Advice on measures seniors can take to cope with aging changes

People in retirement are often concerned with their ability to cope with aging changes. Aging is however a natural and complex biological process that affects the body in various ways and can lead to health issues in older individuals. While aging itself is not a disease, it is associated with several natural physiological changes that can contribute to health problems.

 

Some of the key natural causes of aging-related health issues in seniors include:

A. EFFECTS ON THE BODY THAT CAN OCCUR THROUGH AGING CHANGES

    1. Cellular and Molecular Changes:

    • Telomere Shortening: Telomeres are protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that shorten with each cell division. Over time, this shortening can lead to cellular dysfunction and aging.

     

    2. DNA Damage: Accumulated DNA damage from various sources, including radiation and oxidative stress, can result in cellular mutations and malfunction.

    3. Decline in Metabolic Function:

    • Reduced Metabolic Rate: The body’s metabolism generally slows down with age, which can lead to weight gain and a decrease in energy levels.
    • Insulin Resistance: Many older individuals become less responsive to insulin, which can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

    4. Changes in Body Composition:

    • Muscle Mass Loss: Sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass and strength, is common in older adults and can lead to frailty and decreased mobility.
    • Increase in Body Fat: Seniors often experience an increase in body fat, particularly around the abdomen, which can contribute to obesity-related health problems.

    5. Hormonal Changes:

    6. Immune System Aging:

    • Immunosenescence: The immune system becomes less efficient at recognizing and fighting infections, increasing susceptibility to diseases.
    • Chronic Inflammation: Low-level chronic inflammation, often referred to as “inflammaging,” can contribute to various age-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative disorders.

    7. Accumulation of Cellular Waste:

    • Impaired Autophagy: Autophagy, the process by which cells remove damaged components, becomes less efficient with age, leading to the accumulation of cellular waste products.

    8. Decline in Organ Function:

    • Reduced Organ Reserve: Many organs, such as the heart, lungs, and kidneys, may experience a gradual decline in function, increasing the risk of age-related diseases like heart failure and kidney disease.

    9. Neurological Changes:

    10. Decreased Bone Density:

    It’s important to note that not everyone experiences these age-related changes at the same rate or to the same degree. Lifestyle factors, genetics, and healthcare practices can influence the aging process and its impact on health. While aging is inevitable, adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, and regular medical check-ups can help mitigate some of the age-related health issues and promote overall well-being in seniors.

    B HEALTHY LIFESTYLE PRACTICES TO COPE WITH THESE AGING CHANGES

    Minimizing the natural attrition of body functions in old age involves adopting a holistic approach that includes physical, mental, and lifestyle strategies. While aging is a natural process and cannot be entirely halted, these practices can help promote better overall health and delay the onset of age-related declines:

    1. Regular Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity is one of the most effective ways to maintain muscle strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. Aim for a mix of aerobic exercises, strength training, and flexibility exercises to maintain a balanced fitness routine. Consult with a healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program.

    2. Healthy Diet: A well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats can support overall health and help prevent chronic diseases. Adequate hydration is also essential.

    3. Stay Mentally Active: Keep your mind engaged during this period of aging changes by reading, solving puzzles, learning new skills, or pursuing hobbies and interests. Socializing with friends and family can also help maintain cognitive function.

    4. Adequate Sleep: Ensure you get enough quality sleep as it plays a crucial role in overall health and cognitive function. Establish a regular sleep schedule and create a sleep-conducive environment.

    5. Regular Health Checkups: Schedule regular checkups with your healthcare provider to monitor your health and catch potential issues early. Follow your doctor’s recommendations for screenings, vaccinations, and medications.

    6. Manage Stress: Chronic stress can accelerate the aging changes process. Practice stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, mindfulness, or yoga to manage stress effectively.

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    7. Limit Alcohol and Tobacco: Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking can accelerate the aging process and increase the risk of chronic diseases. If you smoke or drink, consider quitting or reducing your consumption.

    8. Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration is essential for maintaining bodily functions. Drink enough water throughout the day, especially in hot weather or during physical activity.

    9. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Aim to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight through a combination of a balanced diet and regular exercise. Excess weight can increase the risk of various health problems.

    10. Prevent Falls: Falls are a significant concern for seniors. Make your living space safe by removing hazards, installing handrails, and using assistive devices if necessary. Regular exercise can also improve balance and coordination.

    11. Stay Vaccinated: Keep up with recommended vaccinations, including flu and pneumonia vaccines, to protect against preventable diseases.

    12, Keep a Positive Outlook: A positive attitude can have a significant impact on your overall well-being. Engage in activities that bring you joy and cultivate a sense of purpose.

    13. Stay Engaged: Maintain social connections with friends and family to prevent loneliness and isolation, which can have negative effects on mental and physical health during this period of aging changes.

    14. Adapt to Changes: As you age, be prepared to adapt to changing circumstances. This might include modifications to your living situation, daily routines, or healthcare needs.

    15. Consider Professional Guidance: Consult with healthcare professionals, such as geriatricians or nutritionists, who specialize in senior health for personalized advice and guidance.

     

    C. USING LATEST TECHNOLOGY TO ENHANCE CARE AND QUALITY OF LIFE DURING AGING CHANGES

    There are several electronic devices and technologies available that can significantly enhance the care and quality of life for seniors with disabilities. The best devices for aged care may depend on the specific needs and challenges of the individual. Here are some of the latest electronic devices and technologies suitable for seniors with disabilities:

    1. Medical Alert Systems: These wearable devices come with a panic button that seniors can press in case of emergencies. They can also include fall detection features, which automatically call for help if a fall is detected.

    2. Smartphones and Tablets: These devices can be loaded with apps that help seniors with disabilities in various ways, including medication reminders, communication, cognitive training, and accessing online resources.

    3. Voice-Activated Assistants: Devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home can assist with tasks such as setting reminders, making phone calls, and controlling smart home devices through voice commands.

    4. Smart Home Devices: A range of smart home technologies can be especially beneficial for seniors with disabilities. Examples include smart thermostats, smart locks, and smart lighting systems that can be controlled remotely or via voice commands.

    5. Telehealth Devices: These devices facilitate remote healthcare monitoring and communication with healthcare providers. They can include blood pressure monitors, glucose meters, and video conferencing tools for virtual doctor appointments.

    6. Wearable Health Monitors: Devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers can monitor vital signs, track activity, and provide health insights. Some models are designed with seniors in mind and include features like fall detection.

    7. Medication Dispensers: These automated devices can dispense medication at scheduled times and send alerts to remind seniors to take their medications. Some models can also notify caregivers or family members if doses are missed.

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    8. GPS Trackers: GPS-enabled devices can help locate seniors with dementia or those prone to wandering. They can be worn as a pendant or attached to clothing.

    9. Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV): These systems can assist individuals with visual impairments by magnifying printed materials or providing image enhancement. Some CCTVs come with speech output features.

    10. Adaptive Computer Accessories: For seniors who want to use computers or tablets, there are adaptive accessories like large-print keyboards, trackball mice, and screen-reading software.

    11. Home Automation Systems: These systems can control various aspects of the home environment, such as lights, temperature, and security, through a central hub or smartphone app, making it easier for seniors with disabilities to manage their surroundings.

    12. Robotics: Advanced robotics can assist with tasks such as cleaning, fetching objects, and even providing companionship.

    13. Hearing Aids and Assistive Listening Devices: These devices can help seniors with hearing impairments by amplifying sounds and reducing background noise.

    14. Smart Glasses: Some smart glasses are designed to assist those with visual impairments by providing real-time audio descriptions of their surroundings.

    When selecting electronic devices for senior care, it’s important to consider the specific needs and preferences of the individual, as well as their level of familiarity and comfort with technology. Additionally, involving healthcare professionals or occupational therapists in the selection process can ensure that the chosen devices are appropriate and effectively address the person’s disability-related challenges.

    D. CONCLUSION

    Remember that genetics play a role in aging changes, and individual results may vary. However, adopting these healthy lifestyle practices can help minimize the natural attrition of body functions and enhance your quality of life as you age. Always consult with healthcare professionals before making significant changes to your lifestyle or healthcare regimen.

    Important advice on what to do if you have a stroke

    Having had first hand experience of this ( you can read about it HERE ) you need a cool head to decide on what to do if you have a stroke as having one is like having a traffic jam in your brain. It happens when something disrupts the flow of blood to a part of your brain, similar to how a traffic jam can block the flow of cars on a road. In my case it was unexplained blurred vision when I looked into a mirror.

    Here’s why it happens: Your brain needs a constant supply of blood to get oxygen and nutrients. If a blood vessel that supplies the brain gets blocked or bursts, it can lead to a stroke. Think of it like a pipe getting clogged or bursting, causing water to stop flowing or leak where it shouldn’t.

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    A. TYPES OF STROKES

    There are two main types of strokes:

    1. Ischemic Stroke: This is like a blockage in the brain’s blood highway. It occurs when a blood clot or fatty deposit (plaque) blocks a blood vessel, cutting off the blood supply to a part of the brain.
    2. Hemorrhagic Stroke: This is like a burst pipe in the brain. It happens when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures, causing bleeding inside the brain. The pressure from the bleeding can damage brain cells.

    B. DIAGNOSIS OF A STROKE

    Doctors use several methods to diagnose strokes. These methods help them determine the type of stroke, its location, and the extent of damage. Here are the primary diagnostic tools and procedures:

    • Physical Examination: The doctor will start with a physical examination and review the patient’s medical history. They will ask about symptoms, risk factors, and the time of symptom onset. This information is crucial for determining treatment options.

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    • Neurological Examination: The doctor will conduct a neurological exam to assess the patient’s brain function. This may include checking reflexes, muscle strength, coordination, and sensory perception.
    • Imaging Tests:
      • CT Scan (Computed Tomography): This is often the first imaging test performed to determine if the stroke is caused by a clot (ischemic) or bleeding (hemorrhagic). It can also show the location and size of the stroke.
      • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): An MRI provides more detailed images of the brain and can help distinguish between different types of strokes. It’s particularly useful for detecting small strokes or those in specific brain regions.
    • Blood Tests: Blood tests can help identify certain risk factors for stroke, such as high cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, and clotting disorders.
    • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): This test records the electrical activity of the heart. It can help detect irregular heart rhythms (atrial fibrillation) that may contribute to stroke risk.
    • Carotid Ultrasound: This test uses sound waves to create images of the carotid arteries in the neck. It helps assess if there is any narrowing or blockage of these arteries, which can increase the risk of stroke.
    • Cerebral Angiography: In some cases, a cerebral angiogram may be performed. It involves injecting contrast dye into blood vessels and taking X-ray images to visualize the blood vessels in the brain. This can help identify aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, or other vascular abnormalities that may lead to stroke. This was one of the procedures that I had done after having been diagnosed with a stroke.
    • Lumbar Puncture (Spinal Tap): Although less common, a lumbar puncture may be done in certain situations to analyze the cerebrospinal fluid for signs of bleeding or infection.
    • Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE): This specialized ultrasound test can provide a closer look at the heart’s structures, especially if there is suspicion of a heart-related cause of stroke.

    Here is a YouTube video which explains what doctors look for in different scans to determine whether a stroke has taken place.

    The combination of these diagnostic tests and assessments helps doctors determine the cause and severity of the stroke, guiding them in making appropriate treatment decisions. Time is critical in stroke diagnosis and treatment, so seeking medical attention immediately when stroke symptoms are suspected is crucial for the best possible outcome.

    C.  CURE FOR A STROKE

    As for a cure, it depends on the type of stroke:

    • Ischemic Stroke: In many cases, doctors can give medication called “clot-busters” to dissolve the clot and restore blood flow. They might also recommend procedures like a thrombectomy to physically remove the clot. Long-term treatment may involve medications and lifestyle changes to prevent future strokes.
    • Hemorrhagic Stroke: Treating this type of stroke usually involves stopping the bleeding and reducing pressure in the brain. Surgery may be needed to repair the damaged blood vessel or remove blood clots. Medications and other treatments may also be used to manage symptoms and prevent complications.

    As a result of the medical tests that that were performed on me I was fortunate when told that by taking 1 aspirin a day for the rest of my life I should avoid a recurrence of a stroke.

    D. RECOVERY FROM A STROKE

    The speed and extent of recovery after a stroke vary greatly from person to person and depend on several factors, including the type of stroke, the area of the brain affected, the severity of the damage, and the individual’s overall health and age. Recovery is typically categorized into short-term and long-term phases:

    1. Short-Term Recovery (Days to Weeks):
      • Immediate Medical Care: The first hours and days after a stroke are critical. Swift medical intervention can minimize damage and improve outcomes.
      • Acute Treatment: If the stroke is caused by a blood clot, treatments like clot-busting medication or thrombectomy may be administered to restore blood flow to the brain.
      • Hospitalization: Patients are usually closely monitored in the hospital, where healthcare professionals focus on stabilizing their condition, preventing complications, and providing early rehabilitation.
      • Physical and Occupational Therapy: In the acute phase, stroke survivors often begin physical and occupational therapy to regain basic motor skills and independence.
    2. Long-Term Recovery (Months to Years):
      • Rehabilitation: Stroke survivors typically continue rehabilitation after leaving the hospital. This may involve physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and sometimes recreational therapy.
      • Adaptive Strategies: Patients and their families learn to adapt to any permanent disabilities. This may include using mobility aids, assistive devices, or making home modifications for safety.
      • Medications: Some individuals may need long-term medications to manage stroke-related conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.
      • Lifestyle Changes: Lifestyle modifications such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, smoking cessation, and alcohol moderation can significantly impact recovery and reduce the risk of future strokes.
      • Emotional Support: Stroke survivors may experience emotional challenges such as depression, anxiety, or changes in personality. Support from mental health professionals and support groups can be beneficial.
      • Continued Improvement: Recovery can continue for months or even years after a stroke. Many people see significant gains in their abilities and quality of life over time.

    It’s important to note that not all stroke survivors experience the same level of recovery. Some may recover fully and regain their previous level of functioning, while others may have long-lasting disabilities. The key factors that influence recovery include the extent of brain damage, the availability and intensity of rehabilitation, and the individual’s motivation and support system.

    Early intervention and ongoing rehabilitation play a crucial role in improving outcomes after a stroke. Setting realistic goals and working closely with healthcare professionals can help stroke survivors maximize their recovery potential. Patience, perseverance, and a positive attitude also contribute to the journey of recovery.

    E. CONCLUSION

    It’s important to remember that getting medical help quickly is crucial when determining what to do if you have a stroke. Time is of the essence because the longer the brain is deprived of blood and oxygen, the more damage can occur. So, if you suspect someone is having a stroke, call 911 or emergency services immediately. Strokes can be very serious, but with prompt medical attention and rehabilitation, many people can recover and regain their quality of life to some extent.

    Health and wellbeing lifestyle tips

    Everyone іs concerned аbоut уоu after thеу figure out уоu аrе sick. Health teaching іs аbоut early detection rather than prevention. The interesting thing іs thаt ‘ health аnd wellbeing ‘ іs everywhere іn thе public eye. Yоu dо nоt hаvе tо look far tо find information оn hоw tо live healthier. Аrе уоu taking аn active role іn уоur health аnd wellbeing оr аrе уоu hoping tо detect something аnd try tо treat іt before іt kills you?

    Every health аnd wellness article І hаvе read seems tо carry thе same theme: modest change саn produce great health improvements. The truth іs people just dо nоt want tо listen.

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    Here аrе five very easy health habits уоu саn form tо improve уоur health and wellbeing

    Keep іn mind аs уоu аrе doing thіs thаt іt takes аbоut thirty days tо develop а habit. Stick wіth thіs fоr а month аnd уоu will bе surprised at hоw muсh better уоu feel.

    1- Drink at least eight glasses оf water per day.

    Your body needs water tо hydrate cells аnd flush out toxins. Several daily ailments lіkе low energy, headaches аnd constipation will improve greatly if уоu just increase уоur water intake. Remember І did nоt say уоur fluid intake. Coffee аnd pop hаvе no nutritional value аnd will nоt hydrate уоu. Increase уоur water intake only.

    2- Eat at least one fresh fruit аnd vegetable а day.

    You аrе probably thinking thаt І hаvе lost іt bесаusе every other resource says уоu need 5-10 fruits аnd vegetables а day with your food. The key tо thіs point іs fresh. Yоu аrе going tо gеt thе mоst nutrients frоm fresh fruits аnd vegetables. Definitely eat thе 5-10 per day but make sure уоu hаvе at least one оf each thаt іs fresh.

    3- Gеt Moving.

    How mаnу times hаvе уоu heard thіs? If уоu can’t stop watching уоur favorite TV programs at night gеt uр оn thе commercials аnd march. If уоu hаvе children уоu саn make іt а game. Іt іs best if уоu саn gеt outside аnd gеt sоmе fresh air аnd exercise аs well. Yоu will feel immediate effects frоm implementing thіs routine daily!

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    4- Gеt mоrе sunlight.

    Sunlight provides us wіth vitamin D. Тhіs vitamin іs essential fоr strong bones аnd уоur immune system. The best раrt іs іt іs free tо soak uр sоmе sun. Gеt at least 15-60 minutes per day. А perfect time tо dо thіs іs whеn уоu аrе exercising!

    5- Gеt уоur sleep.

    If уоu honestly commit tо thе first four points уоu will mоrе likely enjoy sleeping at а higher level. Why, bесаusе уоu will sleep better! Cheating yourself оf sleep саn bе preventing уоu frоm а full healthy life.

    SUMMARY

    These аrе sоmе very simple steps уоu саn take tо improve уоur health and wellbeing. Make а commitment tо thеsе health habits activities fоr а full month аnd уоu will bе amazed at thе improvements іn уоur life.

    James Kelly

    http://www.learnhandyhealthandwellnesstips.com

    High Wycombe, Western Australia, 6057

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