Can Acts of Kindness Towards Elderly Individuals Lead to More Detriments than Good? A Physiological, Biomechanical, and Motor Control Perspective

Posted: February 9, 2014 in Uncategorized
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There are so many acts of “care, kindness, and loving gestures” about people being a good person to elderly individuals, but one particular act I wish to shed light on. I don’t know if you will agree with me as of now but I will state it as something for you to think about before quickly jumping to these acts of kind gestures. However, I am ABSOLUTELY not telling anybody to “not” care for the elderly. I just have an opinionated idea.

We all know that when we are young we are able to move really well because our bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons are at its optimum; but as we age the majority of our body structures will inevitably decline. Now you probably know I am speaking from a physiological and anatomical perspective. This is the main topic of my statement. A perfect portrayal is when everybody shows kindness whether reluctantly or wholeheartedly offering seats on the bus to elderly individuals. Not only is this offering of kindness but the “designated” seats for elderly individuals prompts everybody to feel the need to offer it or get up and move.

This doesn’t mean that if elderly individuals have a medical problem or disability you decide not to offer your seat, of course these people are loving exceptions. Now people may argue that “if we don’t offer our seats we look like a really bad person.” This is of course true in society’s eyes. But I am simply looking at this interesting act of service from another perspective and hope that it can change a bit with education.

What I am trying to say is that people who offer seats to elderly individuals all the time may actually be indirectly contributing detrimental effects to their overall preservation of health. It has a very minute effect in the eyes of one particular individual, but over time you can imagine that it will add up. And if you think about it, a bus ride for elderly’s is probably one of the most beneficial balance related workouts they will have throughout an entire day; because if they stand then the movement of the bus will provide them rich sensory feedback to maintain the balance that is slowly eroding. Another example is that in Asian cultures we tend to be “so” good towards our seniors, especially loved ones, to the point of telling them to not do any kind of duties and just rest and “sit down.” Usually this is due to our PERSPECTIVE of them being of old age now and have “earned” their rest. But if you think about it, by giving them the opportunity to help out with even small tasks (increases dexterity) it can preserve the longevity of their physical and physiological function.

So many “seniors” end up in senior homes could be because of a lack of physical and physiological stimulation as they enter old age. Dementia is one of the leading reasons for senior homes and continuous activity and stimulation may slow down this process. So I strongly suggest that we need to find a balance between “being kind and overly kind/loving with our elderly.”

We should educate elderly individuals to continue to “move” as much as they can so they do not lose the sensory feedback that they “need” in order to function throughout the rest of their years! Of course we should also educate their families and immediate loved ones as well as they serve the needed platform and support.

We were born to move so we should keep moving for the rest of our lives.

We can retire from old age but we must keep moving while we still can.

Cliche quote: “If we don’t use it, we’ll lose it.”

~Open Our Minds

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Comments
  1. I agree! everyone should do some form of exercise, even if it’s just walking a few steps here and there

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