It starts young, maybe even in your late twenties. You start to see your skin change. Then into your thirties, you notice it is harder to maintain an ideal body weight. Into your forties you find wrinkles on your forehead and around your eyes. Later your joints, bones, and muscles begin to ache.
You don’t have to be an elderly person to fear the aging process. Most of us fear it, yet none of us can prevent it. What do you fear about getting older? Many of the most common fears in older adults relate to wanting to stay active, and not being able to do so.
The top ten concerns regarding aging in Manhattan:
- Loss of independence
- Declining health
- Running out of money
- Not being able to live at home
- Death of a spouse or other family member
- Inability to manage the activities of daily living
- Not being able to drive
- Isolation or loneliness
- Being cared for by strangers
- Fear of falling or getting hurt
As a family caregiver, how can you tell if your loved one is in trouble? Look for the following danger signs:
Change. Maybe your mom had always been interested in talking to the neighbors, reading the newspaper, or volunteering, but now is withdrawing from those interests. Suggest she see her doctor.
Inactivity. You see that Dad is suddenly spending more time on the couch than outside. Spend some time with him to investigate possible causes and suggest ways to get him moving again.
Slowing down. It used to be that Grandpa always had some bounce in his step. Now, suddenly, he trudges along. That’s a symptom that needs to be addressed.
Loss of appetite and weight. You loved that Grandma enjoyed cooking and always had a healthy appetite, but lately she seems to have lost interest in food. You’re right to be concerned about that. Is she having trouble grocery shopping and preparing food, or is something else going on?
Unsteadiness. Loss of balance comes with aging, but Mom’s increasing unsteadiness is a sign that something could be wrong. Make an appointment with her physician right away.
Here are some tips to help your loved ones maintain a good attitude and stay happy!
- Stay healthy, and take good care of your body! This includes keeping up with your skin, eye, and dental care.
- Keep busy. The older we get, the more we can start to reminisce about “the good old days.” We have to remember to live our lives now, and enjoy them!
- Update your diet. As we age, our metabolism changes. See your doctor, and ask what types of foods you should be eating, how many calories per day, and how much exercise you should be getting.
- Make plenty of time for friends. Laughter is the best medicine!
For more information on aging in Manhattan visit the NYC Department for the Aging at www.nyc.gov. We have compiled an extensive list of Manhattan Senior and Boomer resources and tools designed to help the aging maintain their independence and live longer, healthier and more satisfying lives. Remember this years Older Americans Month theme:
You’re Never Too Old To Play!
(Especially in NYC, that is.)