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Adaptations For Aging

The natural process of growing older can creep up on us in a number of very subtle ways.  I'm so thankful it's a long, slow process, & that as we age we can learn to adapt to all the new ways that things need to be done.  Sometimes we are faced with arthritis, sometimes with bad knees, sometimes with a less than stellar memory.  It's important that we carry on with our normal activities so that we maintain our range of motion, mental clarity & normalcy of life. Fortunately for us, modern technology has come out with a number of products that can help us adapt to our changing needs.

When it comes to aging, many people find that gardening becomes a bit more difficult.  The constant bending and kneeling can be a great workout, but it is also hard on your back, knees & hands.  Many people have found relief by having raised bed gardens installed.  By using raised beds, one can sit on the edge of the garden bed & weed, plant & harvest without having to bend over. You could even use a kneeling pad on which to be seated.  You'll still be able to harvest your own healthful food & take care of flowers, just without the pain.  If you find that weeding or pruning is difficult for arthritic hands, you can buy ergonomically correct hand tools that should help.  Garden in shorter segments of time so that you are not over-using your joints & muscles.  Be sure to keep the sun off of your skin if you are out in the heat of the day, as aging skin is thin & can be harmed more easily by the sun.  Also, remember to wear gloves to protect your hands, especially if you're doing harder work.  Skin heals at a much slower rate as we age.

Rising from the floor, from bed, from a chair, almost anywhere can prove to be more difficult as we age, as well.  First it should be noted that there are exercises called “natural movement” exercises that can be incredibly helpful for aging individuals.  They are not high impact, but help you maintain & even build up your range of motion.  They help with some of the daily activities so that they become easier & so that we build strength to continue to do the things that we currently enjoy doing.  If you find that these exercises are not helping, or that your body needs further assistance, consider motorized beds & chairs that will rise & bend for you to get you started.

If you find walking to be difficult in any way, discuss this with your doctor.  There may be shoes that will correct the pain that you are having.  Sometimes it is just a matter of a little more arch support or wider shoes. Sometimes you may require a bit of physical therapy or a cane to use temporarily.  No one should just put up with pain when there are simple things that could help.  If your walking is adversely affected by vein problems, a doctor can recommend which weight of therapeutic hose or socks to wear to improve circulation & relieve the extreme tiredness of your legs & feet.  If your back is hurting during walking, physical therapy, braces or other interventions could help greatly.

I have known a number of older folks throughout the years.  Those who have had the best quality of life were not the ones who ignored their pain & tried to push forward, but rather the ones who admitted when things were starting to bother them & went about trying to fix the problem.  Long periods of time in pain do nothing except put long term stress on the body & the mind.  It makes a person, understandably, less patient, less understanding & also less tolerable to be around.  So, let's do ourselves & everyone around us a favor & admit when we need to think about making some changes so that our quality of life can continue into our 90's and later! 

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