Getting older is often daunting as it may be accompanied not only by gray hair and wrinkles but by ailments that can affect the quality of life. Fortunately, common ailments like vision or hearing loss have solutions that can offer immediate improvements.
Other issues, like mental health issues, are not as easy to treat. There are many challenges that face those who are aging but being proactive and taking certain preventative measures can put them on the path to healthy aging.
1. Sensory impairment
Hearing and vision loss is extremely common in the elderly. According to the CDC, one out of every four older adults has hearing loss and one out of every six has vision loss. In terms of social and mental wellbeing, vision and hearing loss have been associated with social isolation, anxiety, decreased self-esteem and depression.
Thanks to new technology, in many cases, it is possible to pick up and treat hearing or vision loss with the use of hearing aids or glasses. Hearing aids of the past used to be difficult to wear but they have improved significantly over the past decade or two.
Having sufficient health insurance cover can make a difference when dealing with hearing or vision loss and a medical supplement plan will reduce out-of-pocket costs for items and services. Russell Noga of Medisupps has sold medical supplement plans for many years and can offer expert advice when it comes to choosing Medicare supplement plans 2021.
2. Oral health issues
Various oral health issues are common in the elderly. Losing teeth, tooth decay and cavities can make it difficult to maintain a healthy diet and often results in low self-esteem. Dry mouth and gum disease are other common dental problems. Gum disease is common but is largely preventable.
Not treating gum disease increases the risks of losing teeth and may even result in heart and lung diseases. It is possible to prevent and manage many oral health problems with regular dental checkups. Having sufficient health coverage makes regular checkups possible.
Malnutrition in people over age 65 may go under the radar and can lead to other health issues, such as weak muscles and a compromised immune system. Some of the causes of malnutrition can stem from other problems, such as dementia (forgetting to eat), alcoholism, reduced social contact, depression, or limited income.
Various types of food services are available to those who have difficulty preparing meals or who can’t afford food. Small changes in the diet, such as introducing more fruits and vegetables and decreasing sugar, fat and salt consumption can make a difference to health.
4. Physical injuries
Falling is one of the leading causes of injury in older adults. Aging causes muscles to lose flexibility and strength. It causes bones to shrink and become softer. The elderly are much more susceptible to losing their balance and when they fall, they are more likely to injure themselves.
Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis can contribute to their frailty. Reducing falls is possible with education, practical modifications within the living space and increased physical activity, like stretching exercises.
5. Mental health problems
A number of adults over the age of 60 suffer from mental health problems, particularly depression. Depression occurs in about seven percent of the elderly population. However, the percentage may be higher because depression is often undiagnosed and untreated in the elderly.
As depression can be a side effect of chronic health conditions, proper management of these conditions can help. Social support from family, friends or support groups and living a healthier lifestyle are other ways to help deal with depression.