No One Ever Warned You About These Awful Things That Happen When You’re Over 65

Don’t let the young kids fool you: Turning another year older isn’t such a bad thing. And by 65, you’re likely to be retired and living the free life you’ve dreamed about since your 40s. You’re already used to dealing with creaky knees, a stiff back, and a few more trips to the eye doctor since your mid-5os, so what else could possibly occur?

Unfortunately, becoming a senior can have serious consequences to your mind and body. Here’s what none of the other older folks want you to know about aging.

1. You lose muscle at a faster rate than you think

Senior couple performing yoga exercise

Regular exercise can help combat muscle loss. | iStock.com/Wavebreakmedia

If you notice the scale creeping up as you reach senior status, you’re not alone. Dr. Elena Volpi explains to the Los Angeles Times that after age 50, you lose about 1% of muscle every year. You can thank changing hormones and any sickness or injuries you experience for this.

To combat the muscle loss and fat gain, add some light resistance training to your weekly schedule, and make sure you’re getting enough protein.

Next: You’ll want to stop skipping those dental visits. 

2. Your gums recede

Dentist in examination room

Your dentist may be able to clue you in to this sign of aging. | Sam Edwards/Getty Images

If you skipped the dentist when you were younger, it’s time to get those teeth checked. Harvard Health Publishing explains your gums naturally recede as you get older, which can expose the root tissue of the tooth. This can cause tooth decay at a faster rate. And if you grew up before fluoride products were readily available, you may have bigger issues.

Next: Yes, this really does happen to your brain.

3. Your brain shrinks

Wire frame brain model

Yes, this fact is sad, but true. | Jezperklauzen/Getty Images

Unfortunately, your brain really does get smaller as you age. Psychology Today notes it’s not that your neurons die, though. It’s that other areas of your brain shrivel over time — and it’s more likely to happen if you have a tendency to become over-stressed.

To combat age-related brain degeneration, keep an active and healthy lifestyle. And of course, work to keep those stress levels low.

Next: Your food may not taste the same as it used to. 

4. You lose your taste buds

Smiling older man eating pizza

Are you enjoying that salty pizza as much as you used to? | Nyul/iStock/Getty Images 

Pouring a little too much salt and pepper on your meals? There’s a reason your food tastes relatively flavorless as you get older, and that’s because your senses dull over time. NPR explains your taste buds lose their ability to regenerate as you age. That means when you burn them on your hot coffee, you might end up losing them forever once you’re in your 60s. And if you’re having trouble tasting your food, it might actually be your sense of smell that’s fading, too.

Next: Sorry, but all those concerts in your youth didn’t help out here.

5. Hearing loss is inevitable

elderly group of women having a meal

You may notice you can’t hear as clearly as you used to. | monkeybusinessimages/ iStock / Getty Images Plus

If you need a hearing aid once you reach the age of 65, you’re not the only one. The National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders explains age-related hearing loss is one of the most common issues plaguing seniors today. One in three people in the U.S. between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss.

Noise-induced hearing loss is common, but high blood pressure and diabetes can also have a negative effect on your ears.

Next: You probably didn’t think this body part would be affected. 

6. Your feet need a break

Senior lady massaging her bare foot to relive aches and pains

Quality shoes will do wonders for sore feet. | mheim3011/Getty Images

Yes, even your feet will feel it as you age. Prevention explains your feet lose their fat padding, which is why they hurt more by the end of the day if you’ve been on them for hours on end. Not only that, but circulation to your feet slows, which can cause existing blisters, cuts, or scrapes to heal extra slowly. And you might also notice the tendons tightening, which raises the risk of injury.

Next: This is an unfortunate reality when gravity takes hold.

7. Sagging skin is sure to occur

senior woman looking at skin in mirror in bathroom

This is what we all experience as we age. | Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images 

From dryness to sagging, WebMD notes aging severely affects the skin. You’ll likely notice it becoming more transparent, rougher, and dryer — but that’s not all. You also lose elasticity in your skin, which is why it sags.

While there’s little you can do to stop sagging, you can keep your skin looking as healthy as possible by staying out of the sun. Wear a hat and sunscreen when you’re outside for extended periods.

Next: The vast majority of seniors have to deal with this pain. 

8. Tendonitis wreaks havoc on your joints

Physically, you may not be able to do as much as you used to. iStock.com

You’ll notice a few more aches and pains as you age, which is unfortunately quite common. WebMD notes many seniors develop osteoarthritis due to the cartilage between the joint and the bone breaking down over time, which can certainly cause a great deal of pain. Even for seniors without arthritis, inflammation of the tendons can also be quite painful in the joints. Activities involving repetitive motions typically make tendonitis worse.

Next: You might need a hair cut in the near future. 

9. Your hair permanently thins out

Smiling elderly woman comb hair and looked in the mirror

Even in women, this side effect of aging can occur. | MilicaStankovic/Getty Images

Thinning hair may be unpleasant, but it’s actually totally natural and common. The Huffington Post explains hormonal changes can affect hair growth, and your hair follicles also shrink in size as you age. The follicles start producing hairs that are extremely fine and barely visible, thus why it appears like you may be balding.

The best thing you can do is strengthen the hair you still have. Reducing breakage and eating plenty of nutrients will help you greatly in the long run.

Next: You’ll want to avoid the hospital as much as possible as you age.

10. A stay at the hospital can turn into a nightmare

senior with painful arm during rehabilitation

Health issues after a hospital stay are common. | KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images

CNN shared startling research that found a third of hospital patients above the age of 70 leave the hospital in worse shape than when they first got there. The noisy, restrictive hospital atmosphere can do lasting damage to seniors. If they’re not getting enough sleep, eating low-quality food, and unable to move about freely, it can set them up for a wealth of issues after they leave the facility — some of which are unrecoverable.

Next: It’s not just those with dementia who experience this issue.

11. Memory loss may occur

Male doctor talking to patient

You may have trouble remembering little details from time to time. | Seb_ra/iStock/Getty Images

You may forget where your keys are more often as you age — and unfortunately, that’s totally normal. The Mayo Clinic explains a decline in your thinking skills and memory is natural. And there’s a big difference between age-related decline and dementia-related memory issues.

If you find yourself asking the same questions over and over again, forgetting words while you’re talking, mixing up words, and misplacing items with frequency, these are all early symptoms of dementia. Ask your doctor for testing if you’re concerned.

Next: Age doesn’t just affect your physical health. 

12. You may feel more depressed than ever before

Older sad

Feeling blue? | Dmitry Berkut/iStock/Getty Images

Many younger folks are plagued with depression, but they’re not the only ones. As you age, you’re going through a ton of life changes, from retirement, to the death of loved ones, to new medical issues. And the National Institute of Mental Health says most adults cope with these changes — but not everyone gets away unscathed. You may become one of the millions with depression.

If you feel persistent feelings of sadness or anxiousness and you’ve lost interest in your favorite activities, these are a few signs your unhappiness may need medical attention.

Next: You may be seeing the doctor more often for this reason.

13. Your risk for a variety of diseases increases

Nurse standing with old patient

You may be more prone to disease and infection. | Rawpixel/iStock/Getty Images

It’s true that seniors are more susceptible to a diseases and infections. As you get older, it’s common for your immune system to work less efficiently, Healio explains. In addition, you may have also developed another condition by this point, like diabetes or arthritis. The combination of a less effective immune system along with the development of another condition is likely to lead to bigger health issues and infections down the line.

Next: The shots you received as a child may be ineffective. 

14. Your childhood immunizations may not work as well anymore

Doctor Giving Male Patient Injection

You may need to get those shots updated as you age. | monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

You received several vaccines as a child, but those aren’t likely to last forever. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains your childhood vaccines wear off over time, leaving you susceptible to more illnesses than you think. Visit your doctor to get up-to-date immunizations.

Additionally, if you’re over the age of 65, you should take extra care to get the flu shot. Over 60% of those who are hospitalized from the flu are 65 or older.

Next: A visit to your eye doctor may be in order. 

15. You’re more likely to have eye troubles

Sight of old woman verifying by apparatus

Your vision may shift as you age. | YakobchukOlena/Getty Images

If your glasses just aren’t cutting it anymore, you’re not alone. AgingCare.com explains one in three Americans have an eye condition that impairs their vision by age 65. Glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy are all common conditions that affect seniors.

If you’re having vision issues, be sure to visit an eye doctor. If left untreated, the medical problems can worsen and result in blindness in some cases.

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