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Caring For Mentally Alert Seniors With Physical Limitations

Being physically limited while mentally alert can be especially difficult. There are ways to cope with this situation, though.

Many people feel that their brains stay young even as their bodies age. Physical challenges affecting mentally alert seniors can be frustrating as a result.

Many aspects of aging are challenging. The deterioration of the body is one of those challenges. For seniors who are mentally alert, coping with physical limitations can be especially difficult. There are several ways to help seniors’ mental wellbeing while they struggle with their physical health.

The Challenges of Being Alert But Limited Physically

When a person ages, they can expect to experience some deterioration. What many seniors don’t expect, though, is how difficult it can be to become physically limited while remaining mentally aware. Some compare the experience to feeling like a young person trapped in an elderly body.

Challenges that result include:

  • A loss of ability to participate in physical activities
  • Increased dependence on others for everyday life
  • Mental stamina that is greater than physical endurance
  • Frustration with desires to act that cannot be carried out
  • Depression from a perceived loss of purpose or independence
  • Anxiety over physical changes and limitations

Signs of a Mentally Strong Senior

  • Can carry on fluid conversations
  • Remembers recent activities
  • Is socially engaged
  • Is aware of current news
  • Can communicate needs and challenges
  • Engages in mindful activities like reading
  • Recognizes physical changes and limitations

Preventing Depression Among Seniors

Depression can increase mortality rates and overall health, especially among seniors. Since physical limitation can contribute to depression, it is important to help physically impaired seniors prevent depression.

Preventing depression can include:

  • Regular social engagement
  • Mentally stimulating activities
  • Participating in purposeful hobbies
  • Receiving counseling
  • Adaptations that promote independence
  • A positive attitude
  • The support of loved ones

Coping with the Physical Aging Process While Mentally Young

Since anxiety and depression can result when mentally alert seniors struggle with physical challenges, it is important to protect their emotional well-being. Coping mechanisms many seniors find helpful include:

  • Adopting hobbies that require mental agility but little physical effort
  • Using technology and tools to adapt to physical limitations
  • Retaining independence in whatever ways are possible
  • Regularly engaging socially apart from physical activity
  • Having access to transportation if independent driving is not possible
  • Participation in reasonable physical activities, especially to prevent further limitation

Ted Wolfendale

Administrator at Dial-a-Nurse
Mr. Wolfendale is a graduate of Stetson University, and Stetson University School of Law, and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1988. He is admitted to practice in the Middle district of Florida, is an active member of the Florida Health Law section, and Lee County Bar Association.

In 1995 he became Administrator of Dial-a-Nurse nursing agency, the oldest nursing agency in the Southwest Florida succeeding his mother who started the company 37 years ago. He is also President of Nevco, Inc., an educational healthcare training company begun in 1988.

Mr. Wolfendale has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce on various Missions to improve the quality of life around the world by development of supportive healthcare programs. In 2005 he traveled with U.S. officials and addressed the Italian National Government assisting in the creation of Nurse Education mandates for that Country. In 2006 he was invited and spoke with the National Institutes of Continuing Education in Eastern Europe on healthcare education and developmental mandates, and most recently represented the United States at the European Union in Lake Balaton, Hungary in 2011. In 2014 he traveled with the U.S. Department of State to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in an effort to improve caregiver knowledge and training.

Mr. Wolfendale has worked with a number of non-profits in contributing and creating curriculum to improve the quality of life in third-world countries since 2001, and notably created a successful program in Odessa, India that has been modeled in other areas of the world. In his backyard, he has worked with local Goodwill Industries to provide curriculum and training to underserved individuals who have obtained employment as a result of educational training. He was the Congressional appointment to the Governor's purple ribbon task force in 2013, and has worked to educate caregivers in all aspects of Alzheimer's training.
Ted Wolfendale

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