Aging is an incredibly complex process that affects every part of the body. One of the most noticeable changes for seniors is aging’s effects on bones, muscles, and joints. These age-related changes can make it more challenging to move around. Being aware of the way the musculoskeletal system changes with age can help you recognize and address some common problems that might affect your senior loved one.
1. Arthritis Becomes More of a Problem
Arthritis can develop at any age, but certain types of arthritis are more common among seniors. Over time, repeatedly moving joints in the same way can cause wear and tear, which results in inflammation that causes joints to become swollen, inflamed, stiff, and painful. If you notice any joint problems, talk to a doctor because there are medications, exercises, and surgeries that can address the issue.
2. Muscle Fibers Lose Size & Flexibility
The individual fibers that make up the muscles shrink, causing a decrease in the overall size of the muscles. Some fibers are replaced with rigid, fibrous tissue instead of healthy new cells, so muscles lose strength and flexibility, which can make it difficult to move around, stand up, or walk. The good news is this effect can be slowed dramatically by regularly exercising the muscles. Weight-lifting exercises can build new muscle cells to replace lost ones and retain their strength.
Making positive lifestyle choices such as exercising more is just one of the many ways older adults can delay the impacts of aging. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional senior home care. Jefferson County, CO, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
3. Range of Motion in Joints Decreases
Most seniors notice their joints feel stiffer. Your loved one may find it difficult to move his or her joints as far as he or she did in the past, and movement might be slowed or painful. This happens because the cartilage and synovial fluid that lubricates joints decreases with age. However, avoiding movement could make the problem worse. Gentle stretches and exercises like yoga can spread lubricating fluid around the joints.
If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Jefferson County, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
4. Muscle-Nerve Connections Decrease
An important part of effective muscle function is the nerves that connect them to the brain. However, as people age, the number of nerves spread throughout the muscular system starts to decrease, which makes it difficult to coordinate all the tiny muscle movements that help seniors stay balanced and move around with ease. Your loved one may notice a reduction in reaction times and coordination.
5. Bone Density Is Diminished
As people get older, the process by which the body builds new bone cells gradually slows down, which causes bones to become more porous as cell decay outpaces cell production. The reduction in density makes bones more weak and fragile, so seniors are more likely to experience fractures. Bone density loss can cause vertebrae to compact, resulting in a hunched posture and reduced height. This condition is more common in women, but it does affect older men as well. It can be slowed by performing weight-bearing exercises and eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.
Weaker bones are not the only age-related condition older adults may experience. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality senior care. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably. If your loved one needs professional care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (303) 987-5992 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.