Your financial situation can accelerate the ageing process

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New research from the University of Copenhagen has found that people who have lived below the relative poverty threshold four or more times in their adult life age significantly earlier than others. 

Genetics, lifestyle and environment are all factors that influence when and how we all age. But the financial situation is also important. 

The researchers found that living four or more years with an income below the relative poverty threshold in adult life makes a significant difference as to when the body begins to show signs of ageing.

To learn more about the context, the researchers tested 5500 middle-aged persons, using various ageing markers including physical capability, cognitive function and level of inflammation.

The results were then compared with the participants’ income throughout the 22 years leading up to the test. An annual income of 60 per cent below the median income was considered relative poverty.

In this way, the researchers found that there is a significant correlation between financial challenges and early ageing. 

“Early ageing also means more treatment at an earlier age, and it is a burden both to the individual and the society,” explained study co-author Professor Rikke Lund.

“We show that poor finances are a strong indicator of early ageing; this knowledge can be used to prevent the problems.

“Many people do not necessarily experience any noticeably poorer physical capability until they are growing older and are therefore not aware that their bodies have begun to age prematurely. This means that there will be no focus on preventative measures until it is too late.”

Among other things, the researchers measured the participants’ grip strength, how many times they could get up from and sit on a chair in 30 seconds, and how high they could jump. The cognitive tests included tasks of memorising sequences.

“There is a significant difference between the test results. People who have been below the relative poverty threshold for four or more years in their adult life perform significantly worse than those who have never been below the threshold,” Prof. Lund explained.

The results showed, among other things, that the financially challenged group, relative to the comparison group, could get up and sit down two times fewer per 30 seconds, and that their grip strength was reduced by 1.2 kilograms.

In addition, the researchers measured the inflammatory level of the participants. A high inflammatory level is a sign that the body is in a state of alert and can likewise be used as a marker for illness and ageing. The study shows that the financially challenged also had higher inflammatory levels.

Have you had times in your life where you have experienced financial hardship? How many times have you been in this situation? Do you think you have aged faster as a result?

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Written by Ben

23 Comments

Total Comments: 23
  1. 0
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    im 60, three of the adult family members i cared for have died leaving me with a disabled daughter. i live on the carer pittance no superannuation , no savings. ive been on the “job ” 24/7 for 40 years , saving others a fortune while I cant even afford a tshirt my mental and physical health has and continues to deteriorate, and I cant even get the health care I need

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      I haven’t been doing it as long as you tisme but I feel for you. I care for 3 adults with disabilities varying from single to multiple disabilities. I work occasionally which helps keep my sanity.

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      Hi Tisme, sorry to hear this, I guess you have sought assistance from the many organisations out there that assist carers etc?

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      tisme, it is people like you who should be prioritised for money as you would spend it all.
      I hope you are talking to the charities who can help as your income is inadequate for sure.
      I also hope you have some friends to support you emotionally.

  2. 0
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    In this wealthy country you’d think we’d be able to afford to have our elder population living such dreadful lives; but no; 150000 homeless and food banks feeding us.
    Yet Morrison thinks it’s okay to give tax cuts to the very wealthy.
    Neil.

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      cant believe our PM thinks it’s ok to shortchange Australias needy while ‘investing’ 150 million dollars in Americas space program. Did he have ‘a mandate’ to spend this. His only evident man date is his bromance with Trump(et mouth). Come home scomo, you’re punching above your weight on the world stage. Spend your time and our money on the multitude of of needy people and organisations within our shores.

    • 0
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      Our PM may call himself a Christian but his values differ from those espoused by Jesus.

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      Our PM may call himself a Christian but his values differ from those espoused by Jesus.

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      Or how is that for wasting resources: 10 billion spent on fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq for the Americans! What a disgrace, and all with bipartisan government support. Who is in charge of this country?

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      ozirules, neither ScoMo nor trump went to the climate change emergency in New York.
      That is a disgrace. Australia was not invited to speak because we are doing such a poor job in our efforts to reduce our emissions.
      We might need Mars the way we are going and the sci-fi movies may not be so far fetched after all lol.

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      I agree with you all, this is such a disgrace and i feel for those who are doing it tough. Our PM also feels it ok to allow those on Newstart to try to exist on $250/week. What a christian fellow he is.

  3. 0
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    In this wealthy country you’d think we’d be able to afford to have our elder population living such dreadful lives; but no; 150000 homeless and food banks feeding us.
    Yet Morrison thinks it’s okay to give tax cuts to the very wealthy.
    Neil.

  4. 0
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    Spot on ozirules!

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    Tanker, you are brave indeed to claim that the PM is not the Christian he claims, but I have known many Pentecostalists, and despite my personal belief that each Christian sect may contribute something unique, – so wanting to encourage, I have found that Pentecostalists are, when Push comes to Shove, Old testament.
    This is tragic, old testament is fanatic about male domination, smiting root and branch, (genocide) and all sorts of rigid rules and stuff, as you say, is nothing to do with jesus, and particularly, Jesus Christ, notwithstanding that in their lectures, jesus is every third or fourth word.
    I guess you have to read the New Testament to understand this, but whether you believe in God or not, the New Testament is more for our future, the Old Testament, most books thereof are common with Jewish and Muslim teaching, are working for the destruction of the human race, – not that they would admit that, but, that is where they are and Global Warming, or Climate Emergency, they see as part of their sick future scenario, paying for our sins, where their version of God makes us all robot like slaves with no Free Will and no place for Love, as real love requires free will.
    Sad to be led by such lost souls, but you and me can decide otherwise, and find our own path, the path appropriate for Australia, leading to freedom and love, a hope for the future, not stuck in the arse clenching beliefs of the past, nor, I suspect, coal.

  6. 0
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    Yes I have lived in financial hardship most of my life now, was looked after as a child and did okay in the early youth but after 1990 things went down hill. I still found ways to live a healthy and positive life though, it can be done, but I do feel sorry for people like tisme who have a lot more on their plate than me. At least I have time and energy to grow a few veggies to keep me healthy and exercised.

  7. 0
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    I’m doomed. I’ve lived with financial hardship most of my life. Not asking for pity here – its just the way it turned out . I think my face does look tired but I don’t feel bad and I have seen friends with far more assets than I who do not seem any more or less content with their lives and current situation than I am. Some in fact worry extensively about things I consider to be remarkably petty and, health wise, at 67 and still on a very tight income (but I own my home) I am just grateful I live in a country with access to healthy and cheap (seasonal) food and reasonable health services and an age pension which, though a bit tight, is workable. I wonder if this article simplifies though agree that current rent levels has taken financial hardship from high to impossible. A certain amount of hardship can teach and strenghen us so would like the article to detail what exactly it is they are looking at.

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      As to you referral about expensive rent it goes both ways. In our younger years we were renting out 2 houses while paying them off. People were happy renting them and did not have exorbitant demands about modernization of the premises and we could keep the rental low. These days everyone wants the best but still at the cheap rate and that won’t work. Would never consider being a “land Lord” again. Let the Housing Commission take the risk.

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      Mariner – til a few years ago I rented and my adult children and friends rent now and neither I nor they made ‘exhorbitant demands about modernization of the premises’. Other friends who own rental properties also only do basic necessary repairs. I owned a house that I rented out for a few years around 2003 and the only demands made of me was to fix a blocked toilet and repair some plumbing. As a tenant I lived with non functioning air conditioning and a back fence falling down for years despite requests for attention so I fnd your accusations of tenants demanding ‘modernization’ very puzzling.

  8. 0
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    Live by your means. Rented out 5 houses and still lived on a budget. All sold now and still live on a budget and looking good. When I was young I struggled i left home, lived with friends and car i did any job I could to survive… Still looked good. I dont think poverty ages you, its how you handle it.

    • 0
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      I agree Jan – except where health is concerned as that can impact ability to work towards improving things. I also know well off people who spend a fortune on things designed to improve their looks – surgery, botox etc – so its bought looks, not ageing naturally. My life has probably aged me but more from never enough sleep and being a worrier so def some lines….

  9. 0
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    Yes Marigold health stops us from working. Two shoulder ops stop me working but my brain was still working so I learnt about investing. I’ve had 12 operation on different things and more to come, but I keep going. Still working and started a community children’s choir for all the children who can not afford singing lessons. Singing keeps me young and strength to overcome so many battles.


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