Caregiving at Home

1

Thinking About Home Care

2

Communication

3

Caring For Yourself

4

Setting Up Your Home, Safety and Body Mechanics

5

Preventing Infection in the Home

6

Normal and Abnormal Signs of Aging

7

Meeting Special Needs and Conditions

8

Death, Dying and Hospice Care

9

Providing Personal Care

10

Transfers and Ambulation

11

Basic Healthcare Skills

12

Healthy Eating and Hydration

13

Emergency Care

14

Medications

Chapter 6 Normal and Abnormal Signs of Aging

Chapter 6 of Caregiving at Home discusses generalizations that are made about older adults and the personal, physical and social challenges of aging. While the aging process proceeds differently for every person, there are some normal changes that occur in the body as we age. Knowing the difference between these normal changes and signs and symptoms that could indicate disease or injury will help you provide better care for your loved one.

"Normal and Abnormal Signs of Aging" explains normal, age-related changes and care guidelines for each of the body systems:

  • Integumentary system (skin), including care for dry, fragile skin
  • Musculoskeletal system (muscles and bones), including tips for preventing loss of ability
  • Nervous system, including helping with memory retention
  • Circulatory system
  • Respiratory system
  • Urinary system, including incontinence
  • Gastrointestinal system, including problems with nutrition of older adults
  • Endocrine system
  • Reproductive system, including sexuality in older adults
  • Immune and lymphatic systems, including symptoms of anemia

In addition to the physical changes of aging, your loved one may be facing significant psychological and lifestyle changes as well, including retirement, the death of friends and family members, and changing living arrangements. Chapter 6 describes some of these changes and how you can help make them more manageable and less unpleasant for your loved one. By understanding the normal changes of aging and knowing what to expect, you can help your loved one handle the changes of aging while retaining as much independence as possible.