Getting older is never easy. And try as we may it seems we’re never ready for the side effects of aging. With age comes much higher risks for a large number of serious health issues ranging from cancer and diabetes to heart disease and Alzheimer’s. However, as scary as these issues are, most people are either prepared for or informed about them by the time they hit 55. Plus many of these conditions are either caused or aggravated by life choices we make. That means if we “take care” of ourselves—eat right, exercise, etc.—we can diminish the risk or avoid the problems altogether.
However, there are a number of lesser-known issues that present themselves as we age—many of which most people never even consider. As Doctor Susan Levy notes, “. . . the body we had at 55 will be a very different body than the one we have at 75.” Dr. Levy, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center in Baltimore, urges seniors and caregivers to be aware of all the health issues that present themselves to aging individuals, not just the newsmakers we all see in the headlines every day.
Unexpected Side Effects of Aging
Physical changes that can have a dramatic effect on the health of an aging individual include:
Slowed Reaction Time this can affect everything from the ability to drive to getting around inside one’s own home.
Thinner Skin can lead to cuts and bruising—devastating for individuals on blood thinners or those with weakened immune systems.
Depressed Immune Response can make fighting off even something as simple as the common cold extremely difficult.
Diminished Sense of Taste or Smell which can lead to reduce appetite and dehydration and could even pose an immediate health hazard (such as the inability to smell smoke).
Loss of Muscle Mass can make everyday chores nearly impossible and decreases endurance while slowing metabolism.
An Objective Eye Helps Seniors Spot the Side Effects of Aging
As difficult as it can be to watch the ones we love age, staying observant and objective can help them live a longer and happier life. Family caregivers should be watching for the telltale signs such as decreased appetite (or accompanying weight loss), lethargy, decreased mobility (either due to physical disability or fear), poorly healing wounds, and loss of interest in favorite hobbies or activities.
Also, don’t be afraid to speak with your loved one about these topics. Their pride may make them resistant at first but when they see you truly have their best interest at heart they will appreciate the care.
Second Family Home Care provides non-medical home care in Plano, Texas and surrounding areas on an as-needed basis so your loved ones can live as independently as possible for as long as they are able. Contact us today to learn how we can help those who want to age in place stay in place.