Senior Health Issues You Should Be Aware Of

Interim HealthCare Blogs
Posted: 2/22/2022 2:22 PM by Interim HealthCare

With increasingly better healthcare and technology, people live longer. However, once people enter their golden years, they may live with many chronic illnesses. They may also be at higher risk of developing certain illnesses and need to take precautions to keep themselves healthy. If you’re a family caregiver a professional caregiver, there are some senior health issues you should be aware of. Keeping these challenges and issues in mind can ensure you take the best possible care of your patient and allow them to age in place properly. 

Common Senior Health Issues Caregivers Should Be Aware Of

Part of being a good caregiver is keeping any potential challenges and health issues in mind when taking care of your patient. The following are some common senior health issues you should understand and be on the lookout for to ensure your senior remains in the best health possible.

1. Arthritis

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 49.6% of Americans 65 years or older have been diagnosed with arthritis. This is almost half of the elderly population. Arthritis is a common medical condition that causes inflammation and joint pain and restricts movement. Because of the pain it can cause, arthritis can impact a senior’s quality of life.

The two most common types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Most seniors suffer from osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear. Since arthritis and arthritis pain can cause many issues, including preventing seniors from engaging in exercise, it’s essential to keep this in mind and work closely with medical professionals to monitor and manage the condition and its pain.

2. Osteoporosis

The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) estimates that approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and a further 44 million are at increased risk of osteoporosis because of low bone density. Additionally, a staggering 54 million Americans, half of whom are 50 and older, should be concerned about bone health and are actively at risk of breaking a bone.

Because of this, caregivers must ensure that seniors eat a healthy diet and get in the recommended amount of exercise. Additionally, they should cut out smoking, avoid drinking too much alcohol and keep an eye on their bone density. The NOF advises getting adequate amounts of Vitamin D and calcium and taking osteoporosis medication if recommended.

3. Diabetes

37.3 million people in the U.S. live with diabetes, and an additional 96 million adults live with prediabetes. This includes14.3 million seniors with diabetes and 26.4 million seniors with prediabetes. Because diabetes is a serious health risk and comes with a host of complications, it’s essential to control the disease and monitor the progression of prediabetes in seniors.

Type 2 diabetes is especially common in the elderly and requires a lot of self-care. Caregivers need to understand this disease and its complications to provide adequate care to their patients. This includes encouraging a healthy diet, increasing the amount of fiber in the diet, and reducing both fat and sugar intake. Additionally, caregivers should encourage maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly.

4. Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for seniors in the U.S. 8 in 10 deaths from coronary artery disease happen in adults 65 years of age and older, making this a major concern for seniors. Some of the risk factors for heart disease include high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Diseases such as diabetes, alcoholism, and obesity can also increase the risk of heart disease. Caregivers should be aware of indicators and risk factors and ensure that seniors take good care of their hearts, including eating a healthy diet and exercising.

5. Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

Dementia is an umbrella term for loss of memory and other types of cognitive decline that can affect one’s life. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia and affects more than 6 million Americans. By 2050, this number will rise to almost 13 million. This chronic and degenerative condition has a huge impact on health, safety, and care and is essential to look out for. Caregivers and family members alike should know the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s and get seniors evaluated for the disease if they start having issues with memory and cognitive decline.

6. Falls

While this isn’t a specific senior health issue, it’s a general issue that needs to be addressed in seniors. The risk of falls increases with age, and many seniors are rushed to emergency rooms because of falls. According to the CDC, 1 out of 4 seniors falls in the U.S. each year and falls result in more than 32,000 senior deaths every year. Because of this, falling is the leading cause of injury for seniors. Diseases like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis make fracturing a bone much more likely and worsen injuries. Since seniors already struggle with balance and mobility issues, caregivers need to consider fall prevention.

As a caregiver, you can reduce the risk of falls by reducing clutter, eliminating tripping hazards, and taking steps to ensure safety, including anchoring rugs, providing adequate lighting, installing railways and grab bars, etc. Increasing exercise, making suitable modifications in the home, and increasing fall prevention education can prevent elderly falls.

Interim Healthcare Can Take Care of the Senior in Your Life

Being a family caregiver isn’t an easy job. Sometimes, it’s not even possible because of how much you have going on, because of your job, or because of other obligations. Other times, you may be the primary caregiver but need assistance sometimes. Interim Healthcare understands the importance of high-quality senior care and has always emphasized being aware of senior health issues. That’s why our caregivers are experienced and know how to handle different health situations to allow their patients to flourish.

Whether you require Alzheimer’s or dementia care, personal care, or respite care, we offer various caregiving services. Reach out to us at (636) 717-9292 or contact us here for more information.