As people age, their bodies gradually undergo various changes. How the body changes depends on many factors, including heredity, diet, and general lifestyle. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality senior care. Altamonte Springs families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.
Apart from genetics, healthy lifestyle changes can slow down the aging process. Here are a few changes that aging adults can expect to experience as they grow older.
Over time, the skin loses elasticity. Subcutaneous fatty deposits that once added volume to the skin start diminishing. Without volume, the skin relaxes and becomes wrinkled. The production of oil by the oil glands slows down or stops completely, leaving the skin feeling dry. Seniors who have exposed their skin to direct sunlight throughout their lives can cause irreversible damage to it. Eventually, the skin takes on a leathery appearance. UV rays also affect melanin production, which can cause the appearance of age or liver spots. Habitual sun exposure increases the risk of developing skin cancer.
Hair production naturally slows down as people age, leading to thinning hair on the head, under the arms, and in the pubic region. Men and women may experience accelerated thinning and eventual baldness. Medical conditions that interfere with normal blood circulation might also cause hair loss on various parts of the body, including the legs. As follicles lose the ability to create hair, there is also a decrease in the production of pigment cells, which causes hair to go gray.
By the time adults reach their 40s, eye lenses begin losing flexibility, which results in a condition known as presbyopia. The eyes begin to lose the ability to change focus as they switch from looking at objects in the distance to those in close proximity. Adults often begin using reading glasses or bifocals around this time. Lens changes can also cause a decrease in visual sharpness, leading to an older adult needing prescription glasses. When lens cells die, some adults experience problems with night vision. Eating fruits and vegetables rich in beta-carotene may prevent or stop the progression of this condition. However, the symptom might also be an early indication of cataract formation. Routine vision examinations can help seniors get the necessary medical intervention for many types of vision problems.
As the body undergoes the normal aging process, it needs and uses less energy. Metabolism slows down, causing seniors to gain weight easily. Hormone changes cause fat stores to increase and muscle mass to diminish. A senior who wants to slow down weight gain should be cautious about his or her calorie intake and should stay physically active by performing strength training exercises.
Over the years, bones naturally lose mineral content, causing them to thin and become less durable. Adults who do not get enough calcium and vitamin D can develop osteoporosis. Fragile bones can fracture from the pressure of supporting the body. In addition to dietary measures, seniors can keep bones healthy by taking frequent walks and quitting smoking. Some prescription medications can also help restore bones to a healthier state.
Sometimes the changes that come with aging can limit a senior’s mobility, and he or she may require a caregiver’s assistance. Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Orlando families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation.
Aging can also affect a senior’s cognitive abilities, and severe symptoms may indicate a dementia-related medical condition. In Windermere, FL, dementia care professionals are available around the clock to help seniors with memory-related conditions age in place safely and comfortably. At Home Care Assistance, we understand the needs of seniors with dementia and the unique challenges they face as the disease progresses. Call (407) 232-7155 and speak with a friendly Care Manager to learn more about our flexible senior care plans.