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Common Elderly Health Issues


Are you searching for “common senior health issues”? If you are, you may be wondering what your loved one may face as they get up in age.  Today, people in the U.S. can look forward to living longer than they ever have. Once you or loved one reach the age of 65, evidence suggests that you can conceivably live an additional 19 years, on average, according to the CDC.

 Common Elderly Health Issues

Getting older can seem disheartening—wrinkles, forgetting where you put your keys, graying hair. Aging can bring about distinctive health issues. With the elderly accounting for around 12% of the world’s population and will quickly increase to over 22% by the year 2050–it’s essential to understand the issues faced by people as they grow older, and realize that there are preemptive actions that can place yourself (or a loved one) on a course to healthful  aging.

Constant Health Conditions

According to the National Council on Aging, about 92% of the elderly have at least 1 chronic disease and around 77% have at least 2. Stroke, heart disease, types of cancer, and diabetes are among the most prevalent and pricey chronic health conditions causing 2/3 of deaths each year. The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion advises getting in touch with a physician for an yearly checkup, managing a healthy diet and exercising regularly to help manage or hamper chronic diseases. Obesity is a developing problem among seniors and engaging in these lifestyle behaviors can help decrease obesity and related conditions.

Cognitive health

Cognitive health is concentrated on a person’s capability to think, learn and remember. The most common cognitive health problem facing today’s seniors is dementia. Approximately 5.5 million people in the U.S. have dementia. The most familiar type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. According to the National Institute on Aging, other chronic health problems and diseases can escalate the risk of developing dementia, like substance abuse, high blood pressure, diabetes, bouts of depression, HIV and smoking cigarettes. Even though there are no cures for dementia, physicians and doctors can devise a treatment plan and medications to closely regulate the disease.

Mental Health

The World Health Organization reports that over 15% of adults over the age of 60 experience some type of mental disorder.  One of the mental disorders among seniors is depression, occurring in 7% of the elderly population. Sadly, this mental disorder is sometimes under diagnosed and under treated. Older adults make up over 18% of suicide deaths in the U.S. alone. Furthermore, promoting a lifestyle of healthy living such as improvement of living conditions and social reinforcement from family, friends or support groups can help care for depression.

Physical Injury

Every 15 seconds, a senior is admitted to the emergency room for some type of fall. A senior dies from a fall every 29 minutes, making it the main cause of injury among seniors. As a result of aging, bones weaken and muscle begins to lose strength and resilience. As a result, seniors are more prone to losing their balance, injury and fracturing a bone. There are two diseases that that are responsible for frailty, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. But, falls are and can be prevented. In a lot of cases, they can be avoided through education, more physical activity and practical alterations within the home.

HIV/AIDS and other STD’s

In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 21% of AIDS cases happened to seniors over the age of 50 in the U.S., and 37% of deaths that same year were seniors over 55 years of age. Even though sexual needs and capability may change as people get older, their sexual desire doesn’t go away entirely. Seniors most likely will not use condoms, which, when combined with a weak immune system, makes the elderly more vulnerable to contracting an STD. Delayed diagnosis of HIV is typical among older adults because the symptoms of HIV are comparable to those of normal aging, making it harder to treat and prevent  additional damage to the immune system.


Malnutrition in seniors is often under diagnosed and can lead to other elderly health problems, such as a weak immune system and muscle deficiency. The causes of malnutrition can come from other health issues (seniors experiencing dementia sometimes may forget to eat), bouts of depression, alcoholism, dietary limitations, decreased social contact and a restricted income. Changes in their diet, such as eating more fruits and vegetables and reducing consumption of saturated fats and salt, can help nutrition concerns in the elderly. There are food services readily available for seniors who can’t afford food themselves or have a hard time with food preparation.

Sensory Impairments

Often neglected, oral health care is one of the most high priority issues for the elderly. The CDC’s Division of Oral Health has discovered that about 25% of adults over 65 do not have their natural teeth. Oral issues such as tooth decay and cavities can make it difficult to manage a healthy diet, a lower self-esteem, and other health issues. Oral health symptoms in older adults are dry mouth, gum disease and some types of mouth cancer. These conditions can be managed by making routine dental visits. Oral health, however, can be challenging for seniors to gain access to due to losing dental insurance after retiring or economical difficulties.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse, usually drug-related or alcohol addiction is more common among seniors than previously thought. According to the National Council on Aging, the total number of seniors with substance abuse problems is predicted to double to five million by the year 2020. Because a lot of people don’t usually connect substance abuse with the elderly, it’s often unnoticed in medical check-ups. Furthermore older adults are frequently prescribed numerous prescriptions to be used continually. The National Institute on Drugs discovered that substance abuse sometimes results from someone suffering mental issues or taking another patient’s medication due to their inability to pay for their own.

Bladder Control And Constipation

Urinary incontinence and constipation are both typical as people age, and can have an effect on a senior’s quality of life. These may be related to some of the issues discussed above, such as not eating a healthy diet and having the misfortune of chronic health issues. Keeping a healthy weight, managing a healthy diet and having an exercise routine will help avoid these elderly health issues. There are usually effective medical treatments, and senior should not be ashamed to discuss with their doctors.

Senior Living Communities Arizona

This list may seem frightening, but with the proper medical care, better lifestyle decisions, and support from friends, family and health care consultants, today’s senior’s can enjoy a longer, better quality of life. To schedule a tour of one of our senior living facilities, visit SLS Communities or for more information please call us today at 623-400-1468.

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