Many of us have special relationships with our parents and have grown to appreciate deeply the ways in which our parents contribute to the lives our own children as grandparents too. Through lessons taught, tears dried, recipes shared, comforting words spoken, or just being able to know that someone cares for you in a way no one else can, the things we get from our parents and grandparents help mould us into our own unique people and contribute so many important elements to our lives.
There are a whole host of different changes and challenges that seniors face as they continue to grow older, and each of these come to impact seniors’ lives in their own unique ways. While the majority of the changes that occur throughout the process of aging are just typical aspects of growing older that don’t necessitate a great deal of worry or concern, some changes concerning seniors’ capacity for mental processing, memory, thinking patters, and mood can possibly be indicative of larger overarching concerns that require more exploration and attention from healthcare professionals in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge. Alzheimer’s is a disease that creates symptoms that extend beyond the scope of normal age-related changes, and while it is difficult to think about the difficult reality that Alzheimer’s could be a possibility, it is important that loved-ones and caregivers of seniors take steps towards identifying or ruling out Alzheimer’s as a cause of concerning behaviours.
Oral and dental health are linked to the overall health of our bodies’ in important ways, so taking proper care of our mouths and teeth is more important than we may think. Many different types of oral and dental health issues exist, some of which have an impact solely on the mouth and others that have the ability to alter health in ways that extend into other areas of the body. It is, therefore, deeply important that seniors and those who care for and support them prioritize oral and dental care and tend to practices and behaviours that aim to keep seniors healthy and comfortable in their bodies.
As seniors continue to age and face new changes and challenges connected to their health, doctors and specialists will often prescribe or recommend adjustments, behaviours, and exercises that can be incorporated to better help seniors keep on top of their health and build some balance into their lives. The prescription of medications to attend to numerous medical needs is very common for seniors, and while just taking the medications recommended by medical professionals may seem like a no-brainer, the reality for seniors can be altogether different. Thoughts, emotions, worries, capacities, and other barriers exist that impair seniors’ ability or willingness to take the medications they are prescribed, so it is important that loved-ones and caregivers make themselves aware of the various thoughts, emotions, judgements, and limitations that may get in the way of allowing seniors to stick to their medication plans, in order to help seniors take proper care of themselves while also being respectful of their points of view.
With things like medications, health appointments, exercising, eating well, and maintaining healthy lifestyle practices, growing older can feel like it comes with an unending list of things to keep track of. As task lists grow and priorities pile up, it becomes easy for some elements to get forgotten or pushed to bottom of the list in favour of prioritizing things that feel more urgent or important for promoting-health. One of the things that is incredibly important, but is rarely given as much attention as it needs, is the practice of making sure that seniors are properly hydrated throughout the day. Sufficient Hydration is imperative for the body’s functioning, so seniors should be mindful and purposeful about finding ways to help themselves get in enough water each day.
Our bones do a lot of hard work to support the mobility of our bodies, and bone-health is deeply important for overall quality of life. The truth is that our bones are some the areas of the body that are most greatly altered by the process of growing older, and more than half of seniors will have to contend with bone-related health issues like Osteoporosis and Arthritis. The weakening of bones that takes place because of these diseases can cause numerous negative outcomes like fractures, breaks, and falls that can lead to further damage to the body. These diseases can make everyday life uncomfortable, painful, and tough for seniors, so it is important to stay attentive in order to detect early warning signs and intervene promptly and appropriately to help avoid or minimize the impacts of bone diseases on seniors’ lives.
Powering and fueling our bodies with the right kinds of nutrition by putting thought into the foods that we eat is integral for maintaining health and vitality. As we continue to grow older and our bodies evolve and adapt through the numerous changes that come with the process of aging, nutritional requirements change as well. Seniors have a different set of nutritional needs in their older years than they did when they were younger, and many seniors’ diets are not properly altered to meet their bodies’ needs. In order to promote the best possible state of health and wellbeing, seniors and their caregivers should make themselves aware of what their bodies require in terms of vitamins, nutrients, and types of food.
Losing someone you love is beyond challenging and deeply distressing in any stage of life, but for seniors going through the stages of mourning and grief can be especially harrowing. The emotional distress and overwhelming sadness that comes with experiencing a loss can impact both the mental and physical health of seniors in significant and meaningful ways. As we enter the later stages of life and continue to grow older, dealing with death and bereavement start to become aspects of life that are experienced more frequently as the loss of loved-ones and friends occurs more and more often when those loved-ones are also growing older and moving into the later stages of their lives. We all understand grief and loss as things that are difficult to work through, but it is important to be aware of the specific ways in which seniors can be affected by the emotions, feelings, and thoughts that come along with the loss of someone they love.
Common discourse concerning seniors and technology tends to reinforce the notion that seniors are significantly less technologically-literate than their younger counterparts. While it may be true that some seniors have greater difficulty adjusting to incorporating forms of technology into their lives than those of younger generations, recent years have seen a greater number of seniors learning to incorporate numerous technological tools and resources into their lives. Whether it be to help stay connected to the people, activities, and tasks that are valuable and fulfilling within their lives, or to better manage productivity and behaviours concerning personal care and wellbeing, more seniors than ever are learning to understand and value the contributions that technology can make to helping them live a positive, engaging, and healthy lifestyle. Supporting seniors as they work towards building a better sense of mastery in terms of their capacity to use technology can help to promote feelings of empowerment and can offer the opportunity for seniors to feel a sense of control over their ability to socialize, connect, learn, play, and keep track of the numerous aspects and facets that make up their lives.
Along with aging comes a diverse array of changes that impact our capacity to take part in everyday tasks in the same way that we did when we were younger. For seniors, it can be difficult on both an emotional and a physical to accept that changes are happening that impede participation in aspects of life that were fulfilling and created an empowering sense of independence. Seniors struggling with determining how to adjust and move forward with their new realities can reap great benefits from taking part in Occupational Therapy to help them navigate challenges and set themselves up to continue living independent and fulfilling lives.