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5 Curiosity Driven Questions and Answers about Seniors

By: Clare Absher RN, BSN

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Why do Seniors Wake up Early?

Many seniors wake up with the sun but admit they have nothing to do and nowhere to go, so why such nonsense you may wonder? Well maybe it's as simple as force of habit due to years of early work schedules. Contrary to popular belief however, seniors actually need less sleep then younger folks as natural aging causes their metabolism to slow down. Expending less energy also means reducing the need for sleep. Spend the day with your favorite senior to witness firsthand this grueling, energy sparing pace. Seniors often tuck in early to bed and are quite puzzled to find they can't sleep an absurd 10-12 hour nightly stretch. In all honesty, maybe seniors appreciate that surviving another night to welcome the new day dawning is a special joy the rest of us may take for granted.

Why do Seniors get Cold?

Have you ever visited your parent's home to find the heat turned on when it's a balmy 65 degrees outside? You probably wondered as sweat beads were forming on your brow why older folks are more prone to getting cold. Compromised circulation by our less active and slower paced elders causes them to get cold more easily. Less body mass of most seniors can also impair natural shivering ability needed to maintain body heat. Seniors also tend to eat less as they grow older because actually candy doesn't count and less calories means less heat production. Therefore during your next scalding visit to your folk's home keep your cool by remembering that your parents actually have valid physical reasons for getting cold. However if you have any influence left that can help your parents stay active and eat right then this may be the time to use such. On the bright side you will never have a shortage of useful gift ideas because cozy throws, warm sweaters, wool socks and hats will likely be a hit.

Why do Seniors Fall Down?

 "I've fallen and I can't get up" became universally an overused and somewhat comical expression however the sad reality is that falls really are a common problem among our seniors. A variety of physical Illnesses that cause weakness, affect circulation, and loss of sensation can lead to falls. Weakened legs whether are caused by a recent bout of the flu or chronic Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease means a higher fall risk. Less activity resulting in reduced body mass also translates into more fragility. Loss of balance from diseases, blood pressure changes, and strokes pose greater risk of falling for the senior population. And if that's not enough risk factors, bear in mind that the elderly's reflexes slow down a lot creating more likelihood of falls when shifting weight or making sudden movements. Senior's pill boxes stuffed with a multitude of drugs also come with unwelcome side effects impairing alertness, judgment, and still more balance and dizzy problems. Diminished vision due to impaired depth perception, poor light and dark adjustment, glaucoma and cataracts play a big role is causing seniors to fall down. Wearing bifocal and trifocals while helping vision can complicate mobility further. Scattered rugs, poor lighting and lack of home safety equipment are commonplace in many senior homes. Therefore maybe it's time for a garage sale to clear the clutter from your elderly pack rat's home and put some pennies in frugal pockets at the same time. Fall proof your parent's house even if met by probable resistance by replacing light bulbs, installing railings on stairways and grab bars in the bathroom. Make sure your 5 foot tall mother can reach the kitchen cabinets and keep your dad from dangling off the step ladder in the garage. Regard this undertaking at your folk's home as an intervention in elderly hoarding but realize more importantly the true reward is fall prevention.

Why do Seniors like Discounts?

It's safe to say that most of us are tickled pink to find a terrific bargain but seniors possibly more so. Maybe it's simply because they are on a fixed income and discounts can stretch their dollars further. Seniors methodically clip coupons, enter contests, collect freebies and take advantage of sales that others barely know exist. They are careful to shop only on special days when a multitude of merchants discount groceries, clothes, and drugstore supplies. Seniors with flexible schedules seek out discounted tickets for movie matinees, cheap seats at ball games and vacation packages during off times to cash in on big savings. Let's not forget the original early bird special created to accommodate seniors love for cheap no fuss meals served way before the usual dinner hour. After all, it should come as no surprise that many seniors with more time and flexibility along with some distinctly frugal tendencies are the best bargain hunters.

Why do Seniors Gamble?

Mostly for the same reason younger folks do... it's exciting and maybe even an adrenalin rush! Of course the hope of actually winning plays a big part and surely is a little thrill seeking too. Seniors are bargain hunters and clearly nothing's better than a package deal for a comfy bus ride, lunch, and complimentary poker chips to their favorite casino. Whether it's a day trip to local casinos or on board cruise ships, seniors enjoy the cheap amusement and good companionship. And hey let's face it, most retirees have lots of free time on their hands for hitting those slot machines.