Welcome back to our blog page here at Nova Home Health Care! We are proud to be a team of people who are passionate about providing elderly and disabled people with the care that they need and providing families with a new quality of life. If you’ve been taking care of your elderly parent or aging loved one on your own, at times, you’ve probably experienced frustrations, weariness, and even a loss of hope. Not only are you addressing the physical needs of someone who used to be independent, you’re managing a new set of expectations for your family, and dealing with the emotional strain that providing care might be costing you and yours. Caring for someone else, even on a part-time basis, can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining for anyone.

That’s where we come in!

Nova Home Health Care steps into your situation and helps make sense of what has been so discouraging and perhaps, chaotic for you and your family members. By providing outstanding home health care in the form of skilled nursing, speech therapy, physical therapy, post-surgery care, occupational therapy, and so much more, we’re helping the amazing people of Fairfax, one family at a time. If you’re ready to let someone help you bear the burden of care for your elderly parent or disabled loved one, reach out to us at Nova HHC today!

The Joys of Youth

When we’re young, our bodies are agile, our minds are sharp, and our energy is so often where it needs to be to stay active. Physical activities like running and jumping are simply done without a second thought. Days spent out in the sun hardly pose a physical threat because our tanned skin is tough and supple. Foods that we eat that are high in sugar, fat, and cholesterol don’t have a long-term effect on us because our youthful systems are able to filter out what we need and don’t. Similarly, when we’re young, we can function fairly well on little sleep, and our minds stay pretty active and able even some extreme circumstances. Who doesn’t miss being young?

As we age, it’s no secret that our bodies and minds start to lose some of the strength, flexibility, and stamina that they once enjoyed in abundance. Our bodies stop allowing us to do activities that we once performed so easily, we’re reliant on the right food to feed our systems, and we don’t have the same mental alertness that we once took for granted. Since elderly people are more sensitive and fragile in many ways, there are simply things that have to be considered when caring for them. Let’s take some time to look at the unique nature of elderly care.

The Effects of Aging

Aging Bones

Throughout our lives, bones are always changing through a process of absorption and formation called “remodeling.” As we get older, the balance between these two becomes off kilter and this results in a loss of bone density. The mineral content of our bones decreases and causes them to become brittle. Brittle bones mean that problems like osteoporosis and broken bones are much more likely.

In addition to the loss of bone density, the cartilage between bones is affected by a lack of water content from the bones and starts to become more susceptible to stress, causing arthritis. The ligaments that act as connective tissue between bones, become less elastic and reduces flexibility.

Aging Muscles

As one can easily assume, as muscles age, they tend to shrink and lose mass. The number and size of the fibers within the muscles also decrease, making it harder for muscles to respond when we’re older. In addition to the loss of muscle mass, the content of tendons decreases and makes muscle tissue stiffer and less able to tolerate stress. Because the heart becomes less able to propel large amounts of blood throughout the body, we become more tired and fatigued and it takes us longer to recover when we’re older.

Aging Skin

As we age, our skin loses elasticity and starts to become wrinkled and saggy, trading the luster and melanin for a more sheer, translucent-look. In addition to the visible changes, elderly skin is as fragile as it appears. Elderly skin is usually much more sensitive than younger skin and not only is it more susceptible to injuries, rashes, and irritations, elderly skin is much slower to heal than skin that’s younger.

Aging Brains

It’s no secret that the mind often slows down or the memory becomes cloudy as one gets older. Elderly people often find it more difficult to multitask because they’re needing to focus all of their attention on one thing at a time. Similarly, they often lose the ability to keep multiple facts and figures at the forefront of their minds at the same time. In the same way, the memory of someone in their 80s is often in much worse condition than a person in their 20s.

While the physical and mental changes we’ll all undergo can be a little bit intimidating, it’s important to remember that there are plenty of ways to help keep the effects of aging at bay. There are definitely steps that you and I can take — the younger you are when you start, the better — to help slow the effects of aging in our bodies and our minds.

How to Combat Physical and Mental Aging

For your body

Skin – Take care of your skin by using sunscreen, drinking plenty of water, and eating a balanced diet. Don’t intentionally get sun damage and remember to moisturize.
Body – Since your body is almost all water, you need to stay hydrated in order to properly care for it. You also need to make sure that you’re eating enough of the right foods and staying away from the foods that will do damage to you in the long run. Also, remember to get exercise at least three to five times per week, take your vitamins and give up unhealthy habits like smoking and fast food binges.
Mind – There are plenty of ways to not only help improve the functionality and ability of your mind but keep it able to stay young for decades to come. Refer to the information in our last blog series to learn more!

For more information on ways to stay young and healthy, check out some of our previous blogs and if you’re ready to talk to someone about getting some home health care assistance in your or your loved one’s home, reach out to us at Nova Home Health Care today!