Most people find that in their early adult life, they are in the peak of physical condition. During a person’s early twenties up until they reach their thirties, fitness levels can be extremely high. For people who love sports and exercise, this is often a time when they may be able to compete at the highest levels and may even be able to take part in sports and team activities as a professional. During middle age, there is a gradual decline in physical fitness that may not be apparent at first. Endurance and strength levels start to reduce, and sporting competition can no longer take place to the same standard of intensity. However, it is in later life that most people start to suffer from a range of health problems, some of which may be chronic in nature. In this article, three common health problems that can affect the elderly will be described.
1. Loss of bone density
As people age and become senior citizens, it is expected that there will be a loss of bone density. From the age of 40, this process begins as bone minerals are lost at a faster rate than they are produced in the body. This can cause bones to become weaker and more brittle, increasing the likelihood of suffering injuries such as fractures if a fall occurs. Advanced bone density loss can lead to osteoporosis and may create a situation where the elderly person is no longer safe in their own home due to the risk of bone fracture injuries after falls or slips. In such circumstances, it is wise to consider relocating to an assisted senior living facility. At such premises, the residents will have access to a wide range of mobility aids and safety devices that can reduce the likelihood of falling and sustaining injuries. These can include grab rails on baths, toilets and showers, along with bed rails to protect them during the night. Most senior living establishments will also have highly trained care staff on-site. These staff can help residents with their mobility needs and may recommend gentle forms of exercise that help to improve mobility and reduce the loss of bone density.
2. Increased risk of dementia
Whilst even young people can be at risk of dementia (in cases of young onset dementia), it is far more common in people aged 65 and over. Dementia results in difficulties in remembering key facts and information (such as forgetting where your house keys are or struggling to remember the names of family members) and, in its advanced stages, may severely impact a person’s safety and quality of life. Sadly, there is no definitive cure for this type of condition. Certain drugs can slow the progress of the disease, but it is still progressive in nature. However, some forms of music therapy may help dementia patients enjoy an improved quality of life with the condition.
3. Cardiovascular disease
As a brief final point, cardiovascular disease can be more prevalent in the elderly. It is generally caused by the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries and can lead to an increased risk of strokes and heart attacks. Elderly people can reduce the likelihood of suffering from such serious medical conditions by enjoying a balanced diet that is low in saturated fats. In addition, smoking tobacco products should be ceased, and alcohol should be drunk in moderation.