As an individual ages, his or her health becomes more and more important. A senior’s quality of life can vary depending on the health issues he or she faces and the health care he or she receives.
Understanding the health issues seniors face, as well as knowing the kind of health care available for seniors, is the first step in maintaining good health later in life. Leading a healthy lifestyle and seeing a doctor regularly are the best ways for seniors to stay healthy. Read on to learn more tips for maintaining one’s health as a senior.
Seniors, as a whole, are more vulnerable to disease and chronic illness than most other age groups. While the aging population develops a variety of illnesses, there are several health concerns the majority of seniors face. Common health issues in seniors can greatly affect an individual’s health and general well-being if not properly treated. Certain illnesses, such as Type 2 diabetes, can lead to the development of other chronic diseases, further putting seniors at risk.
One of the most common illnesses in seniors is cardiovascular disease. While this disease is common in adults of all ages, it is particularly threatening to seniors. Cardiovascular disease, commonly referred to as heart disease, is a chronic illness that can lead to severely harmful and possibly fatal conditions, such as heart attack or stroke. Though cardiovascular disease can be very damaging to a senior’s health, with proper treatment, it can be prevented or managed.
Type 2 diabetes is another chronic illness that has risen steadily among adults in recent years. This is especially true for seniors, as the disease is more common in older adults. While diabetes itself is a major health risk, it can also lead to other major diseases, such as cardiovascular disease. Diabetes can also make other health conditions worse by impairing vision and lowering the rate at which the body can heal itself. However, diabetes can be prevented or managed through healthy diet and exercise, as well as by seeing a doctor regularly.
Arthritis is a painful condition most associate with old age. Though joint pain is a major symptom, not all who suffer from arthritis have pain. Other symptoms, such as swelling in the joints, can be present when pain is not. Arthritis may seem like a condition where only pain management is necessary, but it can cause some permanent physical damage if left untreated.
Another health issue that is typically associated with aging is dementia, which refers to all conditions that cause a serious loss in cognitive function. There are many different forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, which can range in severity. While most types of dementia are common in seniors, it is important to note that dementia is not a normal part of the aging process. Those suffering symptoms of dementia should consult a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Preventing the onset of illnesses is important for individuals of any age, but it becomes increasingly important as a person ages. Maintaining a clean bill of health as a senior requires preventive health care services from a doctor or team of medical professionals. The aim of preventive health care is not only to prevent diseases from surfacing, but to catch them in time for treatments to be effective, should they occur. Preventing diseases can be as simple as visiting a primary care physician once a year, but all preventive care measures are potentially lifesaving.
Though receiving proper preventive care can seem financially impossible, it is easier than ever for seniors to receive the care they need. With the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most insurance policies must provide policyholders with free or low-cost preventive health care coverage. Marketplace insurance plans, Medicaid and Medicare all provide preventive health care services for free to beneficiaries. While these services may be covered at no cost, they generally require the insured member to visit a doctor that is within network in order to provide coverage.
For many seniors in the United States, Medicare is a primary source of health insurance coverage. The Medicare program is a federally run health insurance program for adults aged 65 years or older, as well as those younger than 65 living with certain disabilities. Medicare coverage comes in four parts: Part A, B, C and D. Each part of Medicare coverage focuses on different kinds of health care coverage, and some parts may be held simultaneously.
Eligibility requirements for Medicare are the same in every state, as it is a federal health insurance program. However, eligibility for each part of Medicaid differs slightly. Generally, Medicare applicants must be 65 years of age or older and receiving Social Security benefits. Applicants may begin applying for Medicare as early as three months before they turn 65 years old.
While seeing a doctor regularly is most important for the health of a senior, it does not completely ensure good health. Healthy living, as well as following a doctor’s recommendations, is crucial in preventing disease and improving a senior’s quality of life. By taking preventive health measures at home between doctor’s visits, older adults can maintain both their physical and mental well-being.
A key component of a healthy lifestyle at any age is exercise. Exercise is important for everyone, but it is especially important for seniors. Seniors who exercise tend to develop fewer illnesses and are less likely to sustain injuries due to falls. Along with exercise, eating healthy and nutritious meals can help promote wellness in a senior. Malnutrition is common in seniors, which can weaken the body and cause poor health. Maintaining a well-balanced diet is important for senior health.
Seniors often need resources that may be difficult to find or access, especially as it comes to finances and affordability. Maintaining good health later in life can be costly, as seniors tend to require more care and equipment to remain healthy. Meeting the personal and health care needs of an older adult can be a challenge, but with the right resources, it can be made easier to manage.
Many seniors develop mobility issues as they age, regardless of their health. Seniors with mobility issues often find simple daily tasks difficult, such as bathing or walking. Finding durable medical equipment can help a senior maintain mobility and independence with few limitations. Medical equipment, among other things, can be expensive. Finding medical and wellness discounts available to seniors can help in finding the proper care and equipment needed at a fair price.
For seniors, the most difficult aspect of aging is often thinking about situations in which an individual is no longer able to care for themselves or make their own health care decisions. While the thought alone can be upsetting to think about, the process of preparing for such a situation can be even more of a challenge. Knowing how to choose a health care surrogate or how to prepare a living will can be make the process smoother. In the event that a senior loses the ability to care for him or herself, finding a nursing home or hospice may be a necessary choice.