Seniors are leading more active, engaged lives than ever before. From the thrill of extreme sports to the rush of new love, more and more seniors see the next chapter as a chance to hone new skills, continue growing, and pursue adventure. Activities for seniors include much more than just sitting on the porch drinking lemonade.
Many times, medical concerns and complications happen more frequently as seniors age. Many seniors require the assistance of prescription or over-the-counter medications to combat symptoms of illness or pain. Even the healthiest of seniors can find themselves at the doctor’s office with an infection that requires antibiotics. However, with the addition of medication to a senior’s daily routine, some can end up taking medicines incorrectly.
According to theNational Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 6.5 million seniors in 2009 suffered from depression. The statistic may be eight years old but remains startling today because many people still don’t see clinical depression as a problem for aging parents.
According to the U.S. 2010 Census, 28.3 percent of Americans older than age 65 lived alone. If you break that down just by ages 65 to 74, the number drops to 21.6 percent (because many spouses are still alive at this age) but increases to 32.2 percent for the 75-to-84 age group and 48.2 percent for seniors over age 85.
Surprised at those numbers? As Americans’ life expectancy has increased so has their preference toward independence, even if that means living alone. Many seniors do fine on their own, requiring and accepting some help from family and friends (not many 90-year-old grandmothers will change a car tire on their own, for example) but mostly living their lives as they did when their spouses were still alive.
Everyone handles aging a bit differently. While we all may hope to age gracefully, complex medical conditions, pain, cognitive trouble and other unique challenges can sometimes make aging incredibly difficult. If you are finding that your aging parents are becoming a bit more—ahem—difficult in their older years, you are not alone. Even the most kind adults can become angry, stubborn or downright rude due to the litany of obstacles that aging can sometimes bring.
Outstanding assisted living is also a priority for today’s seniors, and the two goals appear as if they should run parallel to each other. Although dementia care does incorporate many principles of assisted living, the two are not the same. Yet both are incredibly important to seniors and their families.
What comes to mind when you smell freshly cut grass or chocolate chip cookies cooling on the counter? If you are like many people, these smells can bring up memories even when we aren’t expecting it. Perhaps you remember playing with your children or grandchildren when you smell Play-Doh or think of your wedding day when you smell a certain perfume. While you may have anecdotal stories of how smell conjured a memory for you, there is also scientific research that shows us that smell is a powerful tool when it comes to memory and positive experience.
One reason why Alzheimer’s is so insidious is that it has no cure nor practical effective treatment. Every patient eventually succumbs to the disease. Progress toward learning more about the nuts and bolts of the disease has been slow, even asmore Americans are diagnosed with the condition.
Talking about Alzheimer’s disease purely in terms of facts and statistics may seem a bit impersonal on one level. After all, this terrible condition affects families, and boiling it down to a series of numbers diminishes, at least on the surface, the struggles these families endure daily.