Researchers project that the number of Americans 65 years and older will surpass 98 million by the year 2060. Experts expect that 25 percent of current 65-year-olds will live into their 90s. As people age and achieve such longevity, they may experience a decline in vision, hearing loss, the wrinkling of their skin or graying of their hair, or complete hair loss. Additional characteristics of aging that don’t typically impact everyday functioning include slower reaction times, a reduced ability to solve problems, and an impaired speed at which one can encode, store, and retrieve information.
While age-related physical and mental health changes are typical, older adults could improve their health by making lifestyle accommodations based on any vision or hearing impairment, and staying productive and physically active. Implementing stress management practices into one’s lifestyle and refraining from excessive alcohol consumption and tobacco use can improve one’s quality of life as they age.
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Maintaining a healthy diet that consists of vegetables, fruits, and lean sources of protein, and is free of foods high in saturated fat and salt, can benefit adults as they age. Quality sleep and rest, eating healthy foods, and exercising, can promote optimum bone and muscle strength, and is vital to the blood vessels and heart function. Such benefits are crucial, considering older adults are at risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, osteoporosis, and arthritis.
People could prevent or lessen the risk or occurrence of the health conditions mentioned above by taking preventive measures, but one condition that can develop despite prevention is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease, the most prominent type of dementia, impacts an estimated 5.8 million older adults in the United States. This progressive neurodegenerative disorder leads to issues with memory, thinking, and behavior, and can significantly interfere with someone’s everyday functioning.
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The aging process is a natural one that depends on a person’s health status, genetics, lifestyle, and environment. For this reason, everyone experiences growing older differently. While aging is the most significant known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, a disorder that occurs in adults 65 and older and rarely anyone younger, developing this condition isn’t a typical aspect of aging. People can consult information from the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation to identify and understand the signs of Alzheimer's disease.
Some adults may be able to perform recreational activities they enjoy and remain living in their homes. Seventy-five percent of older adults surveyed for the United States Aging Survey stated that they planned to stay in their current homes (2015). Alzheimer’s onset, however, and other signs of poor health, suggest that an older adult might need to prepare for assisted living.
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Older adults who aren’t able to live alone and need attention from healthcare professionals should consider treatment at a healthcare facility. An older adult with any health condition, who is physically weak and has an increased risk of falling, tripping, and injuring themselves may need to reside in a residential healthcare facility. Alzheimer’s disease can cause the inability to speak and respond to environmental stimuli, so adults with this disorder should receive specialized care at assisted living centers.
For increased safety and wellbeing, older adults who exhibit signs of health challenges and can’t care for themselves should receive treatment at a rehabilitative assisted living facility, such as Autumn Lake Healthcare. Autumn Lake Healthcare, a healthcare center in Baltimore, MD, offers residents a nurturing, safe environment that encourages healing and wellness. Residing in such a center enables patients to have individualized long-term care, subacute rehab, wound care, and pulmonary rehab while enjoying comfort-enhancing amenities and regular trips and outings in the community. Care professionals at assisted living facilities have essential roles in supporting people who face health challenges and improving their wellbeing the best they can, given the circumstances.