Besides bone structure changing and causing pain and discomfort, people’s muscles and joints change over time as well. The inner changes can range from minor stiffness to severe arthritis. The outer changes are much more evident.
There are many physical signs of aging, including, having the posture become more stooped (bent) while the knees and hips become more flexed. It is also possible that the neck may become tilted, and the shoulders may narrow while the pelvis becomes wider.
All of these are reasons why a person’s mobility becomes limited. We walk slower, are more unsteady, take shorter steps and do not use our arms as much to propel us forward. These are all reasons why elders tend to slip and fall easier. They work harder to do what used to come so naturally, so they become more fatigued and have less energy, thus it is easier to lose one’s balance in the process.
As these changes take effect, a senior tends to lose strength and endurance because it is just so much harder to even get around, so they tend to sit around instead. However, this is not good either. When a senior skips exercise or even slight moving about, their muscle structure changes; they lose muscle mass, thus reducing their strength. It is a round robin that they have to deal with!
The seniors that do continue to exercise, though, may find that their endurance may be enhanced slightly by the changes in the muscle fibers. The performance of aging athletes that have healthy hearts and lungs discover many times that their performance actually improves in endurance events, even if it decreases in events requiring short bursts of high-speed performance. Afterward, though, they may hurt just like any other aging adult.
As a caregiver, knowing about these changes is essential. The pain and discomfort clients may feel may simply be because they are getting older. Remembering to help them exercise and eat well will help them feel slightly better. I make certain that I am up on all the latest medical data – all in an effort to display that With Age Comes Respect!