While there are a few souls that have committed to life-long fitness and may stave off the affects that aging has on the human body, most mere-mortals will experience some loss of function. The body is a finite machine and, as with all systems with moving parts, some of the material is bound to wear out.
Knowing what to expect and acknowledging it as a normal process of aging can relieve any fear and anxiety that may arise from the unknown.
Joints and Bones
Bones tend to lose minerals and mass as people age. This can lead to increased susceptibility to fractures and broken bones. The vertebrae, bones in the spine, may decrease in height causing a curved back and loss of height. Calcification, calcium deposits in and around joints, may cause inflammation and pain. Cartilage, the tissue that provides the cushion in between joints and is known as the bodies shock absorbers, may diminish or become damaged, leaving decreased range of motion and pain.
Teeth can get worn down after years of use causing loss of enamel and possible chipped or broken teeth. The gum may recede due to plaque, resulting in loss of teeth. The mouth gets drier, causing teeth to decay.
The immune system can grow weaker, causing increased susceptibility to virus and bacterial infections.
Vision tends to get blurry and the ability to see close-up, presbyopia, decreases in function. Structures in the ear change with age causing both hearing issues, especially high-frequency sounds, and loss of balance due to changes in the inner ear. The number of taste buds decrease or shrink with age. The sense of smell may diminish due to loss of nerve endings and mucus production.
On the Positive Side
After reading the possible changes that take place in the body with aging, one might be tempted to just lie down until it’s over. The good news is that, although many of these changes may be taking place, it’s never too late to do all you can to keep your body and mind healthy and vital as you age. Consider this list not an aging yardstick, but a reminder of why it’s important to start a healthy lifestyle as soon as possible. Exercise is vital to the health of human bodies—it maintains and increases muscle mass that supports bones and joints, it supports a healthy immune system, helps manage stress, and improves mood. Add a healthy diet to your exercise regime, and you may start to feel younger with each passing year.
The importance of a healthy diet and exercise regime cannot be understated. If your parent needs help maintaining a healthy lifestyle, consider obtaining the services of a homecare provider. These professionals have worked with countless seniors. They know the tactics to take that will get them out for their daily walks and eating nutritious foods. They can even prepare the meals and do the grocery shopping, along with providing assistance with the daily activities of living. Sometimes all that’s needed is the care and companionship they provide, and the rest comes easy.