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The 15 Most Common Health Concerns for Seniors

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality healthcare, discusses the 15 most common health concerns for seniors and how to address them.

Our bodies undergo numerous changes as we age, and we become more vulnerable to various health concerns. Although ageing is a natural process, we can take steps to prevent and manage some of the most common health issues affecting seniors.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a term used to describe a group of conditions that cause inflammation and pain in the joints. There are over 100 types of arthritis, but the two most common types affecting seniors are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones wears down over time, leading to pain and stiffness in the affected joint. It is most common in adults over 50 and can affect any joint in the body, but it often affects the hands, hips, knees, and spine.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the lining of the joints, leading to inflammation and joint damage. It can affect people of any age, but it is particularly prevalent in those over 65.

Arthritis treatment includes medications, physical therapy, weight management, assistive devices, surgery, and lifestyle modifications. Working with a healthcare provider to develop a personalised treatment plan is crucial for managing arthritis symptoms.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is when the bones become weak and brittle, increasing the risk of fractures. While there may not be any physical signs of osteoporosis in its early stages, as the condition progresses, it can cause a loss of height, a stooped posture, and bone fractures.

Seniors can prevent osteoporosis by consuming adequate calcium and vitamin D, engaging in weight-bearing exercises, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among seniors. To reduce the risk of heart disease, seniors should maintain a healthy weight, consume a heart-healthy diet, exercise regularly, manage stress, and control high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Quitting smoking can also reduce the risk of heart disease.

Cancer

Cancer is another leading cause of death among seniors. Seniors can reduce cancer risk by maintaining a healthy weight, consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, engaging in regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, and getting recommended cancer screenings.

Respiratory Diseases

Respiratory diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia are more common in older adults. Seniors can prevent respiratory diseases by avoiding smoking and second-hand smoke, vaccinating against influenza and pneumococcal disease, and practising good respiratory hygiene.

Stroke

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, leading to brain damage. Seniors can reduce the risk of stroke by managing high blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling diabetes and cholesterol levels, and avoiding smoking.

 

Diabetes

Diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce or use insulin properly, leading to high blood sugar levels.  Age is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes. The older you are, the more likely you are to have it. Seniors can prevent diabetes by maintaining a healthy weight, consuming a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Depression

Depression is a common mental health concern among seniors. Seniors can manage depression by engaging in social activities, seeking support from loved ones, practising relaxation techniques, and seeking professional help.

 

Dementia

Dementia is a group of conditions that affect memory, thinking, and behaviour. Seniors can reduce the risk of dementia by engaging in regular physical and mental activity, consuming a healthy diet, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

Falls

Falls are a common concern among seniors and can lead to severe injuries. Seniors can prevent falls by maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular physical activity, using assistive devices if necessary, and modifying the home environment to reduce fall hazards.

 

Incontinence

Incontinence is when a person experiences bladder or bowel control problems. Seniors can manage incontinence by performing pelvic floor exercises, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and seeking medical treatment if necessary.

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a common concern among seniors and can affect communication and quality of life. Seniors can prevent hearing loss by avoiding exposure to loud noises, using ear protection when necessary, and seeking medical treatment if necessary.

 

Vision Problems

Vision problems like cataracts and macular degeneration are more common in older adults. Seniors can prevent vision problems by getting regular eye exams, wearing corrective lenses if needed, protecting their eyes from the sun, and consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea are more common in older adults. Seniors can manage sleep disorders by establishing a regular sleep routine, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, and seeking medical treatment.

 

Medication Management

As seniors age, they may require multiple medications to manage their health. However, taking multiple medications can increase the risk of adverse drug reactions and interactions. Seniors can address their medication needs by keeping a list of them, including over-the-counter and herbal supplements, and sharing it with their healthcare providers. Seniors should also take their medications as prescribed and avoid sharing or borrowing them.

senior-iconAbout Affinity Senior

Senior citizens have spent their lives building and supporting our society and deserve to have their health and well-being taken care of. At Affinity Health, we understand the importance of providing comprehensive healthcare solutions to seniors. That’s why we’re proud to offer the Affinity Senior Plan.

Our Day-to-Day and Hospital plans include various benefits, including managed, unlimited consultations with any GP on our network, essential acute medication, hospitalisation for medical emergencies and illnesses, and much more.

The Senior plan also caters for Spouses and Dependents on the same policy. We’re committed to ensuring seniors have access to the quality healthcare they need to live life fully. With Affinity Health, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your health is our top priority. For more information, click here.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health insurance provider, offering you a range of options, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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