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What is part of the natural aging process and when should I be more concerned?

You and Your Aging Parents

This blog is part of a year-long series aimed at addressing some of the most frequently asked questions we hear from family and adult children on the topics most concerning them regarding their aging parents or loved one. In 2012 Hebrew SeniorLife published the eBook "You & Your Aging Parent: A Family Approach to Lifelong Health, Wellness & Care," a compilation of answers from HSL geriatric experts in response to the many of the most frequently asked questions. We're reposting some of the most popular Q&A posts from our original eBook which was downloaded over 2,000 times. We're also adding new Q&As throughout the series that address topics not originally included in our eBook. Sign up to receive the blog series and download our original eBook at www.hslindependentliving.org

While aging is a natural process, circumstances along the way will change. It is important to focus throughout the process more on whether your parents are enjoying a good quality of life and have a sense of purpose and meaning. If your parents lose focus, or become despondent and withdrawn, you should address this change with them. Early identification is very important in addressing changes that may not be self-evident to others. Talk to your parents about how these changes are impacting their lives and how they are dealing with it. Ask if this is preventing them from having a meaningful life and, if it is, ask them if you can help them solve the problem.

Remember, there are steps that can be taken to prevent decline but often it can’t be fully stopped.  You can change the slope of the aging process but aging is, by definition, a gradual process of slowing down. There’s only so much energy and resiliency we all have as we get older, and your parents will have to deal with the daily challenges and tasks of life based on that.

To download your copy of our “You and Your Aging Parent” ebook, visit our website, www.agingredefined.org.

Robert Schreiber, M.D.'s picture

About the Blogger

Medical Director of Outpatient Primary Care Practice, Community-Based Programs, Innovation and Development

Robert Schreiber, M.D., provides oversight of the Hebrew SeniorLife Medical Group, which offers primary and specialty care services to older adults. He is also involved in promoting new initiatives, including new models of care at HSL's long-term care facilities, continuing care retirement communities, and senior housing sites. Prior to joining HSL, Dr. Schreiber served as chairman of geriatrics at Lahey Clinic and held leadership positions at several Boston area long-term care facilities. He is board certified...

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As a 75 year old, I am very disappointed in the information I receive about aging. Healthy aging is really (in my experience) what you do in the previous 50 years. There is so little real help or understanding of prevention of health issues (as apposed to early detection called prevention by Obama Care). Diabetes is all about food, yet we get no real help from the medical community. I spent 20 years trying to figure out my own diabetes . What help I got was wrong! I did figure it out and am healthy and vibrant at 75 with only 20 units of Lantus and NO drugs. with the correct information, especially about diet, seniors could be vibrant to a much older age. We are what we eat, how much we move and what we think. It is as simple as that in my experience.

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