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Whitehall of Deerfield - Healthcare Center

Five key body changes as you age — and how to deal with them

Everyone expects to see a few gray hairs and wrinkles following each birthday but there are other changes that are less expected but inevitable. Here are five general areas that change with age and some ideas for coping with this new level of normal.

Circulatory system
Your heart and the vast network of blood vessels in the body will generally begin to stiffen with age. This in turn makes the heart work harder to pump blood throughout the body. The heart muscles change due to this extra workload, which can lead to high blood pressure. Daily exercise and a healthy diet will help the body deal with these changes. Reducing stress can also be helpful. A good night’s sleep is another powerful tool since sleep is the time when the body is able to heal and repair the heart and blood vessels.

Bones, muscles and joints
People may joke about growing shorter but it is often true during the aging process. The discs between vertebrae in the spine lose fluid, get smaller and cause the spine to shrink so overall height is lost. Bones, in general, begin to lose density and are more likely to break. Muscles lose strength and flexibility, which makes movement more challenging. The first way to combat this part of aging is to get at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day. Calcium is found in dairy products but also in broccoli, kale, salmon and tofu. Be sure to keep Vitamin D in your diet plan also by enjoying time in the sun and eating tuna, salmon and eggs. Finally, daily physical activity can slow bone loss and keep those muscles strong so include weight-bearing exercise like walking in your daily activities.

The digestive system
Some people experience structural changes in the large intestines that lead to constipation. Taking some medications or having chronic conditions like diabetes add to digestive difficulties. A healthy diet and regular exercise are the main ways to combat these changes.

The brain
Some parts of the brain begin to shrink during aging and affect memory and thinking skills. It is normal to occasionally forget a familiar word or find it more difficult to multitask. An important way to promote brain health is to stay mentally and socially active. Learn new things, play games that use memory, and spend time with friends and family. Regular exercise is also important since it increases the blood flow to the brain. Eating a healthy diet and controlling alcohol intake can also be beneficial to your brain health.

Putting on a few pounds as you age is common. Part of the reason for this is that the way the body burns calories, known as metabolism, begins to slow down as we age. So even if you eat the same diet you have for years, the body is not using those calories at the same rate. Cutting back on portions and working on adding daily physical activity can help combat the effects of a slower metabolism.

Role of age in recovery
As might be expected, it is more challenging to recover from a major medical event as age advances. Healing is slower and regaining balance and flexibility is more difficult. There may have been a time when it was easy to bounce back after injury or illness but more time and effort must be given as we advance in age. Surrounding yourself with people who are aware of the specific needs of an older patient is imperative for a successful recovery. Many people turn to a short-term care facility to find this level of care.

An elegant and effective choice for short-term recovery is Glenview Terrace, where each guest receives personalized care from a caring staff to fit their individual needs. One-on-one physical, occupational and speech therapy are offered up to seven times a week as needed. All guests have access to state-of-the-art equipment in Glenview Terrace’s gyms. Compassionate staff offer the encouragement and positive reinforcement needed to move you toward your goals with clear understanding of each guest’s personal limitations.

Using expert care and sophisticated techniques, Glenview Terrace offers an aggressive blend of traditional and advanced rehabilitation services to get guests home as quickly and safely as possible. The advanced tools and equipment are all on site to meet specific needs including video fluoroscopy, Doppler ultrasound and X-rays. The professional staff can deliver expert pain management, respiratory and intravenous therapies and manage all existing conditions like diabetes.

Glenview Terrace delivers this top-notch care in an elegant setting that begins with beautifully landscaped grounds and continues into the spacious, well-appointed rooms. Guests can enjoy nutritious meals served in elegant dining areas or in their rooms. There are many opportunities for interaction with others during planned activities. Guests can also choose to relax in their rooms with an impressive array of amenities and services to pamper them.

You may not bounce back as quickly as in the past, but Glenview Terrace can help you get back to your normal lifestyle as quickly as possible at any age. For additional information or to arrange a tour, visit or call 847-729-9090.