I Adjustments that people face throughout their lives cannot compare to the transitions that face persons approaching their 50’s and 60’s

  • There is very little training or preparation
  • Most persons do not plan or prepare until it is too late
  • How one deals with the changes makes the difference between success or crisis and mental stability and emotional difficulties

II Challenges that may not be within a person’s control or in their projection of the future

  • People may follow all the suggestions to stay healthy but there they are not a guarantee for navigating the passage of getting from young- old to old- old without any hiccups.
  • At this time one may find that their parents’ health is failing
  • Empty nesting could be taking place as the children may be leaving the family home
  • Ups and down with the career and especially finances
  • Face it! One’s Body is changing!

III Age Related physical changes contributing to functional changes and possible impairment

  • Body composition and structure and weight
  • Balance issues and susceptibility to falls
  • Visual acuity and accommodation
  • Color discrimination
  • High frequency and conductive hearing loss
  • Sensitivity to temperature changes
  • Physical changes with appearance
  • depression
  • Health concerns increase with abnormal blood sugar levels, breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer, chronic pain with arthritis, back pain, depression, digestive issues, hair loss in men and women, heart disease, high blood pressure, overactive bladder, osteoporosis, thyroid problems, and skin problems

IV Steps to improve a person’s health

  • If you smoke, quit
  • If you are overweight, lose weight
  • Eat healthy. Limit processed foods and those that are high in fat and sugar
  • Foods to eat include: fruits, vegetables, fiber rich whole grains, non or low fat dairy products, lean meats and proteins
  • A visit to the doctor’s office regularly for check- ups and health screenings, tests, and immunizations. These tests includes bone density test, breast exam and mammogram, blood pressure screening, cholesterol screening, colonoscopy, skin exam, dental exams, pelvic exam, fasting blood glucose, PSA tests for prostate cancer. Vaccines include: flu, hepatitis, pneumonia, and shingles, tetanus, whooping cough
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Get enough sleep
  • Monitor medication use
  • Reduce stress. Stress can be from the job, health concerns, financial concerns, or having and caring for elderly parents
  1. Stress from worry and caring for elderly parents
  • Most challenging aspects is the time commitment it requires.
  • Responsibility may cover taking care of their finances, their healthcare, driving them to doctor appointments.
  • Much more time and commitment is involved with persons with dementia
  • This can affect one’s job, pocketbook and in turn their own health
  1. Steps to avoid a crisis mode
  • Have a family meeting with the elder parent to discuss their wishes and who should be the point person
  • Someone in the family should be designated as the point person who will handle the medication list, medical history, family contact information, the health care documents, and the insurance cards
  • Look for a geriatric physician who is specialized in treating the elderly.
  • Check out the drugs the elder person is taking. Are there out of date medications and are they prescribed by many different physicians
  • Discuss the issue of driving and knowing when to stop.
  • Check out the food situation. Is there a food supply and are they eating? Find out the reason if food is not being eaten.
  • Look at your loved one’s daily routine to see if it includes physical exercise, social interactions, mental stimulation, and a sense of purpose
  • Be equipped with the right tools to navigate the senior care system with a support system and accurate information
  • Seek out an assessment from a certified geriatric care manager

Summary of things to do to stay healthy as one begins to age

  • Maintain a healthy life style by quitting smoking, moderation with alcohol usage, eating healthy and exercising the mind and the body.
  • Keep up with recommended screenings and immunizations
  • Keep depression at bay by developing interests and leisure time pursuits outside of work to begin to prepare for retirement
  • Maintain social relationships and reconnect with persons you may have lost contact and be open to new relationships
  • Reduce stress on the job, and with caregiving issues and financial concerns by learning coping skills
  • Plan for the future so that your family members know what your end of life decisions are, and financially that you are able to take care of any changes that you encounter as you age after retirement
  • Most important it is important to be flexible and adapt to changes

 

 

 

 

 

GROWING OLD WITH DIGNITY: MEETING THE CHALLENGES OF GROWING OLDER