According to United Nations, there are an estimated 727 million people aged 65 years or over worldwide in 2020. This is projected to increase to nearly 1.5 billion by 2050. Many countries are experiencing a “longevity revolution” due to medical care advances and lifestyle improvements.
And as people age, they often experience different health concerns that may require more attention than when they were younger. Family caregivers play an essential role in supporting seniors with their health concerns. Here are six of the most common health concerns of seniors and some tips on how to help them:
One of the most common health concerns of seniors is memory loss. Many possible causes of memory loss include normal aging, medications, vitamin deficiencies, dehydration, depression, and anxiety.
If you are concerned about a loved one’s memory loss, the best thing to do is to talk to their doctor. Many treatments available can help improve memory and cognitive function, such as medication, cognitive training, and lifestyle changes.
You can help by encouraging them to keep a journal and/or write down important dates and events. You can also help them stay organized by setting up a calendar and reminding them of upcoming appointments and tasks.
Tooth loss is another common health concern of seniors. According to the CDC, 17 percent of adults aged 65 or older have lost all their teeth. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor oral hygiene, tooth decay, gum disease, and prescription drugs.
Seniors who suffer from tooth loss may have trouble eating and speaking. They may also feel embarrassed or self-conscious about their appearance. If you are concerned about a loved one’s tooth loss, the best thing to do is to talk to their dentist. They will suggest dental implant treatment, which establishes a foundation for replacement teeth that are natural in appearance, feel, and function.
Dental implants are titanium posts implanted into the jaw bone where teeth have been removed or missing. These implants can also aid in preserving facial structure by preventing bone deterioration when teeth are missing.
Falls are a common concern for seniors, as they are the leading cause of injuries and death in this age group. According to the CDC, 3 million older people annually visit emergency departments for fall injuries. And yearly, over 800,000 individuals are hospitalized due to a fall.
Falls can cause broken bones, head injuries, and even death. They can also lead to a loss of independence and a decreased quality of life. Many things can increase the risk of falling, such as muscle weakness, balance problems, medications, vision problems, and environmental hazards.
If you are concerned about a loved one falling, the best thing to do is to ensure their home is free of hazards such as loose carpets, electrical cords, and cluttered floors. You can also help them stay active and improve their balance by doing exercises with them. And lastly, make sure they are taking their medications as prescribed and having their vision checked regularly.
According to the CDC, nearly 40 percent of adults aged 65 or older are obese. Obesity increases the risk of many health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
If you are concerned about a loved one’s weight, the best thing to do is encourage them to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. You can also help by making sure their home is stocked with healthy food options and that they have a safe place to exercise. And lastly, you can encourage them to see their doctor to help develop a weight loss plan.
The most common cause of vision loss in this age group is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is a condition that causes loss of central vision. Other causes of vision loss in seniors include cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.
If you are concerned about a loved one’s vision, the best thing to do is to have them see an eye doctor regularly. They may recommend vitamin supplements to slow the development of age-related macular degeneration. Another recommendation your doctor may suggest is intravitreal injections of a vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitor that can also preserve vision. Medicated eye drops can reduce intraocular pressure and delay the progression of vision loss in patients with glaucoma.
You can also help by ensuring their home is well-lit and free of tripping hazards. And lastly, encourage them to eat a healthy diet rich in antioxidants, which can help protect against vision loss.
All in all
There are many health concerns that seniors face. But with the help of family and friends, they can manage these concerns and live a happy and healthy life. If you have concerns about a loved one’s health, the best thing to do is talk to their doctor. They will be able to offer advice on how to best help them.