A major part of your senior care journey with your elderly loved one will be about keeping them as healthy as possible. This means being aware of the risks that seniors tend to face and evaluating which of these risks are the most pressing for them. This information can help you to design your caregiver efforts around managing these risks and protecting your parents from illnesses and health complications that can diminish their quality of life.
This is especially important now as life expectancies are lengthening and seniors today can look forward to fuller, more fulfilling lives. Seniors who are 65 today or will turn 65 soon can expect to live another 19 years on average. Being aware of the health risks that your parent may face can help you to ensure those years are as healthy, active, and enjoyable as possible.
The 4 Most Common Health Concerns for Elderly Adults
Some of the most common health concerns for elderly adults include:
Nearly 50 percent of all adults over the age of 64 suffer from some type of arthritis. This condition can cause pain, stiffness, loss of range of motion, and swelling of the joints, which can make it more difficult to stay active and engaged. If your parent is showing signs of arthritis, it is important to encourage them to remain as active as possible. This will help to keep their joints as flexible and as healthy as possible.
2. Heart Disease
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 490,000 people die from heart disease each year. This makes it the leading cause of death among adults over the age of 64. This condition impacts more than 25 percent of senior women and nearly 40 percent of senior men. Risk factors for this disease include high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Encourage your parent to stay active, eat well, and manage high blood pressure or other conditions effectively.
3. Respiratory Disease
Chronic respiratory diseases such as COPD is the third leading cause of death among older adults. These conditions are not just dangerous in of themselves. They also make your aging parent more vulnerable to further infections and illnesses that can put them at even greater risk. Ask their doctor about screenings such as lung function tests to determine their risk of these diseases. You must also be vigilant about progressing infections when your parent suffers a cold or flu. Pneumonia can quickly escalate into a life-threatening situation in older adults.
More than 407,500 seniors die as a result of cancer each year. It is essential that you remain aware of the specific risks that your parent faces and be vigilant about detecting the signs and symptoms of those conditions. A critical element of this is knowing what types of screenings and tests your parent should undergo regularly and when. Reduce your parent’s cancer risk by encouraging them to live a healthy lifestyle including eating a balanced diet and staying active.
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