After a cerebrovascular accident, an elderly patient with right-sided weakness ambulates with the aid of a walker. Which of the following is an age-related physiological change that will increase the risk of injury?

Voluntary and autonomic reflexes decrease with age.

Explanation

• As a person ages, there are normal physiological changes that develop, including reduced voluntary or autonomic reflexes. With slower reflexes, the elderly have an increased risk of injury.

• Normal physiological changes with aging include decreased muscle mass, strength, and sensory response time.

• Incorrect: Pain threshold does not increase with age, but the elderly may suffer from medical conditions that interfere with their ability to communicate or describe their pain (or in certain instances to feel pain, such as a foot sore in an individual with peripheral neuropathy).

• Incorrect: Arcus senilis, a thin white ring along the margin of the iris in the eye, is common with aging but does not pose an increased risk for injury. 

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