often assume a significant role in our families, but above all have a special place in the lives of millions of older people, as a study by the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) in Toronto, Canada, shows. “Decreases in debilitating conditions such as depression, anxiety and high blood pressure are all associated with the quiet companionship of humans and pet dogs,” says Dr. Jane Barratt, Secretary General of the IFA. Owners had increased self-esteem, greater life satisfaction and more positive moods, thanks to the increased levels of relaxation-promoting messenger substances in the body. Companion animals are a high-impact and low-cost solution to remaining more active and less vulnerable to loneliness.
Henry can confirm that. “I always get chatting to people when I’m out for a walk with our dog Stella.” At the moment, they’re both sitting on the couch, but Henry will soon be on his way out again; the next training session in the pool is due to start. But that’s one activity where Stella can’t join in!