Jan 6, 2021

The Aging Process - What To Expect

Many have said that we are at our prime at about 18 years old.  That may be true physically; but since at 18 life experiences are limited, I would put prime age at around 40 years old.  Unless we have some debilitating disease, we should be physically vibrant at 40 year old and have lived long enough to have some life experiences to provide knowledge and wisdom.  After 40, we start to experience the typical stages of aging.  Eyesight may not be quite as good requiring glasses.  Stamina begins to erode; though exercise can mitigate the loss of physical strength to some degree.  

Once we hit our 60's, the odds are pretty good that we will not be better tomorrow than we are today.  Of course, we can still have a very good quality of life for years and in many ways retirement could be the best time of our lives.  For many people that is the case; but for others ailments begin to take their toll.  This is when chronic diseases tend to slow us down.  Fortunately, since everyone in the United States over 65 years old has some form of Medicare, it is possible to get needed medical treatments and medications to prolong life provided we take advantage of the services that are available at little or no cost except for premiums that are means tested.  

In our 70's, very often crap starts to happen.  We start to slow down a bit.  There may be some physical or mental impairment.  Mid Day naps are common.  This is often when families need to begin their involvement in Elder Care.  Lots of issues come up related to Estate Planning if not already in place, which should happen sooner.  It could be that family caregivers need to get involved in medical treatments, nutrition, home living options and a million other issues that come up as we get older.  And, it is important to understand that not everyone lives to be 90.  People do die in their 70's and sometime suddenly.  One of the things we must worry about most are falls, which can cause a whole sequence of unpleasant events to occur.

While some may be able to live independently into their 80's and 90's, many need help.   Whether family members devote more time to care giving and or home care services are used, very often Mom or Dad need help for some number of hours every week.  And, when it becomes 7/24, it is probably time for a full time caregiver, or moving into a Senior Care Community.   The aging process is inevitable for all of us.  The more we understand the phases of the aging process, the better.  Families often struggle with aging more than their parents do who they remember as being young and vibrant.  This is a normal aspect of denial because no one wants to see a loved one grow old and helpless.