May 31, 2018 by Comfort Keepers of Riverside and Corona
When we think about aging, it’s difficult to predict in which order our bodily changes will occur. And if you ask someone else how they predict the aging process to go, they’ll have a very different timeline than yours.
This is because there’s no “right” way to age. Each individual does it differently, though the same general physiological processes occur.
Research shows there are some key changes that most people experience in each decade of their later life, however. Though these don’t happen on this exact timeline for everyone, here are the hallmarks of scientifically “normal” aging:
If you were an athlete in your younger years, you may find that doing those same activities during your 50’s becomes more difficult.
This is because at this age, stamina has surpassed its peak and begins to degrade
This does not mean you are out of shape. This degradation is natural, as your body is beginning to slow down a bit.
Think of your body like a gas tank. Aging doesn’t happen instantaneously – you gradually lose “fuel,” or stamina in this case, and at one point in your 50’s, you begin to notice it.
Most people peak physically in their 20’s to 30’s, after which your stamina maintains and begins to decline.
You may also notice during this decade of your life that getting sick or hurt will knock you off your feet for a little longer than you’re used to – again, this is natural.
During this decade is when you will officially become a “senior,” per definition of it being 65 or older.
And be it known, there is a reason why seniors are encouraged to stay up-to-date on all of their shots and vaccines: your immune system becomes more vulnerable at this stage of your life.
It’s therefore important to get your annual flu shot, and start getting shingles and pneumonia shots if you haven’t already, too.
Also focus on being more hygienic. You can get a serious illness like pneumonia simply from not washing your hands enough – and at this older age, these diseases can be quite dangerous.
Always be sure to wash your hands after getting your hands dirty or using the restroom, wash them before you eat or touch your face at all, and carry around a tiny bottle of hand sanitizer for times you don’ have access to soap and water.
Interestingly, this generation of seniors is “younger” physically. Someone in their 70’s is quite similar to what someone was like in their 60’s compared to the previous generation, which is amazing.
However, because of this increased lifespan and physicality, chronic conditions tend to develop. During your 70’s is the prime time for them to set in. These include, but are not limited to:
During these years, you will also become frailer, meaning you’ll lose body mass and strength, making you naturally weaker. Mobility issues commonly take place here, if they haven’t already.
Most men (about three quarters) experience hearing loss to an extent this decade as well. Only about 40% of women do.
Because of the increased frailness in your 70’s, your 80’s become a time for preventing falls at all costs – because they could be enough to put you six feet under.
As dark as this sounds, falls are the number one cause of emergency room visits and hospitalizations in seniors. They can lead to anything from minor bruises to broken bones, and complications that develop post-trauma can lead to death.
This risk is especially heightened for seniors who live at home alone. Research shows these individuals fall at least once a year. Because of this and other health reasons (including elective surgeries, such as a hip replacement), people in their 80’s spend at least some time in the hospital.
Many more people are living well into their 90’s now – though an estimated one third of them are living with some form of dementia.
And yet despite needing a caregiver or living in a nursing home, despite being unable to move around as easily or do the things they used to do, a vast majority of 90-year-olds are immensely more satisfied with their lives than younger folks.
Many report feeling “blessed” to have lived this long, to be receiving care for their health issues, and are more likely to enjoy the little things with little to no stress. We could all take a pointer from the elderly here!
If your aging process doesn’t quite match up with this, don’t worry – just remember that everyone ages differently, and there is no “correct” way of doing so. But if you do see these signs, remember that it’s your body’s natural process!