While our goal is always to keep ourselves in good or excellent health, that goal becomes particularly important once we reach age 65 and older. This is the age when health concerns become more pronounced and potentially life-threatening, and the window for identifying such issues becomes smaller. For this reason, providing good senior care to your loved one can prove difficult. As people age, they become increasingly at-risk of developing heart conditions, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and gaining weight. For seniors and caregivers alike, it’s important to stay aware of the major health concerns affecting the elderly, so you know what to guard against.
Arthritis is widely considered one of the most prevalent conditions that affect people age 65 and older. The CDC reports that 49.7 percent of adults over 65 suffer from arthritis, and that in addition to pain, the condition can also cause a lower quality of life. If your loved one does develop arthritis, it’s important to consult with your doctor and create an individualized activity plan. This can help combat the symptoms of arthritis, ease its negative effects, and maintain the long-term health of your loved one.
In 2014, Alzheimer’s Disease accounted for over 92,000 deaths in people 65 and older, and that number has shown no sign of decreasing. Though it can often be difficult to diagnose with certainty, the Alzheimer’s Association reports that one in nine people over 65 have some form of Alzheimer’s. Seniors living with this condition are at particular risk for day-to-day safety issues, and depending on the degree of severity, often require a heightened level of care. Whether it’s forgetting to turn off the stove before leaving the house, getting behind the wheel when it’s not safe to do so, or wandering away from home, seniors with Alzheimer’s can be a danger to themselves and others.
The professionals at Senior Helpers are specially trained to provide senior care to those with Alzheimer’s, and will create a customized care plan to ensure your loved one is both safe and comfortable.
According to the CDC, heart disease is the #1 killer of adults over 65, causing nearly 500,000 deaths in 2014. As people get older, they develop risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, both of which increase your chances of heart disease. To prevent your loved one from falling victim to this common condition, make sure they get regular rest, eat a healthy, balanced diet, and exercise as much as they are able. Keeping a close eye on their weight is also extremely important, as excessive weight-gain can be a precursor to heart disease.
25 percent of people 65 and older are living with diabetes, and in 2014 it caused the deaths of over 54,000 seniors. The best way to combat diabetes, and prevent it from occurring in the first place, it with regular blood tests to measure sugar levels. Once you determine if your loved one is at risk for diabetes, you can start making dietary changes to reduce their chances of developing the condition.
While it might sound minor compared to other, more serious diseases, falling is actually one of the most dangerous events for a senior. Every year 2.5 million people over 65 are treated in ER’s for falls. As we age our bones become more brittle, and what might have been an insignificant fall at age 23 could prove life-threatening at age 73. Seniors are less likely to be able to safely break their fall, and are therefore at greater risk for head damage. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that over 1/3 of seniors who visit the ER either revisit or die within the year. As a caregiver, it’s important to make sure your loved one’s home is accessible and safe. Make sure floors are dry, banisters are installed along stairwells, and loose rugs are removed.