4 Common Illnesses Among Seniors, and How to Care for Them

Posted: 1/26/2016 1:35 PM by Interim HealthCare

The average life expectancy has taken a turn for the better since research shows that adults over the age of 65 can still live healthy lives for an average of 19.3 additional years. Yet, due to years of unhealthy eating and lifestyle choices, many older adults are being diagnosed with chronic illnesses that greatly impact their quality of life. Some seniors also require elderly care since their health makes it difficult to care for themselves. Although there are a variety of reasons that may cause a loved one to have an illness or chronic pain, physical activity, a healthy diet, limited alcohol and no nicotine use is the best way to avoid contracting one of these common health concerns among senior citizens.

  1. Arthritis: According to geriatrician Marie Bernard, MD, the deputy director of the National Institute on Aging in Bethesda, Maryland, arthritis is most likely the number one of people over the age of 65. In fact, 49 percent of elderly adults are affected by the chronic pain caused by this condition. If your loved one is receiving in-home care because of this condition, you can help by using a heating pad, cold pack, or both to ease the pain. Heating their clothes up in the dryer before they put them on, using flannel sheets on their bed, or encouraging your loved one to do doctor-approved exercises are all ways to provide relief from the chronic pain that has lowered their quality of life. Arthritis may also be caused by being overweight, so, if this is something your loved one is dealing with, discuss options with their doctor on how the elder can maintain a healthy weight and ease their arthritis symptoms.
  2. Cancer: According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 21 percent of women and 28 percent of men over the age of 65 are living with this disease. Most forms of cancer can be treated if detected early through colonoscopies, mammograms, and regular skin checks. The senior’s heath care team will most likely take care of the treatments and medications, but your or other family members can help by just being there for your loved one during these difficult time. They may need help getting dressed, eating, bathing, or using the bathroom, as well as help with the household chores and errands.
  3. Diabetes: Diabetes has impacted the lives of many people of different ages, but has especially affected the elder population. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that over 53,000 deaths occurred among adults over 65. Early detection through blood tests will be able to detect diabetes early enough to get the proper treatment. The best way to care for someone with this illness is to encourage them to participate in more physical activity and eat a healthy diet. Before participating in any exercise, make sure your loved one discusses it with their doctor.
  4. Heart Disease: For years, heart disease has been the number one killer of adults over the age of 65. As people get older, their bodies are not what they used to be, making them more susceptible to high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which could lead to a stroke or other heart problems. Whether your loved one has been formerly diagnosed or is at risk for heart disease, eating well, getting plenty of rest, and staying physically active are all ways to keep this disease away or lessen its existence.
If you have an aging loved one in need of senior care contact Interim HealthCare today.