You aren’t the only one who wonders if your nose is growing or your ears are getting bigger. (They aren’t. The difference is real, but it’s actually due to deteriorating cartilage and cruel gravity.) Aging bodies present new challenges and questions for everyone, and we don’t do ourselves any favors by ignoring them. These changes come for all of us, and you’re likely in good company, no matter what you’re experiencing.
The residents of Village Green in Federal Way, Washington, have chosen to live among people who understand their needs, desires, and seasons of life. It helps to be surrounded by others who “get it.” Our enticing amenities and rich social calendar support our thriving active senior living community. Reach out today; we’re ready to welcome you home.
Changes By Body System
As one ages, bones shrink in size and density, making them more susceptible to fractures. These trunk and spine changes are one reason people shrink as they age.
Muscles and Joints
Muscles and joints become stiffer and less flexible with age. The body produces less lubricating fluid and cartilage thins between joints.
Ligaments thin and shorten, further contributing to stiffness and limited flexibility throughout joints.
The immune system responds more slowly and with decreased vigor in older adults. This results in an increased risk of illness and infection and a longer healing time following surgery or injury.
A diverse, healthy microbiome is linked to a longer life span and increased physical strength and endurance. Older adults appear on the edges of the metabolic age chart because aging metabolism is less efficient. Support a healthy metabolism by varying your diet and including nutritionally dense foods like fruits and vegetables.
The muscles that aid digestion are often slower and weaker in older adults, meaning that digestion takes longer and can be less efficient than it once was. This is one reason that seniors experience slower metabolism than their younger counterparts. Because everything stays in the colon longer, water is absorbed in the digestion process, which can cause constipation.
Older adults have proportionally less water in their bodies than when they were younger. This results in lower blood volume, which impacts circulation.
Older veins and arteries have had more time to deteriorate and accumulate plaque obstruction. It is well-known that the risk of heart problems and high blood presses increases with age.
Kidney tissue deteriorates with age and filters toxins less efficiently. Bladder walls lose flexibility over time. This, coupled with deterioration in the pelvic musicals surrounding the bladder, can cause urinary accidents and decreased bladder capacity.
Like every body system we examine today, lung cells break down with age. Older lungs exchange oxygen with decreased efficiency and exhale and inhale with less force.
As we age, cells die (atrophy) in the brain and spinal cord. Buildup along neurons can inhibit quick transmission. Neurological signals travel slightly slower in older adults. These differences result in slower reaction times, reduced balance/coordination, differences in memory retrieval and cognition, and reduced intensity of sensation such as taste and smell.
Older skin is thinner and more translucent. Skin loses pigmentation and elasticity with age. Moisturization and diligent wound care is extremely important for older adults.
Older adults report more difficulty falling and staying asleep. They wake up more often and report fewer total hours of sleep each night. Seniors also spend less time in deep sleep.
Common Illnesses Correlated with Age
Older adults are at increased risk for various illnesses, which makes sense when considering the build-up of waste, and cell deterioration we explored in many of the body systems above. The most common diseases seen in older adults include the following:
- Heart Disease
- Hearing loss
- Joint atrophy and pain
Wellness Tips for Seniors
It’s not all bad news. Many of our residents are beautiful examples of aging with grace. There are simple ways you can take proactive action to keep yourself feeling your best.
- Keep your brain busy. Engage in games and hobbies that make you feel curious and engaged.
- Stay social. Interact with loved ones. Make and keep plans to stay connected.
- Keep moving. Physical exercise is vital to continued health.
- Consider meditation. Meditation is effective and has proven physical and mental benefits. Give it a try, or keep up your practice.
- Eat well. Enjoy a well-rounded diet high in fiber, protein, fruits, and veggies. Treat yourself, but do so in moderation.
Nurture Yourself at Village Green Retirement Community
Village Green Retirement Community is a rich and vibrant backdrop for the next phase of your life. Join us in Federal Way, Washington, and get ready for a new adventure. Reach out today to learn more about our options or check our availability.