After decades of protecting us from illness, our immune system tends to slow down and we may be more susceptible to diseases or medical conditions. Our bodies are incredible machines, but wear and tear over time can take a toll. There are far more health concerns for seniors than there are for younger adults simply due to the fact that our bodies become more fragile as we age. What are a few conditions you should watch for? Let’s take a look!
Alzheimer’s/Dementia: A disease resulting in cognitive decline. Memory is affected and completing simple tasks can become extremely difficult. Research to find a cure is ongoing, but unfortunately is not here yet. There are, however, medications and therapies that can slow cognitive decline if started early enough in the process.
Watch for: Misplacing items, forgetting where things are in the home, struggling to complete “second-nature” tasks, losing their train of thought or a particular word, general haziness in memory.
Heart Disease: Heart disease remains the leading killer of adults over 65. This condition is actually a joint term relating to several heart conditions including issues with blood flow, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, heart rhythm, and more. High blood pressure and cholesterol are common diseases among the elderly. Prolonged cases can cause permanent damage to the heart resulting in heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, or heart failure.
Watch for: Chest pain, chest pressure, fatigue, shortness of breath, sharp or recurring pain in the chest or any limbs, high cholesterol readings, respiratory problems, etc.
Osteoarthritis: The most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. Due to wear and tear, the protective cartilage on joints diminishes which can result in painful bone-on-bone movement. Osteoarthritis causes joint pain, commonly in the hips, knees, hands, and spine. There are several treatments available to help alleviate symptoms ranging from exercises all the way to joint replacement surgeries.
Watch for: aching in joints, stiffness in joints, popping or clicking, joint/spine pain
Diabetes: Diabetes is more of a health concern for seniors than you might think. Type 1 diabetes can develop at any time in a person’s life, and has no preventative actions that can be taken. Seniors tend to develop Type 2 diabetes, in which the body begins to stop making or utilizing insulin effectively. Elderly people can get Type 2 diabetes through obesity, inactivity, poor diet, and family history.
Watch for: Fatigue, change in appetite, excessive thirst, unexpected weight loss, dizziness, blurred vision, longer healing times after injuries.
Depression: Mental health issues pose as much risk to seniors as physical ailments do. Depression is one of the most common diseases among the elderly because things are changing drastically. When you get older, you are forced to slow down. You may no longer be able to partake in hobbies that you love, visiting friends will become more difficult, and you might spend extended periods of time alone in the home. Lack of socialization combined with restrictions you are not used to can negatively affect mental health.
Watch for: Changes in mood or behavior, suicidal thoughts, disinterest in things they typically enjoy, loneliness, an atypical quietness.
It’s important to be informed of your elderly loved one’s current health status. If you have questions or concerns, don’t be afraid to speak with your doctor. Learn about your family history to find medical conditions that seem to be hereditary. Be sure to ask your senior how they are feeling on a regular basis. Some of these serious conditions are easy to maintain if caught early. Your loved one might not think much of a sore hip, but you can be aware of it to make sure that it doesn’t get worse. If your loved one suffers from any of the medical conditions we’ve discussed, or needs special care in any way, in-home care could be the perfect option. In-home care allows your loved one to maintain freedom and independence while still providing them with the support they need. In-home care is the most popular choice among seniors themselves, so visit https://bzoehomecare.com/ to see if in-home care services are a good fit for your family.