As we age, there are many conditions that can affect our health, mental outlook and the way we live. As a senior or family member caring for a senior, here are some of the most common conditions. Remember, early detection and treatment can resolve many of these issues and can avoid complications that often happen when a condition is left unnoticed.
Whether you are a senior or caring for a senior, knowing these conditions can help you to be aware of what to consider to detect problems early and to maintain health.
Dehydration - As we age our sense of thirst lessens. It is very common for seniors to drink too little water. This can lead to soreness, exhaustion, and even immune problems including badder infections.
Solution: Drink more water regularly. If making hydration a part of your schedule is too difficult, set reminders so that you have more in the morning, before bed and with each meal. Avoid soft drinks and alcohol as much as possible.
Depression - Anyone can feel depressed, but seniors are much more vulnerable to this condition. Not only are seniors going through many life changes which can be difficult, they are also often coping with chronic conditions that can make activities they once enjoyed much more difficult.
Solution: Stay active and social. Friends and family can help to ward of depression in individuals of all ages. Taking vitamins and eating properly can also help seniors with depression brought on by a nutritional issue.
Cancer - The symptoms of cancer can vary depending on the type of cancer and the individual. If you have any symptoms that persist or detect any lumps under the skin or irregular moles, be sure to go to your doctor right away.
Solution: A regular checkup with your doctor can help with early detection and treatment.
Balance Issues - Balance issues can be cause by many things, including inner ear problems, infections, or even allergies and medication. For seniors, it is important to address balance issues quickly. A fall or accident caused by poor balance in your later years can lead to serious and long-term health problems.
Solution: Treat your allergies and, if you feel dizzy be sure to rest. Dizziness can also be a symptom of another health issue, so be sure to follow up with your doctor if you have this problem often or as an ongoing issue.
Hearing Problems -Trouble with hearing affects almost all seniors. It can affect your social life and it can be a safety issue.
Solution: A doctor can check to make sure a blockage or other curable issue is not causing the hearing loss and can fit you for a hearing aid if needed. Modern hearing aids are often small and easy to hide, leaving no reason to postpone getting one.
Vision Problems - Vision problems can cause safety problems and can make it difficult to do many thing that we all take for granted. Seniors often have vision issues of one type or another.
Solution: Your optometrist can help you to determines the cause and treatment for vision problems. Even if you have not needed glasses before, getting glasses or diagnosed with a condition earlier rather than later can make treatment much easier and avoid problems caused by straining your eyes or letting a health issue remain.
Flu - When we are younger, we often don’t take the flu very seriously, but as we get older flu symtoms can be much more serious and, in severe cases, even dangerous.
Solution: Make sure those around you have gotten a flu shot. Rest and stay warm during flu season.
Osteoporosis - In seniors, bones often become less dense. There are many possible causes for this, but vitamin deficiency and Osteoporosis are two of the leading causes. A loss of bone density can make accidents and falling much more dangerous.
Solution: After 60, be sure to take care to avoid falls by avoiding clutter and leaving tasks to that risk falls to younger friends or family. Visit your doctor annually. A doctor can diagnose Osteoporosis and provide treatment options.
Heart Disease - Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the U.S. Stressful living, poor eating habits, and family history leave many of us at risk.
Solution: Reduce your stress and start eating properly. Early detection can help. During your regular doctor’s visit be sure that they check your blood pressure and cholesterol. If you have high blood pressure or cholesterol the doctor may prescribe medicine to treat the disease.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia - Alzheimer’s and dementia are serious conditions that need to be addressed. Diagnosing them can be difficult since early symptoms are common among the elderly. If you think a loved one might have Alzheimer’s or any form of dementia, be sure to have a medical professional test them. Discovering these conditions early can leave you with many more treatment options as well as slow the progression of the disease.
Solution: Don’t wait to see your doctor if you think you or a senior may have any type of dementia. Do not try to self-diagnose these conditions.
Messy Living Conditions - Messy living conditions can lead to accidents. Among seniors, accidents not only have a much higher risk of injury, but they also have a much higher risk of complications after the injury.
Solution: Have friends of family help you clean your space. If they are not available an in home care professional can often help a senior keep their space clear of clutter.
Malnutrition - Among seniors, malnutrition is a serious condition. Even if seniors eating habits have not changed, the ability of the body after 65 to process vitamins and nutrients is diminished. This can lead to vitamin deficiencies that leave many seniors at risk for other more serious health problems.
Solution: A daily vitamin and healthy eating habits can help most seniors meet their nutrition needs.
Caring for yourself or for a senior in Austin can be simple or complicated depending on the specific senior and health conditions that they might have. Seeing your doctor every 6 months or year (depending on your own doctor’s recommendations) and being aware of the common conditions that seniors can have are big first steps in the right direction to maintaining your long-term well being.