As we grow older, we naturally tend to face a few common health problems in elderly people. As a family, being prepared and taking steps to treat or prevent some of these common conditions from occurring can save a lot of pain both for the elderly loved one and the family members who suffer through the agony of seeing them struggle with their health. In this article, we go over some of the most common senior health issues that elders have to grapple with.
Chronic Health Conditions
Long-term illnesses and health conditions typically come to a head in one’s senior years. So for the elderly, it is vital that they get more regular checks to ensure they are getting the right medication and treatment for chronic problems. These might be things like heart disease, respiratory problems, diabetes, and other typical chronic conditions. Getting your loved ones the help they need, checking their condition on a regular basis, and abiding by the advice of doctors can help to reduce the risk factors for many of these conditions, or to mitigate their effects.
Cognitive Health Issues
Conditions like dementia and other disorders that affect the brain are more prevalent among people in the latter stages of life. Such illnesses might appear temporarily or you may notice a progressive deterioration of a person’s cognitive abilities. Whatever the case, it is important for any cases to be diagnosed quickly. In many situations, it takes a medical professional to identify the signs at an early stage. So even if your loved one is not exhibiting obvious signs of any cognitive health problems, it is critical that you encourage them to schedule regular checkups that include tests for such issues.
Mental Health Issues
Mental health is something that affects people of all ages. For the elderly in particular, they are usually under immense pressure. They are at a stage where they have lost many close friends and relatives, are coping with the psychological stress of aging, and they are usually coming to terms with the brutal prospect of their own passing. Coupled with things like financial problems, loneliness, or neglect, the burden could prove too much to cope with without proper solutions from professionals and loved ones.
Regularly communicate with your senior relatives, ask them how they are doing, check in to make sure they are leading a healthy lifestyle. It might also be useful to read up on some of the most common signs and symptoms of cognitive problems. Schedule regular check-ups and if there are any problems, make sure you get professional help.
Loss of dexterity is a natural consequence of aging. As a result, accidents and mishaps are, arguably, among the most common old-age health problems – especially as many seniors tend to overestimate their physical abilities. As a family, you would be well-advised to take preventive measures to protect them. For example, driving at night if they have problems with vision is not a good idea, or walking in icy conditions. Slipping in the shower is a common accident, so proofing the house against such incidents could prevent serious, or even fatal, accidents. Seek ways and solutions to make it easier, safer, and more convenient for your elderly to fulfill daily tasks to avoid possibilities for injuries.
Malnutrition is a problem among elderly people who may historically have bad eating habits, or experience a loss of appetite for any number of reasons. For example, as a side effect of medication. Sometimes, they are just not able to properly feed themselves and depend on the assistance of those around them. All the same, nutrition is of even greater importance at advanced ages as the body is more vulnerable and needs all the help it can get – especially if a person is also taking some medication.
There are also many common senior health issues with one or more of the senses as people age. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, only 2% of the older US population had no problems related to this, while a whopping 67% had issues with two of the senses or more. Diagnosing these problems early and getting treatments, assistance, or quality of life-improving solutions helps not only in preventing accidents but also improves the quality of life.
Bladder control and constipation
This can be an embarrassing issue and make it difficult to ask for help. However, at later stages in life, it is not uncommon. Regular exercise, good dietary habits, and scheduled toileting can all help to mitigate this issue. Naturally, treatment and additional solutions should be offered after a consultation with a doctor.
Decay, gum disease, and a host of other oral old age health problems are more common among the elderly. Ensuring they get care and treatment is important to prevent complications that may arise from these conditions, and to improve their quality of life.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
It may come as a surprise to some, but the elderly also have quite a well-occupied life between the sheets. In fact, research has shown sharp rises in sexually transmitted infections among the elderly. This may be attributed to a number of factors. For example, there is less of a concern about pregnancy, and so protection is likely to be seen as optional. Also, the body’s immunity at this stage in life is comparatively lower, putting seniors at higher risk of infection.
For STIs, as with other diseases, early diagnosis is crucial, but prevention is even better. Encouraging loved ones to get regularly checked will help them stay more health-conscious and ensure they are getting the help and advice they need.
For many different reasons, people in their old age may be more likely to engage in substance abuse. It may be for recreational purposes because there is a lack of activities to keep them occupied. Or they may be suffering with stress, loneliness, or depression, and might resort to drugs or alcohol as an escape.
It is important to get help for this as it may bring about or worsen a number of diseases that typically affect older adults, like liver or heart problems. Substance abuse can also interfere with any medication an elderly person is on.
In closing, it should be said that there is no substitute for professional medical advice. So if your loved one is suffering from any of the senior health issues previously mentioned, you should immediately seek the help of a qualified medical practitioner. The list is meant to help you identify some of the preventable and treatable conditions so that your loved ones can stay healthy even in their senior years.