Aging is not an illness, but it does make the body more vulnerable to disease and increase one’s chances of developing certain health problems. As people age falls are all too common, older adults are more likely to have weak muscles, poor vision and weaker legs. Elderly may suffer from decreased sensation, or other medical conditions that make them more likely to fall easily, and with more troublesome consequences. They are also more likely than younger people to take prescription medications, some of which can slow reflexes and decrease perception and or impair mobility. In so doing so, this increases the danger of injury through an accidental fall.
Physical injury is only one potential consequence of a fall for older adults, especially those who are frail to begin with. Recovery is often prolonged even after relatively minor falls, and this can lead to complications such as bedsores, greater muscle weakness, and increased susceptibility to infection.
Osteoarthritis (OA) rarely develops before the age of 40, but it affects nearly everyone past the age of 60. It is therefore considered a geriatric condition. Nearly three times as many women as men have it. Usually, only one or two joints are affected and most often these joints are the knee, hip or hand. Pain is the earliest symptom and usually exacerbated by repetitive use.
Keeping physically active is important for maintaining strength and coordination, and is one of the best defences against accidental injuries. It is also important to discuss with your physician or pharmacist the possible side effects of any medications you are taking.
Aged care is the support given to older people, either in their own home, or in an aged care facility (nursing home), providing assistance with everyday tasks, health care, accommodation and disability aids such as walking frames and ramps. As people age, their levels of independence and health decline, eventually becoming reliant on neighbours, family and friends for assistance. As your needs change, so too do the requirements for your level of care.
Australia has one of the highest regulated structures of aged care available in the world; with government accredited and qualified staff to assess, address and adapt to your level of care. This allows many elderly people to remain in their home and live independently longer than their parents and grandparents were able to do. As your needs change over time, assistance is provided to transition into an appropriate aged care facility with onsite staff to monitor your health and adapt your level of care, ensuring you have access to the best specialist care when you need it.
Types of Aged Care Services
Aged care services include:
- In home care such as housework, shopping, cooking or social outings
- Personal care such as dressing, eating, bathing or going to the toilet
- Health care such as nursing, physiotherapy or medical assistance
- Equipment such as walking frames
- Home Modifications such as handrails and ramps
- Residential care in a nursing home
- Short-term (respite) care or after-hospital care
Many of these services are subsidised by the Australian Government for people who are eligible.
It’s not an easy decision leaving your own home and moving into an aged care facility, but the pros far outweigh the cons, relieving you of tasks such as household maintenance, gardening, cooking and cleaning. Your meals are planned in consultation with a geriatric-trained dietitian for nutritionally balanced, healthy food; even your personal dietary preferences are taken into consideration. Your social life increases with optional onsite and offsite activities, and regular social events organised by dedicated lifestyle staff.
is close by if you require medical assistance. Transport is provided to and from doctor’s appointments, and most facilities today offer onsite specialist care such as physiotherapy, podiatry, hearing and eyesight care. Anyone requiring a higher level of care, help is there 24/7.