Guide to Ageing Well with a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
As individuals we will all have to deal with the inevitable effects of ageing such as aches, pains and fatigue, and the ageing process can start earlier in people living with a SCI. The length of time since injury is a major contributory factor to this and everyone is different, so will tolerate the effects in their own way.
There are numerous definitions of ageing, for example:
Physiological ageing may be defined as “the gradual, natural deterioration and decay of cells and their replacement over time,” and old age as “the point at which cell deterioration, damage and death outstrips the body’s capacity for recovery, repair and growth.”
ESCIF has developed an Ageing Well section on its website which contains fact sheets and articles designed to offer guidance to those with a spinal cord injury when considering the likely effects of ageing, and a ‘top tips’ section is included in all fact sheets to advise on how to reduce, delay or avoid these effects. ESCIF thanks the "Ageing Well Working Group" for preparing the materials for these pages and with special thanks to Joy Sinclair for providing us with her knowledge and for all the hard work.
One of the issues facing people ageing with SCI is their likely need for assistance with daily activities such as transferring, toileting and dressing, which for most will become increasingly necessary the older they become. Fatigue, weakness and weight gain are also reasons people might seek additional help and support. In parallel, partners or carers may well be experiencing the effects of ageing themselves so may not be able to offer the same level of physical assistance as they had in the past.
By being realistic and well prepared, the journey into the twilight years can be made more comfortable and harmonious. Seek timely advice and help from SCI peers and SCI professionals. Consider what your situation might look like in 3 to 5 years and be honest with yourself, take appropriate measures in good time. Always remember, prevention is better than cure.
“Attribute nothing to age”
Healthy ageing with SCI section is designed as a long term project, that means that more topics will be added over time. New topics will be announced also on Facebook, where you can discuss your possible issues and share your knowledge and experience.
Healthy ageing with SCI