Aging can be defined as the accumulation of changes in a person. There are two main categories of modern aging theories: programmed and error aging theories. Programmed theories bring out the concept that the aging process follows a certain biological timetable (Bengston, Gans, Putney, & Silverstein, 2008, p. 12). These theories are dependent on how genes express themselves as they affect the different systems of the body. The theories under the category of damage or error aging theories state that the environment and anything that affects it contribute to the aging process of a person.
These two categories are subdivided further. The programmed theory has got three sub-categories. One is the programmed Longevity. This theory explains aging as a deficit that comes about as a result of changes in the way genes function. These changes in the way genes function can be defined as gene instability. The second sub-category is the Endocrine theory. This theory states that aging is as a result of hormonal changes in the body. The biological clock uses hormones to control the rate at which a person ages. Immunological theory, which forms the third category, explains the aging process as being a result of a weakening immunity system. A body’s immune system is strongest during the puberty years. It goes on to weaken as the years pass by, making the body more prone to diseases and finally, succumbing to death. These diseases weaken the body, quickening a body’s aging process (Bengston, Gans, Putney, & Silverstein, 2008, p. 116).
The category of damage or error aging theories includes theories such as the wear and tear. Just as the material used to make most of the things around us wears out tears up, resulting to the end of the lifespan f the object, so do the cells tissue of the body. The Rate of living theory states that the more an organism uses up oxygen, the shorter its lifespan. This has not been proven yet, and research is underway to test the credibility of the theory. The third sub-category is referred to as the Cross-linking (Bengston, Gans, Putney, & Silverstein, 2008, p. 223). This theory tries to explain the phenomenon of aging as being a consequence of piling up of cross-linked proteins. These cross-linked proteins damage body cells and tissues. The immediate effect is that body processes occur at a slower rate, quickening the rate at which an organism will age (Bengston, Gans, Putney, & Silverstein, 2008, p. 268).
One example of a nursing action based on the aging theories is the ability and skill of a nurse to find out what is happening in a person by asking the right questions about the history of the person and their kind of lifestyle (Blackburn, & Dulmus, 2007, p.235). This information is needed when conducting holistic tests. Another nursing practice is that nurses are able to maintain adequate environments to control the pace of aging. This is done by ensuring the environment is well kept and clean, and that a person is well dressed to maintain the right body temperature. Nursing practices may vary depending on the individual (Blackburn, & Dulmus, 2007, p. 241).
Of all the aging theories, the most realistic one is the immunological theory, which falls under the category of programmed theories. This is because a person whose immune system is weak has less chances to survive minor ailments such as colds. It is very possible that a person with a poor immune system does not feed well, weakening their bodies even further. These people tend to be under medication most of the times. The chemicals used to make the medicine may have negative effects on the body, thus quickening the rate at which an organism will age.
Bengtson L. Vern, Gans Daphna, Putney Norella, & Silverstein Merril. (2008). Handbook of
Theories of Aging, Second Edition. New York: Springer Publishing Company.
Blackburn A. James, & Dulmus N. Catherine. (2007).Handbook of Gerontology: Evidence-
Based Approaches to Theory, Practice, and Policy. New Jersey: John &Wiley