Change: it’s a part of life, regardless of age, but it seems to accelerate as we grow older, leading us to wonder which changes are cause for concern, and which are just a normal part of aging. While it’s always important to consult with the doctor regarding any physical or emotional changes to rule out health problems, our Phoenix senior care team at Nightingale Homecare has broken down some of the most common types of aging-related changes that are generally considered normal:
As we grow older, our skin produces less oil, and we begin to lose some of the fatty tissue beneath the skin’s surface, leading to a drier, thinner feeling. You can protect your skin by always wearing sunscreen when going outdoors, and by getting checked for any growths or other abnormal skin changes by the doctor on a regular basis.
With increased stiffness in the arteries and blood vessels, our hearts have to work harder as we grow older. It’s important to ensure the heart remains healthy by staying physically active (getting doctor’s approval before beginning any new exercise routines), eating plenty of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and sleeping at least 7 – 8 hours each night.
Older adults often experience stiffness in the joints, the normal effect of the wearing away of cartilage, tissue and fluids. This can, however, lead to arthritis and other conditions for which treatment can be sought. Bones also become more brittle and less dense throughout aging, making seniors more susceptible to breaks. And we may actually lose an inch or two from our stature as the disks in the spine shrink, beginning as early as in our 40s. It’s crucial for older adults to maintain a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D to maximize bone strength.
Vision and Hearing Changes:
Enhanced sensitivity to glare and bright light, as well as difficulty with reading or seeing objects clearly when close up, are common in aging, and can usually be overcome with annual eye exams, reading glasses, and the use of sunglasses when in bright light. Likewise, hearing often deteriorates slightly, particularly impacting sounds at high frequencies. Annual hearing exams and the use of earplugs when in especially loud environments are important.
Dry mouth and the appearance of gums pulling away from the teeth are two common occurrences in our later years. The dentist can help with determining what interventions may be needed, so regular cleanings and checkups are vital. And at any age, brushing and flossing regularly (twice daily for brushing, once daily for flossing) is the best way to prevent decay and infection to teeth and gums.
At Nightingale Homecare, our Phoenix senior care experts help keep older adults healthy and thriving throughout aging in a variety of ways! We provide a full range of in-home care services, from companionship and help around the house to highly skilled nursing care, and everything in between. We can ensure seniors are following a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise and rest, offer accompanied transportation to medical and dental checkups and exams, pick up prescriptions, and keep a professional eye out for any changes in a senior’s health that may be cause for concern, so that they can be addressed immediately.
To learn more about how we can help your senior loved one remain safe, healthy and happy at home, contact us any time at (602) 504-1555.