Aging is a natural process that is the future of all living creatures. The number of people over 65 increases annually. Since aging is an inevitable fact, it must be discussed in the sense of the coherent problems. Medical care has provided longer life but is no guarantee of a trouble-free physical or mental existence.
To a varying extent, the following conditions of aging appear and often progress in later years:
- Muscles fatigue easily and there is less endurance
- With decreased body movement, joints can become stiff
- There is a tendency toward hardening of the arteries
- Muscle reaction to stimuli slows and concentration becomes more difficult
- Many of the senses may experience partial or complete loss
- Body resistance declines, increasing susceptibility to infection
- Decreased circulation and absorption of calcium from the bones may result in osteoporosis, shown by skeletal shrinkage and an increased tendency to bone fractures (more prevalent in women).
- Incontinence concerns
Although aging is neither a disease nor an accident, it requires consideration and understanding to satisfy the needs of the geriatric client, who may require assistive devices.
Concerns Associated with Aging
Many seniors endure a variety of aches and pains. Chronic pain can have a serious impact on physical and emotional well-being. Common sources of chronic pain include migraine headaches and arthritis. The most common forms of arthritis in the aging population are Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Falls and In-Home Injuries
Falls are very common among the elderly and can be caused by intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors are related causes which are external to the person such as the physical environment. Some examples associated with falls are: unkept sidewalks, poor or wet walking surfaces, stairs, inadequate lighting, obstructions on pathways, lack of handrails, scatter rugs, low beds and seats, and improper footwear.
Depression is a mental state of depressed mood characterized by feelings of sadness, despair and discouragement. Depression has a wide range of severity. The causes of depression can vary but are often the result of the loss of a loved one, chronic pain, poor health and/or a chemical imbalance in the brain. In most cases, treatment is available and is often a combination of medication and behavioral counseling/therapy. Medication compliance is an issue for many individuals with mental illness.
The fear of crime is a serious problem for seniors. Important security measures for seniors may include:
- Installing new locks
- Changing activities or avoiding certain places
- Installing alarm systems
Source:This information was obtained through the National Advisory Council on Aging.