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It’s not uncommon to have a hard time accepting the fact that you’re aging. You have different concerns when you’re 85 than when you’re 25. Many physiological changes of aging are inevitable. But aging doesn’t mean that you’re going to get sick or lose your sense of well-being.
Still, you may have to overcome some hurdles. Many people know that they’re likelihood of developing dementia, arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes and cardiovascular disease increase with aging. But in addition to the expected changes that happen during the aging process, other medical conditions could hit you harder than they did when you were younger.
Aging adults are more susceptible than younger people to developing serious complications from the flu and other viruses. Their wounds may not heal as quickly as they once did.
You may understand that staying active, maintaining healthy habits and nourishing your spirit can help you find peace in aging. But it can feel difficult to keep the same routines as you had when you are younger if your body aches or your mind isn’t what it used to be.
Your health doesn’t have to decline as you get older, though. We can help you work through the challenges that you’re having so that you experience successful aging.
Understanding what’s normal when it comes to physical changes during aging process can help you accept what’s happening. Life is full of experiences that aren’t exactly ideal. But you’ve gotten this far and handled the cards that you were dealt. Educating yourself about what might happen to your body with aging can help you modify your activities to prevent disability, avoid serious illness and stay healthy and active throughout your life.
Some of the most common physiological changes of aging affect the following:
• Cardiovascular system – Arteries and blood vessels begin to harden, making the heart exert more effort to pump and increasing the risk of hypertension.
• Bones – Bones become smaller and less dense. You may become shorter and experience fractures.
• Muscles – Aging causes you to lose strength and flexibility. Your mobility may be affected if you feel stiff or weak. Your balance and coordination may also be affected.
• Joints – The cartilage that protects your joints can become damaged over time. Inflammation and arthritis can cause chronic pain.
• Digestive system – The structure of the large intestine changes, contributing to constipation. Other gut-related conditions, such as diverticulitis, are more common in older people.
• Urinary tract – Your bladder muscles weaken and become less elastic, contributing to incontinence or the increased urge to urinate. Men with enlarged prostates may experience urinary challenges.
• Eyes – You may have trouble seeing things that are close to you, and you can become sensitive to light and glare as you get older.
• Ears – Hearing can become more difficult for elderly people. Even if you don’t experience general hearing loss, you might have trouble hearing certain sounds or focusing on someone’s voice in a busy room.
• Metabolism – Your metabolism slows down as you age. If you eat the same amount of calories as you always did without adjusting your level of exercise, you could gain weight.
• Sexuality – Sexual changes in men and women can be uncomfortable and concerning. Discussing changes with your partner and doctor is important.
• Brain – Everyone’s memory and cognitive capacity declines somewhat with age.
Aging doesn’t just affect your body. It can cause changes in your mental health. Recognizing common psychological changes during aging can help you feel like you’re not alone.
Approximately 25 percent of aging adults have depression, anxiety, dementia or schizophrenia. These conditions are often linked to physical changes and disabilities. But mental health issues may not have an obvious cause. Aging adults with active social networks may have fewer mental health problems than those who are isolated. Loneliness can be detrimental to your physiological and emotional health. Therefore, it’s important to stay connected with people as aging occurs.
Aging brings many transitions with it. You may have to learn to live on a fixed income, manage your free time and deal with losing loved ones. Plus, you could be experiencing some of the physical health problems that are common with aging. It’s overwhelming when so many changes hit you all at once. It’s easy for aging people to become scared, hopeless, angry or irritable.
If your thoughts or mood are affecting your ability to function in daily life, you should reach out to someone. The compassionate professionals at Blue Moon Senior Counseling specialize in helping people who are having difficulty with aging process. We can help you feel like yourself no matter what challenges you face as you get older.
We specialize in working with aging adults and promoting their mental health. Feel free to contact Blue Moon Senior Counseling if you need help navigating the complexities and difficulties involved with the aging process.