Reports from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that more than 40 percent of adults aged 65 and older report their health as being ‘good’ or ‘excellent.’ While this is great news, it also supports the fact that more seniors are living beyond age 80 these days. That being said, it is essential for seniors to take steps to protect their physical, emotional and financial health to embrace the golden years fully prepared and as healthy as possible. Here are some top health related concerns that the elderly often face along with some solutions to boost wellbeing long term.
While one might consider loneliness and solitude to be a health risk, it has been scientifically proven to effect both an individual’s emotional and physical wellbeing. The fact is, that an average of 40 percent of senior citizens reported regular feelings of loneliness, according to a recent University of California at San Francisco study. The shocking statistics indicate that feelings of isolation can:
- Increase the likelihood of death by 26 percent.
- Boost the odds of developing dementia by 64 percent.
- Cause more severe symptoms during illness than non-lonely counterparts.
- Increase the cost of overall healthcare due to additional visits caused by physical and emotional decline.
Solutions for Social Isolation
The key to successfully helping a senior experience less feeling of isolation is to engage them with interaction from friends, family, caregivers and/or even a therapist if their feelings have them in a state of depression. Hiring a home companion for a few hours a week or utilizing the services of an adult day care that offers socialization opportunities can make a world of difference in the life of a senior. The Senior List can help you explore many of these solutions for social isolation for seniors to help boost overall health.
It seems that the older one gets, the more medications and supplements they ultimately need to maintain good health. It is actually not unusual for seniors to have ten or more prescription drugs in addition to essential supplements recommended by their physician with many requiring three to four doses per day. In all, this can add up to dozens of pills to coordinate, schedule and take properly, which can be confusing for someone of any age. Mismanaged medications are the cause of one out of ten hospital visits for seniors, and overdosing or under dosing of prescriptions could even result in permanent injury or death. However, there is an easy solution.
Solutions for Medication Concerns
Automated medication dispensers range in price from around $40 up to an astounding $1500 for top models with over-the-top but impressive features. These devices are designed to store a month or more of medications that are inserted into the unit’s internal cups by doses, days and times, and loading the machine is preferably performed by a caregiver to ensure accuracy. Medication dispensers feature a reminder alarm when it is time to take medication, and the user presses a button to allow the unit to dispense the proper dosage of pills. Higher grade models can be linked to phone lines to issue alerts to authorized caregivers when medications are missed or need refilling.
Memory loss is typical during the aging process, and signs of cognitive decline do not necessarily mean a senior is suffering from some form of dementia like Alzheimer’s disease. As one grows older, physiological changes can source ‘brain glitches’ that disrupt certain normal functions we have never considered being without such as quick information recall and being a fast learner. While these mental processes may not indicate memory loss, seniors should consult with a physician to rule out dementia, as early detection and treatment is vital to slowing these types of disease’s progression.
Solutions to Cope with Cognitive Decline
The best solution for a senior facing the challenges of memory loss or severe declines in cognizance will depend on their diagnosis and the type of issues they are having. However, some of the most popular tools utilized by such seniors and their caregivers to promote greater health are smart home assistants like Alexa, Siri and Amazon Echo. These tech gadgets offer an array of interactive tools on demand such as reading books and music that stimulate the brain. They also offer medication reminders and assist with alerts for important scheduling notes such as appointments and special occasions.
Medical alert systems armed with GPS tracking are also an excellent option for those with memory issues who may become disoriented and lost. Alert systems allow them to get help quickly. Of course, seniors with serious cognitive decline may need full time professional care in a memory care facility for seniors or an in-home caregiver with experience and education for dealing with dementia patients.
Speech, Vision and Hearing Loss
Seeing, hearing and speaking are certainly skills that the majority of us take for granted in our lifetime. However, as we grow older or experience certain health issues can quickly diminish these gifts and present a challenge to daily life in a number of ways. Age related issues such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts affect millions of adults, and more than 40 percent of those with hearing loss are over 65 years of age. It is also true that conditions such as strokes and Parkinson’s can also make speaking challenging. Fortunately, The Senior List has come upon some solid tools and solutions to ease these issues.
Solutions for Seniors with Hearing, Vision or Speech Issues
There are a number of effective and easy to use communication tools and aids available today to help seniors hear, see and communicate better. Of course, hearing aids are the go-to solution for those with audial issues, and they are available in models that are nearly invisible, so there’s no embarrassment involved. Today’s cell phones and computer programs typically offer speech-to-text and text-to speech options to ease communications on multiple platforms that assist hearing, speech and visually impaired seniors. Even using the Internet is eased by voice controlled keyboards, screen magnifiers and trainable voice programs that will type everything for you.
Emergencies in the Home While Alone
Being home alone can give a senior a sense of independence, but it also can cause a great deal of anxiety on behalf of the senior and especially for their loved ones and caregivers. Balance issues are of great concern, and that’s because falls are the single leading cause of elderly adult injuries and emergency room visits annually. Of course, injuries and mishaps can happen anywhere—even while on the go or traveling. The good news is that there is a simple and affordable solution.
Solutions for Seniors Emergency Needs
Today’s modern medical alert devices are one of the most convenient and cost-effective methods of ensuring the wellbeing and health of seniors who like to be alone or on the go. These personal emergency response systems are typically waterproof, worn around the neck or wrist, and feature a panic button that calls a 24/7 monitoring center that can communicate directly with the wearer via the device. If help is needed, it is dispatched right away by the call center. The Senior List can help you find the best devices at the right prices, including special senior discounts that might be available.
Staying mobile is often a major priority with seniors, even if they are already utilizing a mobility device such as a cane or a wheelchair. However, it is important to make adjustments inside and outside of the home to accommodate the special needs and spacial requirements these mobility devices—especially scooters and wheelchairs—typically require. Once a physician has recommended that you invest in a mobility assisting device, here are some solutions to get your home prepared.
Home Accessibility Solutions
There may be a need to install a wheelchair ramp outside, as they are useful even for those using canes and walkers or those who simply don’t handle stairs very well. Inside the home, there may be a need to expand walls a few inches and move around cabinetry and rails in the kitchens and baths to allow for a circular motion for those who are chair bound. Learn more about your options for making the home more friendly for mobility challenged seniors and how to find the best deals on mobility devices at The Senior List Today.