If you’re holding onto a stereotypical picture of the aging process that involves a non-active, lonesome lifestyle spent in a rocking chair on the front porch each and every day, it is time for you to reconsider those ideas! Understanding the myths and facts about aging helps older adults to embrace a healthier, more dynamic lifestyle irrespective of age.
Our Algonquin caregivers offer examples of the more common misconceptions about aging, and the facts behind them, including:
Depression Is Inevitable
While loneliness and isolation can result in feelings of sadness, depression is not a typical part of growing older. In fact, research indicates that seniors are less likely to become depressed than younger adults. However, if you suspect a senior you love is battling depression, there are effective treatment plans available. Consult with the physician for help.
It’s Too Late to Learn New Things
In reality, the opposite is true. Lifelong learning is important to keeping cognitive functioning as sharp as possible. Research conducted recently showed improved brain health in elderly individuals who learned a new skill or enrolled in a course or book club. And, the social benefits that come along with studying something new are an additional bonus!
It’s Time to Slow Down and Take It Easy
Exercise is necessary for all of us, no matter what age. While the risk of falling is certainly a consideration for older adults, there are many ways to remain physically active that are appropriate in spite of any chronic health issues or concerns. Ask the physician for tips first, but in general, low impact activities such as tai chi, balance/strength exercises, and swimming are often a good starting point.
Time to Give Up the Keys
There’s a popular belief that as we get older, we all will have to give up the car keys. Though there are health conditions that can make driving risky, such as decreased vision or dementia, many older adults can continue to safely drive – often more safely, as a matter of fact, than younger drivers. Routine physical exams will guide the physician in figuring out when and if it’s time for a senior to give up the car keys.
Mom Had Alzheimer’s, So You Will, Too
While genetics do play a role in a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s, there are a number of other factors which are in our control to lower that risk. The lifestyle choices we make, such as staying active, eating right, keeping blood pressure levels under control, and not smoking, are all great protective measures.
You Don’t Need to Give Up Cigarettes Now
Perhaps you know an older adult who is of the mindset that they’ve smoked their whole lives and haven’t had any serious issues, so there is no sense in quitting now. Yet studies have confirmed that quitting smoking brings instantaneous health benefits – within a matter of hours, in fact. First, there is a reduction in the carbon monoxide levels in the blood. Within a couple weeks, circulation improves and lung function increases. There’s also a reduction in cold and flu symptoms, reduced risk for pneumonia and bronchitis, and a lowered potential for lung disease, cancer, and heart disease.
Let Inspired Home Care’s Algonquin caregivers help the seniors you love enjoy this season in life in the most healthy and happy way possible! Reach out to us at 847-787-7572 to learn about the various ways we can provide support. For a full list of the communities we serve, visit our Locations Served page.