Let’s face it, we are all getting older. You can kick, scream, and fight it as much as you want but it’s inevitable. We need to accept it if we are going to continue to lead a normal life. Understanding how we age and what could possibly change can help us identify what help we might need. Aging is not just a matter of developing wrinkles or a touch of gray hair; it can affect many aspects of our body and therefore have a direct impact on our lifestyle. Old man time waits for no man or woman!!
Change can be disconcerting for some and aging is just that…change. We would all like to think of ourselves forever 21 years old, but that is not reality. As we age, we gain knowledge but may diminish or lose some of our physical skills. Everything from eyesight to even hair can betray us!! Even if you don’t want to, you should embrace this change since there is nothing you can do about it. The key is understanding what you can expect to change and what you can do about it to minimize the effects of aging. As you age, if you feel like something is not normal, always check with your physician to see if you are experiencing normal aging or something that is abnormal. Some areas to pay attention to include:
Heart Health: As you age, your heart changes. It may beat a little slower and become a little larger and since the arteries and blood vessels that transport your blood may become harder your heart will have to beat harder. To keep your heart healthy you should exercise, eat healthy, and be sure to stay away from smoking tobacco.
Eyes and Ears: Old age is usually stereotyped by hearing loss and the need for corrective eyewear. The development of cataracts is also common as we age. By wearing sunglasses or a sun hat outdoors and ear protection (such as earplugs) around loud machinery or environments, we can diminish any loss of hearing or damage to our eyes. To help with hearing, we can always supplement our hearing with an external amplifier to increase our ability to hear others. For those that wear hearing aids, maintenance of the device can help them perform properly. A hearing aid dryer or hearing aid vacuum cleaner can prolong the life of these devices as well as make them work efficiently.
Bones and Joints: In our old age, our bones can suffer from a diminished density as well as potentially shrinking. This leaves our bones (which are critical to our stability) weaker and more susceptible to breakage. We can minimize this with calcium supplements. Since our muscles can become weaker also, many of our joints can become less sturdy and therefore compromise our balance. The different resistances of elastic bands can help us exercise and maintain our muscles and stability. This can lead to proper joint function and less pain.
Probably the largest area of concern when it comes to aging is our mobility. The ability to get around on our own can become difficult as we age. We are not as active as we once were, therefore our muscular system may not be as strong as it used to be. This directly affects our balance which can lead to falls and fractures. As we age, our bodies don’t recover as quickly from injuries, so these falls can become more serious than if we were 21 years old. Ahh, youth is wasted on the young!! We need to be proactive in our thinking when it comes to mobility and avoiding any potential dangers that may seem small and trivial but can become serious in our older age. Mobility aids come in many forms and should be chosen dependent on each person specific mobility limitation. Your doctor or physical therapist can help choose the right aid such as a cane or even a walker. They may even recommend a lightweight wheelchair if your physical limitation requires it. It’s also important that these mobility aids are used in a safe manner in appropriate conditions. For instance, using a cane when it is snowy and icy may not be the optimal choice. Thinking ahead can help you avoid any potential problems.
You can’t outrun father time. Much like what ever goes up must come down, we will get older, but understanding how we age and what might be affected is crucial. We have to accept that we are no longer our younger selves and that with age comes wisdom and experience that we can use to remain safe as we age.
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Hi there, my name is Kevin Cleary. I was born in Westchester County in 1966 on December 3. I lived there until 1973 when my family moved. I graduated from high school in 1984 and then attended college in New ...
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