SENIORS: AGING AND INDEPENDENCE

Nov 14th, 2011 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Problems With Loss of Independence

Among the challenges that face us as we age are some which place limits on our independence.  It is troubling and distressing to come to the moment when some of our independent behaviors are compromised. Clearly, we don’t like it, but  adjustments must be made.

Those challenges which confront us, as we age, ordinarily have to do with physical dysfunctions.  Mobility is a common one. Bad knees, hips, ankles which are the result of use, injury, and longevity come to the fore and place handicaps on us.  Using a cane or walker is likely advised.  Surgeries are often entertained, with varying degrees of success.  An auxiliary difficulty that merges with handicapping conditions is one’s sense of self confidence. Fear of falling creates a need to be alert to carelessness, clumsy moves, and an appreciation and respect for your environment.

Finding ways to extend your mobility, to be safe, and to avoid accidents are recommended for all of us:

  • We need to inventory our environment for potential areas and barricades which contribute to the possibility for falling.
  • Exercises that keep your muscle mass working, no matter the boredom that comes with it, need to be a daily discipline.
  • Diet, rest and avoidance of habits that may be injurious to your health are important.
  • Being healthy, at least reasonably so, is a day to day undertaking.
  • While vitamin health is important, no pill will give us everything we need.  Having an annual wellness exam is also a high priority.  Drawing encouragement from a “good report” enables continuing to keep in place those disciplines and habits which are working for you.

Loss of Independence Related to Health Issues

Among other areas deserving our alertness is our vision.  Being honest about how well you can see, particularly if you are still driving, is a safety precaution for you and others.  Denying the inability to see well in order to drive can be a very dangerous gamble. Periodic checkups will help identfiy your need for corrective lenses, perhaps cataract surgery, or discover early signs of glaucoma, a malady among some who are older.

Hearing loss is another of the areas for which sensitivity needs prompting. Often, the one with the hearing loss is less bothered by such loss than the one who finds him/herself repeating information or asking questions all the time.  Hearing aids can be quite expensive and are not always covered by your insurance.  Dealing with the inconvenience of hearing loss can be a challenge to those who must live with it.  When aware that the issue needs to be addressed, one should seek out a non-commerical means for testing.  These are often found at universities. If the results suggest the need for a hearing device, you then may explore options that fit your needs.

Incontinence is another of the issues that may develop with agingOften, this comes about as a result of surgery, or  a variety of progressive health issues, which require medical attention and counsel. Wearing Depends or some other adult diaper should not be seen as an insult, but as a protection and a prevention of problems.  Like using a cane, there are methods for dealing with the changes and demands that come with aging.

To be sure, not everyone experiences all of these aging phenomena.  Some may have one or two.  Remaining objective about the aging process will contribute to finding appropriate and successful ways to address them and to keep you healthy and creatively capable to live a productive life.



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