Iowa Elderly Care

One thing to keep in mind, whether you’re living in the Iowa, the Midwest, or elsewhere in the country, is that aging isn’t a disease, it’s not something you get better from — it’s just a natural part of life.  Remember, if you’re not getting older, then you’re dead!

But people over 65 are actually much more diverse than people in any other age group.  The varied life experiences of those who live a long time probably accounts for much of their individual uniqueness.   People also age in different ways.  Some people remain healthy and active into their 80s, while others become frail early on, acting more elderly.  Even within an individual, organs age at different speed.  For example, one’s heart may be strong but their digestive system may be falling apart.

Even in the healthiest people, strength, flexibility and reaction time diminish with age.  When understanding Iowa elderly care realize that the decline actually starts when you’re a young adult but isn’t noticeable until middle age, when knees aren’t what they used to be and one’s memory isn’t as sharp or complete as before.  Forgetfulness can signal a more serious illness, such as depression or Alzheimer’s disease.

But also know the word Dementiaphobia, the irrational fear of becoming a victim of Alzheimer’s disease, can turn every missing pair or reading glasses or misplaced care keys into illogical ‘proof’ that the Alzheimer’s disease has taken hold.  Reassure your elder that everybody loses things sometimes and that ‘senior moments’ are just a normal part of life.

In the normal healthy older adult who is becoming elderly, the five senses (vision, hearing, smell, taste and touch) tend to decline somewhat with age.  A dulling in the perception of pain (the sense of touch) may cause an elderly person to ignore a bedsore, burn, or other injury increasing their risk of serious infection or disability.  That’s why being aware, but not terrified of growing old, is always the recommendation.

Lots of diseases strike older people more often than younger people.  Interestingly, the same illnesses may produce different symptoms in older people than they produce in younger adults.  For example, an under active or overactive thyroid may cause confusion in an elderly patient but not in  younger one.  When the confusion is mistaken as dementia, the elder may be unnecessarily institutionalized and the underlying illness left untreated.

At one time, heart attacks, kidney problems and diabetes were likely to cause an early death.  Now they are often simply considered ‘chronic’ illnesses – controlled or treated, but not cured.  Managing the medications, disabilities and visits to medical specialists for multiple chronic illnesses can become a huge elderly care task.

So, the bottom line is if you feel old – you’re old.  If you feel young – you’re young.  Nothing is magical about the number 65.  But that number has been the widely accepted jumping-off point for “old” since 1935, when President Roosevelt signed an act creating an insurance program that paid eligible retirees, age 65 and older, a continuing income.  This is how Social Security began for the elderly, however, the life expectance in the 30’s was around 68, and so the original plan didn’t count on the longer lives people live today!

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