How Aging Affects Women

For some, aging can be a terrifying thought, while others accept it and learn to see the benefits. For women, especially, aging has a complicated relationship with beauty (just look at the multi-billion dollar anti-aging cream industry) and self-esteem. However, for women, fear of aging may not be as legitimate as it might be for men, as a growing body of evidence is revealing that alongside the negative impacts of aging that everybody experiences, aging brings positives to women.

Psychologically

Overall mental health, including self-esteem and body-positivity, actually improves for women as they age. Women feel a higher general life satisfaction, as well as marital satisfaction when the children leave home. They also feel less lonely and may socialize more, which is why senior communities are such a popular choice for women as they age.

Levels of depression, anxiety, and loneliness are typically found to be lower among middle-aged and older-aged women compared to those levels before 35 as psychological resilience increases. Psychologist Susan Nolen-Hoeksema notes that women’s lives typically get better due to ‘tremendous psychological strengths’ that help them to navigate health care, retirement income, and identity changes. The ability to maintain and develop strong and close relationships leads to massive emotional strength that flourishes in older age, helping them to celebrate elderly life as a time for them to be full of love and fulfillment for their achievements and who they have grown to be.

Physically

Everybody knows that aging gives your wrinkles, but a woman’s body responds differently to age due to menopause. Menopause causes a sudden change in biological functioning, while a man’s body responds much more gradually. Higher life expectancy is found in women all across the world, across almost all cultures and countries. There are many different theories about why this is, ranging from men living unhealthier lives to women’s bodies being built to last longer so they can ensure that their children receive motherly support for longer. Their hearts tend to have higher longevity, too, with a later onset of heart disease occurring in women.

Men gain weight until their mid-50’s, while women gain weight until their mid-60’s, after which they start to lose weight due to muscle loss. This extra period of time before muscle loss may help to slow the physical degradation of aging in women, making them relatively stronger compared to their younger selves than men at the same age.

There is a relationship between the physical health of women and their psychological health. Psychologically strong women develop better immune systems, better cholesterol management, and better neuroendocrine system regulation, which all could contribute to female bodies being healthier than male bodies as they age.

These positive changes aren’t observed in all women, which highlights the importance of fostering a caring, loving friendship group and focusing on relationship development throughout life, as these help with emotional development and overall psychological wellbeing. Doctors are starting to understand that what is good for your body is good for your mind and vice-versa, so taking care of yourself mentally and physically is the best thing you can do to enjoy older age.

Thanks to Zaklina

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