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What is Normal Aging?

If there is one thing that we all have in common it's that every day, we grow a little older. Not to sound gloomy, but the aging process is something that happens throughout our lifespans. When we are younger, aging is associated with growth, maturity, and learning new things. Just because we hit the age of 65 doesn't have to mean that all of that ends, in fact, most people over age 65 are healthy, happy and fully independent. So while those first strands of gray hair are a sign of the inevitable, and our bodies are changing, how do we know what can be considered normal aging, and what is not?

Normal aging can bring about the following changes:

  • Senses: we can begin to lose peripheral vision and experience a decreased ability to judge depth or clarity of colors; it's not unusual to see a decreased ability to distinguish sounds when there is background noise and to lose some taste buds as well as sensitivity to touch and smell
  • Body fat can increase until middle age, when it stabilizes until later in life, and then subsequently decreases.
  • Bones begin to lose minerals faster than they can be replaced
  • Memory Loss: Our brains lose some of the structures that connect nerve cells and ‘senior moments' may increase
  • Decrease in strength or stamina: Muscle mass declines- especially when we aren't exercising enough

We shouldn't think of again as a failure of our body- aging is a life-saving process! It is a process of our bodies adapting to prevent us from developing diseases and illnesses that could kills us. How soon you notice age-related changes in your skin, sensory perceptions, memory and strength will vary, however, if you notice changes in your loved one or yourself that seem outside the norm (or you're not certain if they are), consult with your physician to be safe!