Senior Alternatives

Care Management and Home Care Services
10 Common Health Issues Among Seniors, and What You Should Know

March 24, 2021

  1. While some cognitive decline is normal as we age, Alzheimer’s is not. If you have noticed a significant issue with your memory, contact your physician. Senior assistance can be provided through home care either in your own home or in an assisted living or  memory care community. Care services for seniors are important to the overall health and well being for those who might get forgotten along the way. 
  2. Our balance tends to worsen over time which can lead to falling. Falls are the leading cause of injury among the elderly, making a case for hiring home care services. Those receiving elderly assistance either at home or in a senior care facility may still fall but the risk is mitigated. 
  3. Poor oral health can negatively impact the overall health and well-being of a person. Aging doesn’t need to mean dentures, and many seniors have not lost their teeth. The need to keep the gums and teeth in good condition is essential. Cavities, root decay and gum disease are all things to be avoided. Untreated decay can result in opportunistic infections putting the elderly person at further risk for serious infection. 
  4. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for those 65 and older. Some risk factors like family history, age and sex cannot be helped. How we care for ourselves is completely in our power. Regular exercise, a healthy diet and sleep are just a few of the things that are important for maintaining heart health. 
  5. Arthritis is almost a given as you head into your 80’s. Osteoarthritis is the main culprit causing the cartilage to weaken which can result in bone on bone. While we cannot stop the aging process, we can adopt new habits. Eat well, exercise often and drink more water than what seems possible. Our cartilage is 80% water. 
  6. Respiratory disease, specifically Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) hits older Americans hard. The elderly make good hosts for some of these chronic conditions. COPD blocks airflow, making breathing very difficult. Other respiratory diseases like asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia can add to this mix, increasing the seriousness of the situation. 
  7. Type 2 Diabetes affects 25% of those 65 and older. Uncontrolled diabetes has an impact on body organs and can be deadly if not addressed. Diet and exercise are key. If a senior is living alone and has diabetes, home care services, specifically in-home care, can be a huge support. Healthy menus can be developed and the caregiver can help with meal prep. The same is true for exercise. Encouraging those living alone with a chronic illness to eat well, exercise to the best of their ability and remember to take medications is a good follow up plan, and something a caregiver can easily assist with implementing. 
  8. Flu and pneumonia are not just a disease of the elderly, seniors are just more susceptible to contracting such viruses. Add COVID-19 to the list and that is a whole new set of variables. Vaccines can save your life. Talk to a medical professional immediately about such vaccines. The flu shot and pneumovax have saved countless lives, as will the COVID vaccine. 
  9. Vision and hearing loss is also impacted by the aging process. Hearing aids can vastly improve the quality of one’s life. Sight is something we cannot imagine being without. Even though things like cataracts might affect one’s vision, they can be treated. That’s the really great news – treatment is possible! Other options might involve home health care, senior assistance of some sort and perhaps eventually moving into a place where senior assistance is available. 
  10. Cancer diagnosis is definitely not limited to the elderly, though there are certain kinds of cancer that presents with age. Prostate cancer among men and endometrial and cervical cancers among women top the list. No matter your age, be aware of anything that doesn’t seem right. It is always worth a phone call. 

Everyone ages! You can’t stop it so why not focus on maintaining your own health? Eat well. Exercise often. Drink plenty of water daily and lastly, get enough sleep. These four are critical avenues to healthy living.

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