Capacity & Confusion:

Physical Changes Associated with Aging

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Declining of senses – physical changes occur with age in all five senses:

  • Vision: Slower adaptation to changes in light; reduced night vision; increased sensitive to glare; greater frequency of glaucoma, cataracts
  • Hearing: Loss of high frequencies
  • Taste: Fewer taste buds; decrease in pleasure of food
  • Smell: Decreased sense of smell
  • Touch: Reduced sensation; increased difficulty in use of fingers

Decrease in organ reserve:

  • Organs take longer to recuperate from illness
  • Body takes longer to respond and return to normal state frequency of glaucoma, cataracts

Number of chronic, medical illnesses occurs more frequently as people age, including:

  • Hypertension
  • Coronary insufficiency (insufficient blood flow to heart muscle)
  • Diseases of heart and congestive heart failure (weakening of heart muscle)
  • Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias
  • Influenza and pneumonia
  • Urinary tract problems
  • Mental and nervous conditions
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Cancer
  • Strokes
  • Parkinson’s Disease

Specific bodily changes that occur with aging include:

  • Decrease in skin elasticity and increase in skin dryness and wrinkles
  • Loss of hair
  • Loss of teeth
  • Brittle bones and stiffening of joints
  • Loss of muscle strength
  • Digestive difficulties
  • Decrease in ability to maintain a constant and comfortable body temperature
  • Reduction in vital lung capacity
  • Nervous system changes including: loss of recent memory, weakening of attention span, and slower reflexes and movement
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