Sensory and Functional Changes in Normal Aging
Over half of those over 85 experience some type of hearing loss. It often leads sufferers to isolate themselves since they find conversations hard to follow. As a result, there has been a correlation detected between hearing loss and cognitive decline as well as depression. Hearing aids can be a godsend to those who need them in terms of an improvement in the quality of their lives.
Many of the elderly experience worsening vision making driving more challenging. The decline happens at a more accelerated rate as they age. In addition to that, they often have an issue with glare making night driving that much more dangerous. Cataract surgery is often helpful to mediate some of their vision associated problems. Making sure vision problems are addressed can prevent both cognitive impairment and depression.
Ambulation and Vestibular Function
Ambulation is a key concern among the elderly. Walking speed naturally declines with disease failing physical function. Lack of balance and dizziness are common for the elderly. Sometimes it is a side effect of the medication they must take. This is no small matter given that falling is most common cause for injury and hospitalization of the elderly. It is important for them to incorporate activities and exercise that safeguard their ability to maintain control.
At the same time, muscle mass is a problem for the elderly and it could be due to things like chronic inflammation and declining hormone levels. Muscle strength in the extremities is critical to perform many of the activities of daily living like bathing, walking and transferring. Resistance exercises are excellent for maintaining muscle strength.
Falling poses a serious risk to the elderly. According to an article published by the CDC, over one-quarter of Americans over the age of 65 fall each year, making falling the number one cause of injury, both fatal and non-fatal, in this age group. Falling not only poses a physical threat but also threatens one’s independence, self-confidence and socialization. The elderly person’s mental and physical welfare, therefore, depends on preventing a fall to begin with.
Prevention is the best measure to avoid these dreaded falls. Vitamin D, physical activity including balance exercises as well as elder proofing their home environment have all been shown to reduce falls in the elderly.
Memory Loss and Dementia
Short-term memory loss and slowing cognition are normal aspects of aging. These can have serious ramifications if they can no longer understand medical diagnoses and treatments and can lead them open to financial and even physical abuse. Unfortunately, the incidence of dementia rises with age and forces the elderly to rely on others more and more. Their independence is often sacrificed when they can no longer drive, thereby narrowing their social world and their opportunities for cognitive stimulation. Assistive technologies can help, but often depression takes hold.
Depression often hits the elderly as they suffer loss after loss. They lose loved ones, their independence, their health and life as they have known if they are forced to lower their standard of living due to a reduced and fixed income. As a result, rates of depression post 80 years of age begin to rise. The rate is even higher among those living in institutions versus those aging in place. There are pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to prevent suicide which is most common in white males 85 and older.
In-Home Caregivers for Elderly Loved Ones
With Baby Boomers aging and life expectancies increasing, the over 65 segment of the population worldwide is exploding. Communities are scrambling to make sure they can accommodate and care for this important demographic. As such, elder friendly situations are becoming the norm.
In-home care can be essential for the geriatric patient. Having a caregiver in the home that has knowledge of geriatric issues can help the patient to get the best possible care. If potential symptoms present themselves, a well-educated caregiver can help ease the way into long term care and a patient’s normal senior care routine can be modified to include protocols for aging.
More and more geriatric patients are opting for ending their lives in the comfortable surroundings of their home. This is especially the case for the elderly who are often too frail to be moved successfully. David York Agency in-home care providers are able to focus specifically on providing relief involved with geriatric care. They are monitored by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who understand how to treat specific symptoms and improve the quality of the remaining years of life.
When home healthcare becomes necessary, David York Agency provides skilled home health aide services for the elderly and infirm in their home. A nurse is always available and would be happy to discuss your case with you.
No matter what level of service you need, we’re available twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week. Sometimes the cost of the services can be covered by private medical insurance or Medicare depending on the physician’s orders. Often long term care insurance will pay for a home health aide when the patient is unable to perform activities of daily living.