I took the initiative to write about aging because I have witnessed some of its effects even still now. I have experienced this when I was a kid (a kid of nine years), and that time, I was not able to understand the reasons behind that aging problems. In short, when I was a kid I used to visit my grandparents, and I faced a lot of challenges because I had to repeat my names and my parents’ names several times for them to know where I am coming from. However, after a short period of time they would ask me to remind them my names. Even they cannot recall my image well because they confounded me with other neighbors’ kids.
Now I understand the problems my grandparents were passing through and they did not have someone to take care of them that time. We, kids, were not aware of their problems and we used to laugh at them when they were not able to recall our images and even when they forgot easily what we were telling them. I am mature now I cannot commit the same mistakes, but I working hard to know different things which might help elderly to feel comfortable when they start to present physical, psychological and social inability due to age.
Few days ago, I made research and I found that people face different significant issues as they age and most of the time they did not play any role for those issues they used to face. I interviewed ten old people (male and females) and one healthcare provider who mainly focuses on the treatment of elders. I gathered different information regarding the problem faced by elders and I come up with different ways to facilitate them so as to live happily. Then, I found that it is better to let people be aware of those issues the elders face so as they can manage to work with them at any time.
Physical, psychological, and social factors linked to aging and how can we help those elders
Hearing: research proves that hearing loss affects old people’s ability to speak easily with others, and it is difficult for them to make sounds out in the noisy environment. This means that there is involuntary sensory changes as a person get older. Elders’ hearing loss do not have to cause isolation and social distress, but we have to adapt the change and create a favorable environment for them to be heard. For example, we have to get the older person’s attention while speaking and we can turn off the radio or other things which can make noise.
Vision: even though thereare different eye anomalies like myopia, aging also can create vision problem itself. With aging, peripheral vision is reduced where a person may need to turn the head so as to see to the side. In addition, it is hard for elders to adapt themselves to light change as it takes them long to accommodate to that change. There is a way to help such people with vision difficulties like using blinds or shades to reduce glare; increasing light on stairwell and steps and making regular eye exams in order to recognize any change occurred. In addition, we have to be patient to them and explain whenever they ask for that because it is not their fault. While installing light in the house you should consider people with vision issues because sometimes they are sensible too much or low light. So, it is better to balance or make their room different from others.
Touch: skin serves a protective function to human beings. The skin change affects the older people and increases the percentage of getting harm easily. This is because old the sensitivity to heat was reduced whereas the sensitivity to cool temperature increases. These changes decrease the ability to maintain body temperature due to poor blood circulation. There are still some ways to help them by avoiding daily baths, moisturize the skin with body oil after the bath and avoiding exposure to sun and the wind.
Teeth and mouth: elders are more likely to face teeth diseases and sometimes they lose teeth. But we do not have to keep quiet to that problem as it can be addressed on one way or another so as to reduce its existence. With proper personal care and regular checkups can help to reduce its level. Furthermore, people with this difficulties should be given a diet with more vegetables.
Taste and smell: some older adults’ loss the sensitivity to taste, even though it is not likely to happen to many people. Most of those people used to claim that their meals have not taste and sometimes they are no longer like their favorite food. Moreover, as we age our olfactory function declines and it becomes hard to discriminate between bad and good smell. Some of the causes are the inability to cook, the difficulty of chewing due to dental problems. As a way to help them, we can invite other elders to share food together, prepare a variety of food each day and give them familiar food.
Fear of the future: the aged people start to think of how their future is going to be by undermining themselves as they are not useful people. That factor discourages them due to the fact they do not think of the present moment but the future moment.
Memory and learning: people use to say that as people get older the capacity of memory decrease whereby some can forget easily or feel like their knowledge is being reduced due to the fact that they do not remember things which took place in the past.
Change in bones and muscles: old persons are vulnerable to broken bones because their joints and ligament between bones lose elasticity, and the loss of muscles mass reduces muscles strength which results to the fatigue. This causes walking difficulties to them. Health professionals suggested that aged and older adults should eat a well-balanced diet full of calcium and nutrients and do the regular physical exercise like walking. In addition, it is advisable to consider the walking way for people with muscles or bones difficulties while building a long house or stairs in the house.
There are different factors of aging like physical, psychological, and social. These factors have different effects on elders, so we are the ones to help these people so as to they can feel valuable in the community. The problem of sense organs, digestion, and change in bones/muscles are the most factors of aging. Together we can help the elders to feel comfortable and live a happier life regardless to their aging difficulties. This is because aging is human, if we are young now we will be elders in the future. So all of us will get older, it is better to be aware of the above factors and some of the ways to cope up with them. Thank you for reading.
Senior Homes. (2016). The psychological and social impacts of aging. Retrieved from https://www.seniorhomes.com/p/impacts-of-aging/
Smith, S., & Gove, J. E. (n.d.). Physical changes of aging. Retrieved from http://ufdcimages.uflib.ufl.edu/IR/00/00/25/19/00001/HE01900.pdf
By Florence Niyigena
A student at New Hampshire University