In the early decades of your life a fall that leads to a broken bone is an inconvenience, but not a catastrophe. A couple of days off work, a cast, a few doctors appointments and you would have been well on your way back to that soccer pitch before you knew it.
As you age however, your body becomes more fragile and frail, thus more susceptible to injury from even minor falls or accidents. If you are entering a phase of life where you feel a bit more frail than in your wild and adventurous twenties, you are not alone. The ageing population today wants to remain active, but want to do so in a smart and healthy way. Read on for guidance on how the healing process changes with age, and ways to combat injury.
The Dependence Cycle
Life is cyclical and there is no better example of this then the way a human goes through phases of dependence and independence. Babies are completely dependent on parents, adults are for the most part self sufficient, but then you hit an age where you become dependent on others again. An illness or fall can lead to the need for respite care or increased help from family members. This can be a difficult transition for someone who has previously experienced a lot of health and self sufficiency. Asking and accepting help for the ageing population does not have to be hard, especially as the aged care systems adapt to cater to an active ageing population.
So what is respite care?
Respite care is short term care for an older person and can be provided either in home or in a residential living centre. Respite care has two main benefits; providing top notch health care to an elderly person in need and giving family members a much needed break from caregiving duties. If you or your ageing loved one has had a fall or a recent illness, respite care can be a helpful and healthy way to ensure everyone maintains energy and positivity during difficult times. Don’t hesitate to engage with respite care workers. Often family members wait too late until caregivers are burnt out or health complications have significantly progressed.
How to avoid injury?
The greatest thing to avoid injury in old age is be smart about fall prevention. A simple trip on a chord or fall on the ice can lead to significant injury and a long recovery. A few of the best ways to clear space and avoid falling is to clear all living spaces of electrical chords, rugs that can be tripped on, clutter, unused furniture, anything on the floor that doesn’t need to be there.
Getting old is inevitable, but doing it smartly and safely takes some knowledge and effort. As you age, there are things you can do to reduce injury and increase the likelihood that you live an independent and active lifestyle. Knowing where to turn if a fall, illness or injury does occur is as important as trying to avoid those things from happening. Don’t be afraid to start having the conversations now, whether it is you that is ageing or a loved one. Open, honest dialogue about how one wants to age will be a key driver for success in ensuring those healthy ageing dreams come true. Just because you are getting older doesn’t mean you have to act old!