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6 Common Illnesses in Older Adults

As people age, certain illnesses become more common. While many illnesses are thought to be related to genetics or family history, some are attributed to lifestyle habits. The following six illnesses are common in seniors, but there are steps you can take to ensure your ageing loved one doesn’t experience serious health complications as a result of them.

1. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a degenerative condition that leads to thinning and weakening of the bones. This condition can raise the risk for fractures and is more common in elderly women. To slow the progression of osteoporosis, the physician may recommend your loved one take a supplement that combines vitamin D and calcium. While supplements won’t reverse existing bone damage due to osteoporosis, they may slow the progression of the disease.

2. Osteoarthritis

If your loved one has osteoarthritis, he or she may experience joint pain, inflammation, and morning stiffness. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen are often recommended to relieve swelling and pain. However, if your loved one has acid reflux disease or other gastrointestinal issues, these medications may be contraindicated. Mild exercise, weight management, and an anti-inflammatory diet may relieve pain and inflammation associated with arthritic conditions.

3. Hypertension

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, becomes more common as people age. Risk factors for hypertension include family history, genetics, obesity, renal disease, diabetes, drinking, and smoking. Fortunately, some of these risk factors are modifiable. To ensure your loved one’s blood pressure stays under control, frequent visits to the doctor are necessary. Losing weight, exercising, limiting dietary sodium, and managing stress levels can lower blood pressure and diminish your loved one’s risk for heart attack and stroke.

If your loved one needs help with exercise or maintaining a healthy diet, consider hiring a professional carer. In North Coast, senior home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the carers at Home Care Assistance, your ageing loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialise regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.

4. Diabetes

Diabetes causes high blood glucose levels, and while many cases of diabetes are hereditary, obesity plays an important role in adult-onset, or type 2, diabetes. If diabetes is poorly managed, your loved one’s risk for stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure may increase. It’s important for your loved one to maintain control over his or her blood sugar levels by following the appropriate therapeutic diet, taking all prescribed medications, maintaining a healthy weight, and seeing the doctor on a regular basis.

Seniors with diabetes may find it difficult to prepare meals on their own and accomplish other daily tasks. Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. North Coast seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

5. Poor Circulation

Poor circulation may be the result of long-standing or poorly managed diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, or hypertension. If not effectively treated, poor circulation can lead to gangrene, edema, limited mobility, and, in some cases, amputation. If your loved one develops pain or swelling in the arms or legs, or if he or she is unable to walk because of pain or ankle edema, see the physician as soon as possible. These may be signs of poor circulatory function and need to be evaluated and treated promptly.

6. Arteriosclerosis

Another common illness in the elderly is arteriosclerosis. This condition may be related to high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or obesity, and it’s one of the strongest risk factors for heart attack and stroke. When blood vessels are occluded because of coronary plaque buildup, blood is unable to freely flow through the arteries, which can lead to blood clots, stroke, and myocardial infarction. If your loved one is obese or has hypertension, elevated blood lipid levels, diabetes, or kidney problems, he or she should get regular medical checkups so health issues can be diagnosed and treated early. If your loved one is at high risk for a heart attack or stroke because of arteriosclerosis, the physician may recommend taking a daily aspirin to maintain optimal blood flow.

There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional home care. North Coast families can rely on expertly trained carers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while ageing in place. Home Care Assistance will work with you to customise a care plan that’s just right for your loved one’s needs. Call Home Care Assistance at (02) 6646 3527 to learn more about our flexible and customisable senior care plans.