Currently, 1 in 6 people in the US is over 65 years old, meaning over 55 million people are already in the old age bracket. The figure is expected to rise to 80 million by 2040.
When old age knocks, it comes with some complications that sometimes require special care. Due to old age, most people suffer from one or multiple chronic conditions.
Living with aged people as a caretaker can be overwhelming. It requires knowing how to handle them, especially if they have a chronic health issue. By offering efficient support, these seniors can enjoy a more comfortable life. In this article, you will learn about common health issues the elderly face and how to address them.
Incontinence is one of the common conditions in aged people, which affects their bladder, resulting in involuntary leakage. Since it becomes harder to control the bladder, it causes embarrassment and interferes with everyday activities. This sometimes leads to people using adult pull ons to manage the condition.
Many causes can lead to incontinence, such as injuries, damaged nervous systems, and an overreactive bladder. Depending on the type and cause of incontinence, the treatment requires a comprehensive approach. However, to manage incontinence, the following tips can help in management.
- Bladder training
- Pelvic floor exercise/ Kegel exercises
- Food and drinks control (avoid caffeinated drinks)
- Encourage weight loss
- Strict medication observation
- Regular bathroom breaks
As per the National Council of Aging (NCO), about 60% of all aged people suffer from hypertension. Also called high blood pressure, the condition arises when the blood pressure exceeds the recommended range: 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.
The primary cause of hypertension is narrowing blood vessels, which forces the heart to pump more blood. As people age, the blood vessels become narrower and stiffer, causing the heart to overwork. If untreated, hypertension can lead to other complications like kidney damage, heart failure, and strokes.
The following tips can help in caring for aged people with hypertension:
- Monitor blood pressure regularly
- Limit or quit alcohol consumption
- Exercise regularly to maintain a healthy weight
- Monitor salt and sugar intake
Arthritis is another common disease that affects people in their old age. The condition is characterized by inflammation and tenderness of joints. This leads to stiff and painful joints, which affect mobility. A faulty immune system causes the body to attack its joint tissues, leading to inflammation and severe pain. The disease is second to hypertension, accounting for 35% of all senior adults.
Apart from autoimmune problems, diseases can also arise from other issues, such as gout and obesity. To care for such patients, the following can assist.
- Quit smoking and alcohol
- Ensure the patient legs and hands are well-supported
- Lose weight to reduce stress on joints
- Exercise regularly to keep joints healthy
Diabetes mellitus is one of the illnesses of concern among the aged population. It develops when the body can’t produce enough insulin. This means that the patient needs to get an insulin supplementation.
Insulin is vital since it allows the body to regulate blood sugar levels. As people age, the risk of getting diabetes increases. It is estimated that up to 33% of all aged people have type II diabetes. When suffering from the disease, it can bring other complications like heart disease, blindness, strokes, and kidney diseases. When diabetes strikes, it requires management to prolong patient life and life quality. Some of the ways to address diabetes in seniors include;
- Indulge in some physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day
- Encourage senior persons to reduce body weight
- Eat healthy food
- Monitor sugar levels frequently
- Avoid prolonged periods of inactivity
Depression is another major problem that is taking a toll on senior adults. Although the condition is treatable, it is a prevalent health issue. According to the CDC, 80% of aged people suffer from at least one chronic disease, while 50% have two or more. This significantly increases the chances of a person to develop depression.
When a person falls into depression, they show signs of guilt, sadness, and difficulty concentrating. However, to manage old age depression, you need to do the following.
- Feed them a healthy diet
- Keep them active or assign tasks
- Encourage social interaction
- Show them love and affection
Dementia is not a specific disease; it’s a collection of disorders affecting human memory. One of the common conditions associated with dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which causes people to lose their memory. Impaired memory is a serious condition since it can result in various issues like accidents and increase the risk since people can’t make correct judgments.
People with dementia exhibit symptoms like memory loss, communication problems, confusion, and difficulties in solving common problems. Dementia comes in different forms, and some can be reversed. If you live with a person with this condition, you can care for them in the following ways.
- Seek medical intervention
- Develop a routine activity schedule
- Treat the persons with gentle care
- Provide strong and supportive chairs
- Help them plan and provide a to-do list
- Set reminders about different activities
- Provide clothes with loose-fitting and easy-to-close zippers and buttons
Older adults are susceptible to the mentioned health issues, among others. Since they are more prevalent in senior age, it’s essential to know how to deal with these conditions.
Besides medications, managing these health issues helps people live better lives. Also, having information about how to care for seniors is great for preventing these issues.
So, follow the suggestions mentioned in the article and provide the best care to your loved ones.