Getting old is both a blessing and a curse: A blessing because as you grow older you become wiser and more experienced and can enjoy more of life; a curse because unfortunately as you age, your body and your brain do age too and you start experiencing a loss in functions – physical and mental – that never used to be a problem in the past. Your health and your health concerns evolve through life as you get older. While this is a perfectly natural phenomenon, it can also be a little tricky to adjust to the new issues of your older body. Knowing what to expect in old age is the key to aging successfully and enjoying your gray hair and years as much as any other period of your life.
#1. Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is a common issue for seniors. The ability for the various sound signals to reach your brain deteriorate with age: The hair cells inside your inner ear and your auditory nerve get gradually damaged. Unfortunately, this is quite a normal age-related discomfort. Most people begin to develop minute hearing loss from the age of 40. This can begin with difficulties to hearing high-pitched sounds, also called high-frequency sounds such as children and women’s voices, or troubles understanding a conversation in a background noise. There is no shame in hearing loss, so it is important to address the issue before it isolates you from your social circle. You can visit Ear Science Institute for more information, or make an appointment with your family doctor to discuss your worries. While there is a variety of hearing aids to help you connect back to life again, these can only address specific hearing loss issues. Sometimes, when hearing aids are not adapted to your problem, hearing implants are an effective solution to give you your social life back.
The hearing is not the only deterioration of your body when you age. Your eyesight will also change with age. Indeed, while in a normal eye, the light passes through a transparent lens to the retina, seniors will often have to struggle with a cloudy lens that sends a blurry or distorted image to the retina. This cloudiness is called cataract. It is not only an extremely well-known phenomenon of the aging process, but it is also linked to a safe and effective surgical removal. The majority of seniors will experience cataract. Other factors besides age can increase the development of a cloudy lens, such as diabetes or heavy smoking. It’s important to make the difference, as you grow older, between cataract, which will require a surgical operation, and presbyopia, which relates to the difficulty to see objects that are near your eyes. As your eye muscles age, they become tired and can’t adjust as easily to your surroundings. As a result, you find yourself pulling the newspaper away from your eyes to read the text. Presbyopia is naturally corrected by wearing glasses or contact lenses.
Arthritis relates to pain and stiffness in the joints, which can cause weaknesses even in the most mundane tasks such as driving your car or cooking. While it might sound quite unimpressive, arthritis is the primary cause of chronic pain. Arthritis is believed to be the consequence of old age, but in truth, this isn’t a natural part of aging. A lifestyle that is demanding on your joints, such as a repetitive physical activity, or a bad injury, can create a terrain for arthritis. The lack of movements of a sedentary lifestyle can also facilitate joint pain. Additionally, your genes will influence your sensitivity to arthritis. While there is no cure, prevention through the maintenance of a healthy and active lifestyle in older years can help to keep the pain at bay.
There is a common image about old people: They tend to break bones a lot more easily than young generations. This is caused by osteoporosis, which is a weakness of the bone health. While osteoporosis is associated with old age, this isn’t a natural part of the aging process either. Indeed, calcium and vitamin D deficiency are the primary cause of a weakness of the bone structure. With age, the ability to absorb both the calcium and vitamin D decreases. While most seniors don’t change their diets accordingly, those who look for natural supplements don’t suffer from a loss of bone density. Additionally, it’s important to keep an active lifestyle to help your bone structure to remain strong and healthy. Also, a rollator can help a patient walk suffering from osteoporosis.
#5. Mild Cognitive Impairment
Without discussing the damages of serious cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer’s disease, it is natural that your brain becomes a little tired as you grow older. Whether you find yourself becoming more forgetful, or you find it a little more difficult to come up with an effective solution to a problem, there’s a natural aging process that shrinks your brain’s volume. The blood flow slows down, some connections disappear, and the number of nerve cells reduces. Forgetting where you placed your keys, for example, is a common cause of old age – and of distraction too – and represents no health risk. While you can’t reverse the process, you can help your brain to keep sharp with a healthy diet. Keep your mind active too by learning new skills or maybe starting a grid of cryptic crosswords, as mental stimulation will help your brain to continue its development.
#6. Bathroom Issues
Last, but not least, are bladder or bowel troubles. Incontinence is often associated with the senior years. However, incontinence touches almost 5 million Australian, not all of them are old. The causes are multiple, from pregnancy via diabetes, to lack of physical activities leading to a loss of muscle strength. Over 70% of admissions in nursing homes are incontinence cases that have been caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. Indeed, it is important to drink up to 2 litres of water every day, to help your bladder maintain a regular activity. Additionally, a healthy diet, containing vitamins and minerals will help the bladder and bowel to stay fit. Finally, mild exercises every day and targeted pelvic floor muscle exercises can prevent future incontinence issues, or reduce existing ones.
In short, whether you are a graceful senior or a young and active woman, a healthy lifestyle full of physical and mental stimulation is essential to enjoy life for longer.