Aging in the elderly
There is what people call as the art of getting old. This has probably an element of truth because getting old makes many people seriously inferior, insecure and irritable. To grow old takes wisdom; meaning the aging physical aspects are there but to be gracious about it may help us view our mortality, accept all with humility that limitations are inevitable.
Many who were once strong and athletic, the reality of losing one’s vigor would seem unacceptable. It’s hard to swallow the negative realism of aging. The simple chores that once were indeed “simple” have now become impossible tasks to some individuals who were once upon a time, mighty competitors in some events in sports.
Running may not be advisable anymore. Walking, the most common movement to a normal functioning individual is difficult when arthritis has already crept into his joints (Smith et al, 1997 in http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/004023.htm).
Physical changes are natural occurrences of wear and tear and are included in the order of things since time immemorial (Smith, Suzanna et al in Rantanen et al, 1997).
This is one of nature’s physical laws that no matter how many technological breakthroughs have been discovered and come to the forefront of human existence, up till now, the best of these man-made intelligent inventions are not able to arrest these signs of deterioration.
A senior citizen has to deal with problems such as high blood pressure, the cumulative effects of fatty deposits or cholesterol build up, some parts of the body that almost do not work anymore, and those parts that work may incur pain and a degree of discomfort (Seek wellness, 2000).
Physical activity as mentioned, have some benefits to slow down degenerative disorders but are not designed to reverse the course of aging. What is more tragic at times is, whenever people realize that the symptoms of aging are already there, it’s too late for them.
They are now coping with regrets for earlier times and opportunities that had passed; these were opportunities supposed to avert and prevent the speedy physical breakdown and enjoy more quality of life in their later years.
Aging people have diminished enjoyments in their twilight years because they are subjected to abuse, mistreatment and exploitations simply because they are appraised as frail and inept by the majority. The increasing isolation they are experiencing even from their own children who, oftentimes, relegate them to homes or institutions do not help diminish the perception of their capabilities (Seek wellness, 2000).
Regular exercise does help. Because of the many physical changes that occur in aging, a lot of adjustments as well are in order so that the body is better able to cope with these changes.
Two major parts of a person’s physique are affected in the aging process; namely, the muscles and bones. Joints and bones’ structure become rigid with age. This causes a decrease in height, a bent posture, and hence, pronounced limitations in movements. The prospect of these changes, however, need not hinder nor discourage a person to establish or maintain a regular regimen.
Though it may now hurt to move and stretch one’s joints, to yield to inactivity will all the more result to deterioration and more agony (Smith, in http://nihseniorhealth.gov/exercise/benefitsofexercise/03.html, 2007).
Because the tendency of less and less movement goes with aging, and because calcium (a necessary mineral for the bone) is not absorbed into the bones generously as when younger, the resulting consequence is the brittling of the bones, a common cause of skeletal or bone fracture among the elderly.
When ligaments connecting bones lose flexibility, it causes pain and discomfort. Older people as compared to younger ones need more cushioned shoes as the fat between the bones of the foot is becoming thinner (______Aging: physical changes).
For many of the older or aging individuals the issue about mental health is not affecting them to a significant degree. Problems that commonly beset younger generations such as alcoholism, depression and other illnesses may not necessarily afflict them and in many cases may even be reversed, for instance, dementia, as long as timely treatment is afforded to the patient.
Only Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multi-infarct dementia are cases where the patient’s condition is no longer reversible (Papalia et al, 2002).
Researchers have provided us with much information on how to help and what kind of services are most likely will yield more positive results where the aging issues are concerned. Gleaning from those available informations, here are some helpful suggestions:
Outreach Education (Redwood, 2003). This approach is effective. Most of the elderly are just waiting to be helped. Some of them just do not know how to avail with the resources that the government has made available for them.
The least that we can do is to assist them with the help of some social workers or personal outreach just to engage them in the options that are available to them such self-maintenance, exercise regimen, diet, healthy outlook towards their aging years, and treatment or case management services (Baker et al,2000).
A regular show of care to establish personal relationship in order to encourage them such as what was suggested by Ms. Banks on reading to the elderly (Griffith, 2000) or to receive preventive and treatment and or intervention options (Telford and Rogers, 2003) as well as catering with their various needs are aspects of educating the elderly.
Baker, D. W., Gazmararian, J. A., Sudano, J. and Patterson, M. 2000. The association between age and health literacy among elderly persons. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B : Psychological sciences and social sciences 55B (6), S368. Retrieved on August 3, 2007, from Proquest.
Griffith, R. W. 2000. Reading to the elderly. Retrieved on July 24, 2008, from http://www.healthandage.com/Home/%21gm%3D20%21gsq%3Delderly%21gid2=755.
Redwood, Heinz. 2003. Patients Health and Education: How Strong Is the Link? Retrieved on July 24, 2008, from http://www.healthandage.com/Home/%21gm%3D20%21gsq%3Delderly%21gid2=2189.
Seek Wellness, 2000. Fitness facts for older Americans. Retrieved on July 24, 2008, from http://www.seekwellness.com/fitness/fitness_facts.htm.
Smith, Suzanna, Jennifer E. Gove in Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. (1997-2005). Aging gracefully–physical activity. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
Smith, Suzanna, Jennifer E. Gove in Fall Hazard Checklist (1987). Clinical Report on Aging, 1, 5. from Physical Changes of Aging National Institute on Aging (n.d.). Aging and Your Eyes. Retrieved July 24, 2008, from http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/agepages/eyes/htm
Smith, Suzanna, Jennifer E. Gove in Rantanen, T., Era, P. & Heikkinen, E. (1997). Physical activity and the changes in maximal isometric strength in men and women from the age of 75 to 80 years. Journal of the American Geriatric Society, 45, 1534-1535.
Smith, Suzanna, Jennifer E. Gove in National Institute on Aging (n.d.). Aging and Your Eyes. Retrieved July 24, 2008 from http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/agepages/eyes/htm
______Aging: physical changes. University of Iowa, Hospital and Clinics Accessed in http://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/aging/agin4120.html > July 24, 2008
Telford, R. and Rogers, A. (2003). What influences elderly peoples decisions about whether to accept the influenza vaccination?
A qualitative study. Health Education Research 18 (6), 743. Accessed on July 24, 2008, from Proquest.
_____Aging : Outlline, Accessed July 24, 2008 in <http://www.baptistonline.org/health/library/agin4120.asp>