How Does Body and Mind Change With Age & How to Cope With Change As We Age?
There occur so many changes as we age. These changes may be the changes in our body or the changes in our mind. Though most people try to remain happy as they age, it is obvious that elderly age is really painful.
But again, if you are pretty aware of the changes that are actually occurring in your body and your mind, as you grow, and if you know the ways to cope up with these changes, then you can surely be able to deal with the changes and remain happy with what is a natural process of life.
In this current article we will explore about how our body and mind change with age and also know about some of the ways to cope up with change as we age.
How Does Body Change With Age?
There Occurs Sagging of Skin:
One of the most common changes that our body faces as we age is the sagging of our skin. As we age, the epidermis or the outer layer of the skin, thins. Simultaneously, our skin becomes less elastic and the facial fat in the deeper skin layers wanes. This in turn results in a loose, saggy skin marked by crevices and lines.
Bones Become Weaker:
One more change that our body meets with as we age is the change in its bones. As we grow older, there is a reduction in our bone size and our bones also turn weaker than before. Such a change is very much true in case of women during their post-menopausal phase and this can lead to osteoporosis.
When there is a reduction in the bone mass, it predisposes us to severe falls and may also lead to severe injuries in most of the cases. Healing from such type of injuries becomes too difficult as we grow with the age. This slow process of healing during old age is because of a weaker immunity.
Changes In The Heart:
There are also changes in the heart. As we age our heart pumps bloods at a slower rate, the heart become enlarged slightly and the walls of the heart may thicken.
Changes In The Body’s Metabolism And Digestive System:
As we age, there is also a change in the metabolism of our body and the digestive system. When we grow older, our metabolism and digestion slow down. With age, out digestive tract turns firmer and becomes rigid and it does not normally contract to allow food move to various processing stations in our gastrointestinal tract.
This in turn can result in nausea, stomach pain and constipation. Apart from this, the saliva production and the stomach acid production also slow down. Due to such physiological changes, it becomes difficult for the body to dispose of harmful bacteria and this in turn lead to possible choking and food-borne illnesses.
Changes In Your Senses:
One may experience that their body no more strongly react to stimuli as it usually did earlier. It takes too much of time and energy to be stimulated. Ultimately this results in a reduced sense of touch, smell, vision and taste.
As there are changes in smell and taste, there is a reduced appetite which actually is detrimental to the health. This compromised sense of taste and smell can also be dangerous. One might unknowingly consume food and beverages that might have turned substandard causing food poisoning.
Changes In Dental Health:
As we grow by age, our teeth enamel that protects the decaying of teeth, wears out. So, we become highly susceptible to cavities. There is an increased risk of developing gum disease as we age.
Most of the times you may have dry mouth and this is due to the side effect of many medications for the elderly people.
Changes Experienced In Sex Life:
Women, after menopause experience certain physical changes, especially dryness in vaginal or a lack of vagina lubrication; while erectile dysfunction may be experienced in men as they grow by age.
How Does Mind Change With Age?
You Get Distracted More:
Karen Campbell, a doctoral student in Psychology from the University Of Toronto says that as we get older, our ability to ignore distractions gets worse. However, Campbell and her colleagues found a wonderful thing and that is, elderly people might have the surprising ability to “Hyper-bind” the irrelevant information, attaching it to several other new learning or information appearing simultaneously. This unique ability is actually a blessing in disguise for the elderly people and it could ultimately enhance their memory.
Changes In Brain And Nervous System:
As we advance in age, we experience a lot of changes in our reflexes and senses. We may also have slight memory loss. In some older people, plaques and tangles form which can damage the brain and the nerve cells and can result in dementia.
Stress Is Common As You Age:
Stress is very common among the elderly individuals. Usually grief during our old age results in stress. The older we get, we lose the more loved ones around us and this surely can be really painful and lead to too much of stress in the old age.
In addition, stress or pressure among elderly people may also be due to lack or loss of purpose after retirement, physical changes that occur in the bodies, due to children leaving home and moving far away, and so on.
Coping With Change As We Age:
Adopt Proper Diet:
One of the most effective ways to cope up with change as we age is to adopt proper diet. A proper and healthy diet is very much important to ensure you live a healthy and happy life, even if you age.
You must consume lean protein and fiber-rich vegetables, fruits or whole grains, as fiber helps you in keeping you feel energetic at your growing age. You also need to take supplements, especially the vitamin D and calcium supplements. However make sure you take advice from the doctor regarding the supplements.
Apart from all these, it is always essential for you to drink adequate amount of water. As we get older, we do not feel thirstier as we used to feel earlier; however, our body still requires water. So, try to drink at least 5 glasses of water every day.
“Laughter Is The Best Medicine”:
Someone has rightly said that “Laughter is the best medicine for the body and the mind”. Laughter helps you remain energetic, well balanced, joyful, and healthy at any age. Even science as shown that laughing is good for you. So, elderly people must appreciate humor and laughter in their life. It helps in improving the quality of life, help in stress management and also assist us cope with the stresses that we meet with aging.
Do Physical Activities Or Exercise Regularly:
It is highly essential for you to perform regular exercise and it helps you cope up with the changes during old age. Exercise helps you in keeping the weight under control, prevents diabetes and also some cardiovascular disease, helps in relieving chronic pain conditions such as pinched nerves and arthritis, it helps in making you feel energetic, makes you mentally strong, help you have a great posture and improves your balance, offers you nice sleep, and also help you reverse the bone loss which comes with age.
However, make sure that you always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program and also keep it a strict note that you begin slowly and gradually increase your frequency and pace. Moreover, it is always good to make your exercise interesting by adopting physical activities such as walking with your pet, gardening, yoga and swimming.
Perform Brain Exercises:
By performing certain brain exercises you can cope up with the forgetfulness and many more mental challenges that you face as you age.
One of the best ways for stimulating your mind is to learn a new language, a new instrument, or a new game. Apart from this, playing word games or solving puzzles would also offer you a nice exercise to your brain.
Remain Connected With Loved Ones:
Remaining connected with loved ones is very much effective and helps you cope up with the changes as we age. It is really important for you to find ways to stay connected with other people, and stay social. This way you get support and company as you age and that in turn helps you keep loneliness, and depression at bay.
You must also make an effort to make new friends and remain engaged with positive social activities, such as plantation, volunteering and also participating in several social works.
Above all, always learn to accept the changes. This is a general fact that our body and mind will meet with certain changes as we age. So, accept this fact and know that though you cannot change certain things in life, you can always acknowledge your blessings. Be grateful for the things and people you have in your life, and always focus on the positive side of your age. This would help you cope up with the changes and help you live a more blissful life as you age.
Be an inspiration! Love your old age!
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