Growing old brings with itself its own set of health concerns, which if tackled earlier, can not only improve the quality of life, but also enable elderly to lead fulfilling retired lives. Therefore, it is vital to recognize these challenges faced by the elderly well in time and take the appropriate preventive measures to make their journey easy.
The simplest way is to understand our body and make certain lifestyle changes which can aid the body in functioning normally. Simple choices like quitting smoking, losing weight, eating right and being physically active can cut down health risks which come with age.
Common Health Issues Faced By The Elderly
1. Cognitive Function And Health
A person’s ability to think, learn, focus, and remember is included in cognitive health. The most commonly observed disease in this context is dementia, or memory loss, which involves the loss of the above cognitive functions. Studies show that approximately 47.5 million individuals are affected by dementia. The commonest example is Alzheimer’s disease. Chronic health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, depression, and smoking increase the risk of cognitive dysfunction. There is no cure for dementia; however, a well guided treatment along with family and social support can help.
2. Mental Health
WHO states that about 15% adults above the age of 60 years suffer from some kind of a mental disorder. Depression is the commonest type occurring in the elderly population. Sadly, most cases go undetected and do not receive appropriate treatment. Promoting better health conditions including an active lifestyle and support from family and social groups can help treat depression at the correct time.
3. Physical Injury
Falling is the commonest injury that occurs in senior citizens leading to emergency room admissions globally. As we age, there is a shrinkage of bone and muscle tissues, which reduces strength and flexibility and makes elderly more prone to lose balance and fall. Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis also significantly increase the chances of physical injury. Falls are not inevitable and can be prevented with better education, and increased physical activity along with certain modifications to the house.
This is a common ailment affecting the geriatric population, especially above the age of 65. Pain and inability to move the affected limb can severely impact the quality of life. It is important to consult your physician and work on a treatment plan that encourages moderate activity.
5. Heart Disease
Heart disease accounts for maximum deaths in people above 65. This chronic condition is usually a consequence of a sedentary lifestyle and harmful habits such as drinking and smoking. Other chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol increase the chances of having a heart attack or stroke. A healthy lifestyle can cut the risk of heart disease by almost 80%.
6. Vision And Hearing Loss
Age related disorders such as macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma affect the elderly worldwide. Eating healthy food rich in antioxidants and vitamins combined with regular eye checkups can help keep them under check. Regular eye checkups can help arrest the disease at an early stage, thereby preserving vision.
Hearing loss incidence also increases with age. Loss of both hearing and vision can severely hamper daily activities and lead to withdrawal from social activities. This also contributes to depression in individuals. Hearing aid is helpful, but not many use it. Hearing loss is common, but is aggravated by loud noises and sounds. The best way is to avoid listening to loud music using ear phones.
7. Teeth And Oral Health
With advancements in dental science, the good news is that few people above 60 years need to wear dentures today. With dental implants and bleaching agents, your teeth can looks years younger than other parts of your body.
Good eating habits along with brushing and flossing your teeth twice should be followed religiously. Visiting your dentist regularly is also recommended for keeping good oral health.
This is another concern in senior health care. Obesity predisposes an individual to a number of conditions such as heart disease, blood pressure, diabetes, and many other grave medical conditions. Most of the geriatric population has a body mass index more than 30, signaling the lack of physical activity and exercise. If not tackled in time it can seriously impact the quality of life.9.
Cancer is a leading cause of death amongst the elderly, especially over 65. The inability to detect this disease early has increased mortality rates. Mammograms, colonoscopies, and physical check-ups should be performed regularly to detect cancer at an early stage. This can not only prevent complications and metastasis but also improve the quality of life.
Most of these concerns can be prevented with a good diet, exercise, and timely preventive measures. Aging is unavoidable; however, it is not the end, we must learn to adapt to age and take care of the body based on its demands.