According to the CDC, Americans today are living longer than ever before. In fact, many people are living an average of 19.3 years beyond the age of 65. Unfortunately, many of these people are also battling chronic conditions to remain healthy. You can avoid some of these health concerns by staying physically active, losing weight, maintaining a healthy diet, and quitting smoking, among other things. This will allow you to be part of the 41% of the 65+ population that says their health is very good to excellent.
If you are a senior living in or around Columbia, SC and you’re struggling with any health concerns, contact Caring Healthcare. We’ve been providing in-home care services for more than 20 years. We are locally owned and operated and we only hire caregivers that we would trust with our own loved ones.
In this article, we’ll look at a few of the most common health concerns for aging adults.
Top 15 Health Concerns
Heart disease affects 37% of men and 26% of women over the age of 65. Medical experts have labeled it as the number one killer of senior adults. This is because as people age, they deal with stroke risk factors, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
The second leading cause of death among senior individuals is cancer. In fact, approximately 21% of women and 28% of men over the age of 65 have been diagnosed with some form of cancer. If caught early, most forms of cancer are treatable. While you can’t necessarily prevent cancer, there are things you can do to improve your quality of life with cancer.
The third most common cause of death among people over the age of 65 is chronic respiratory diseases, such as COPD, asthma, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis. The Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics shows that approximately 13% of women and 11% of men are suffering from these conditions. These respiratory problems do increase the risk of developing additional health issues. However, you can preserve your health and improve your quality of life by taking the proper medications and using oxygen as instructed.
According to the CDC, approximately 49.7% of the population over the age of 65 suffers from painful arthritis, resulting in a lower quality of life. Even with arthritis, it’s important to stay active to maintain your overall health. You can work with your medical provider to create a personalized activity plan.
The Alzheimer’s Association states that approximately 11% of individuals 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, this diagnosis is challenging so it’s difficult to determine exactly how many people are living with it. However, it is clear that cognitive impairments have a major impact on senior health from problems with safety and self-care to the cost of care in the home or in a residential facility.
Osteoporosis causes loss of mobility and possible disability as the vertebrae collapse or if you fall and sustain an injury. Research shows that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men are affected by this condition. Seniors with osteoporosis are at an increased risk of sustaining a fracture or break, leading to poor health and reduced quality of life.
As we age, the risk of falling down increases. Every year, approximately 2.5 million seniors are treated in the emergency room due to a fall. What’s more, approximately 1/3 of these individuals will find themselves in the same situation within a year. It’s important to note that most of these falls occur in the home.
Diabetes is a major senior health risk, with approximately 25% of the 65+ population having it. The good news is that diabetes can be identified and managed early through simple blood sugar level testing. The sooner you know that you’re at an increased risk, the sooner you can make lifestyle changes to keep it under control and improve your long-term health outlook.
Pneumonia and Influenza
While these are not chronic conditions, they do fall within the top 8 leading causes of death among seniors. The elderly population is more vulnerable to these diseases and can’t fight them off as well. You can help prevent these infections by speaking with your medical provider about getting the flu shot and the pneumonia vaccine.
Research indicates that approximately 20% of people over the age of 65 have had an alcohol or substance abuse problem at some point. Tobacco and alcohol are the top 2 non-medical substances abused. The primary reason this is a health concern is due to potential interactions with prescription medications, increased risk of falls due to intoxication, and their impact on overall health.
Obesity increases the risk of developing cancer, heart disease, and diabetes- which impacts overall quality of life. Approximately 36.2% of men and 40.7% of women are considered obese, meaning their BMI is 30 or higher. This is often an indication that a senior isn’t as active as when they were younger.
Research indicates that approximately 15% to 20% of senior Americans suffer from depression. This condition is a senior health concern because it can reduce immunity and impact your ability to fight infections. In addition to using therapy and medication to treat depression, experts suggest increasing physical activity and social interactions. Approximately 59.4% of senior adults do not meet the CDC minimums for exercise and most seniors report spending only 8% to 11% of their free time with family and friends.
Oral health is important for overall health. According to the CDC, approximately 25% of adults over the age of 65 have no natural teeth. This is because the mouth tends to get drier as you age, making it more difficult to prevent cavities. Therefore, oral hygiene, including regular dental visits should be a top priority.
If you had chicken pox when you were a child, it may come back as shingles when you are an adult. According to NIH, 1 in 3 seniors over the age of 60 will get shingles and approximately 50% will have it before they reach the age of 80. It typically only affects one side of your body, starting with tingling and pain. Eventually, it develops into an itchy rash and potential blisters.
Research shows that in 2013, approximately 45% of adults over the age of 65 had incomes below the poverty level. Women are more likely than men to be living in poverty and single adults are more likely to live in poverty than couples. Poverty is a senior health concern because it impacts your ability to afford healthcare, medications, and other needs.
Americans today are living longer than ever before. In fact, research shows that many are living an average of 19.3 years past the age of 65. This means that there are many health concerns that need to be considered. By learning to manage these concerns, you can improve your quality of life.
If you are a senior- or you have a senior loved one- living in or around Columbia, SC, consider letting Caring Healthcare help you with these concerns. We have more than 20 years of experience providing home care services. We only hire caregivers that we would trust with our loved ones, so you can be sure that they are highly skilled and professional. We look forward to meeting with you!