Well, according to the National Institute of Health, our brains and nervous systems, the core control center for any human being, go through natural changes. Our brain and spinal cord lose atrophy (losing nerve cells and weight) thus our movement, senses, thoughts and memories are suppressed since they are all controlled by the body’s core operating system (OS). Since our brains and spinal cord change, so do our hearts and bowels as these organ are also controlled by the core OS. Some of these changes are frightening while others cause sheer embarrassment.
Our nerves are the pathways for information carried to and from our brains to the rest of our bodies thus when they dissipate the messages may pass slower than they did in previous years. Our spinal cords consist of a bundle of nerves running from our brains down the center of our backs, then those same nerves extend out from our spinal cords to each and every part of our bodies.
Waste products can collect in our brain tissue. When this occurs, our nerve cells will break down, causing abnormal changes in our brains. These changes may be stamped with the term plaque or tangles that form. If this does occur, nerve tissue may build up a fatty brown pigment called lipofuscin or aging pigment.
The issue with all of this is that when our nerves break down, our senses are affected and we can have reduced reflexes or sensation. This leads us back to the discussions about falling; severed movement and safety.
It can also lessen our brains so that our thoughts, memories and thinking are affected. This leads us back to the prior topics of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Not every aging adult is affected, but some are – severely.
No matter what changes, knowing about how the changes can affect our clients will help us care for them better. Knowing lets us display that With Age Comes Respect.