Tuesday Tips for Caregivers: Age-related Challenges
and Daily Living
As we get older, our bodies change. Thanks to advancements in medicine and technology, people are, on average, living older than in other points in time in history. But, with aging comes inevitable changes in health that can be difficult to manage. If you are an adult child who is caring for their aging parents or someone caring for an aging loved one, you may have noticed some of the challenges your loved one is experiencing. In this blog, we will go over what some these challenges are and how you can help your aging loved one adjust and cope with their changing health.
Common challenges of aging and changing health:
Arthritis: This is a general term that means an inflammation of one’s joints. The most common symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness. Many common areas where people feel arthritis are in their knees, hips, shoulders, and back. To get the appropriate diagnosis for what kind of arthritis your loved one may have, it is important for your them to see a doctor. Common treatments for arthritis include taking medications to alleviate pain, losing weight, and physical therapy.
Heart Problems: As people age, age-related problems might also start impacting heart health. As we get older, our bodies ability to pump oxygen to the heart reduces. It is therefore important to continue taking care of the heart through regular exercise and healthy eating. Aging individuals can find light exercises to do like walking, swimming, or resistance training to maintain cardio health. Always consult a doctor before starting any exercise regimen.
Falling: Aging often brings on weakened muscles and bones. People are not as strong or limber as they used to be when they were younger. As a result, whenever an accident, like a fall, happens, they are more likely to get hurt and break a bone. To prevent your loved one from falling, it is important to keep their living space safe. If you are able, help your loved one avoid falls by adding grip mats to tile floors in areas that become wet, like the bathroom and kitchen. Keep walking spaces unobstructed. For example, make sure your loved one does not have the chance to trip and fall because of carelessly placed shoes in the hallway. You cannot prevent every accident, but you can be aware of what you can do to minimize your loved one’s risk of falling.
Seeing and Hearing: Getting older impacts our senses, especially seeing and hearing. If you notice your loved one mishearing what you are saying, or is unable to see things around them, accompany them to the doctor for hearing and vision tests. It may be the case that they need hearing aids or glasses. These devices can improve your loved one’s quality of life tremendously.
Memory Problems: As we age, our memory is not as sharp as it used to be. It is common to be forgetful. Intermittent and sporadic forgetfulness, like forgetting where you put the car keys, should not be a cause for concern. However, sometimes memory problems can be indicative of a more serious problem, like Alzheimer’s disease. If your loved one is forgetting people’s names, common words, or big life events, then you should consult a doctor.
Aging comes with challenges, but resources exist to help you and your loved ones navigate this often difficult terrain. If you have any questions, please call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.