Presentation on theme: "Overview of the Aging Process"— Presentation transcript:
1 Overview of the Aging Process RelatedHealth Changes and Challenges
2 When Does Aging Begin? Aging begins the day we are born No single measure of how “old” a person isAging is highly individualizedAging proceeds at different rates in different people, and within different systems of the body
3 Why Do People Age? Many theories to include: Hereditary Factors Loss of cellular mass and ability of cells to divide and replicateAccumulation of waste materials that clog cells and cause them to dieChanges in structure of connective tissueNo single theory adequately describes the aging process
4 Normal Changes of Aging Physical changes related to “Normal” aging ARE NOT diseaseChanges occur in most body systems to include:Sensory SystemBrain and Central Nervous SystemMuscles and BonesDigestionHeart/Circulatory SystemRespiratory System
5 Sensory System Hearing Loss is usually in ability to hear high frequency soundsHearing loss can lead to social isolation and should be addressedHearing aids cannot address all types of hearing lossHow to help mitigate effects of hearing loss:Lower the pitch of your voiceSpeak directly to the person so that they can see your faceEliminate background noise
6 Vision Not all older people have impaired vision Loss of ability to see items that are close up begins in the 40’sSize of pupil grows smaller with age: focusing becomes less accurateLens of eye yellows making it more difficult to see red and green colorsSensitivity to glare increasesNight vision not as acuteHow to help mitigate the effects of vision loss:Increase lightingUse blinds or shades to reduce glareMaintain equal levels of lighting
7 Taste and SmellSome loss in taste and smell as one ages, but loss is usually minor and not until after age 70Many older people often complain of food being tastelessPossible causes:1. Loneliness at meals2. Unwilling/unable to cook3. Dental problems4. Financial barriers
8 Pain and Sense of Touch With age, skin is not as sensitive as in youth Contributing factors include:1. Loss of elasticity2. Loss of pigment3. Reduced fat layerSafety Implications:1. Lessened ability to recognize dangerous levels of heat2. Lessened ability of body to maintain temperature3. Tendency to develop bruises, skin tears more easily
9 Brain and Central Nervous System Without illness, a person can expect high mental competence well past age 80Physical reactions are slowed due to increased “lag” time of neurons transmitting information :Slowing manifests itself in the learning processUnfamiliar or high stress activities cause an older person to perform more slowlyThroughout adulthood, there is a gradual reduction in the weight and volume of the brain. This decline is about 2% per decade. Contrary to previously held beliefs, the decline does not accelerate after the age of 50, but continues at about the same pace from early adulthood on. The accumulative effects of this are generally not noticed until older age.
10 GOOD NEWS!Intellectual functioning defined as “Stored” memory increases with ageProblem solving skills increase with ageOlder people are able to learn very wellHow to help:Allow timeMinimize distractionsUse it or lose it
11 Changes in Muscles and Bones Loss of elasticity of connective tissue can cause pain and impair mobilityNo way to prevent these changesMaintain bone health through diet, exercise and getting adequate restAlways consider medication side effects when assessing mobility concernsHow to help:Encourage use of assistive devices if indicatedModify environment to reduce fall riskEncourage activity- take walks etc.
12 DigestionConstipation more common in older adults due to slowed circulation, reduced sense of thirst, lessened activity levelEmotions play a significant role in appetite and digestionHow to help:Encourage activityEncourage socialization and emotional well-beingEncourage intake of fluids
13 Heart/Circulatory System Changes Age changes make the heart less able to pump efficientlyLess blood pumped results in lowered blood oxygen levelsThe limits of the heart to exert itself are reduced with ageBlood vessels lose elasticity with age making heart have to pump harder to circulate bloodMedications processed and eliminated differently than in young adults
14 Respiratory System Changes How well the lungs supply the body with oxygen seems to relate directly to ageThe amount of oxygen delivered to the bloodstream and the rate of blood flow declines with ageEven with the lung capacity remaining normal, the lung tissues seem to lose facility for making the oxygen-to-blood transfer to the bloodstreamSince older people can not breathe as fast, there is less oxygen entering the blood per minute. Less oxygen in the system cuts down the amount of work that can be done.
15 Conclusions We all change physically, as we grow older Some systems slow down, while others lose their "fine tuning."People who live an active lifestyle lose less muscle mass and flexibility as they ageAs a general rule, slight, gradual changes are common, and most of these are not problems to the person who experiences themSteps can be taken to help prevent illness and injury, and which help maximize the older person's independence, if problems do occurThere is no need for most people to fear getting older
16 You Are Making A Difference! Be Proud of Yourselves "The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. Touching deeply is an important practice. We touch with our hands, our eyes, our ears and also with our mindfulness." -- Thich Nhat Hanh"Man becomes great exactly in the degree to which he works for the welfare of his fellow man." -- Mahatma Gandhi