We all know this; as we grow older, our health tends to deteriorate, which is usually of the worst. Thus, we need to be aware of the diseases that our parents and grandparents are more likely to get as they grow older. This is one way for us to ensure that they are in the best health possible, and if they really are sick, it will allow us to provide them with the best care possible. Around the globe and in the UK specifically, nearly 26 million people suffer from at least one long-term medical condition and at least half of them are aged 65 and up. With an increasingly ageing population, w need to be cognizant of the diseases that may affect our elderly, so, without further ado, let’s get into the list.
Data and figures
With an increase in life expectancy, we are living longer and breaking all-time highs when it comes to life expectancy around the world, especially in developed or so-called first-world countries. According to the CDC or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average life expectancy today is 84.3 years. In the UK, according to experts, by 2030, around 7 million older people will have at least one long-term illness or a health-related issue.
Aside from the current pandemic, falls are the number one reason why elderly people are rushed to the hospital nowadays, and as we get older, our body’s metabolism slows down. It takes longer for us to recover from a fall or injury. A fall is even most lethal for people, especially elderly people who already suffer from a pre-existing condition. According to the CDC, around 2.5 million older people aged 65 or above are rushed to the emergency and are treated for fall-related issues each year.
List of diseases:
It is a progressive disorder that slowly affects only overall brain function and, most importantly, their memory. It is fairly common among older people and affects 1 in every 14 individuals above 65 and 1 in 6 people above 80. The most infamous form of dementia that most of us relate to the elderly is Alzheimer’s disease. Some symptoms of dementia are:
- Difficulty following a conversation
- Difficulty judging distances
- Difficulty remembering recent events
- Forgetting dates and where you are
In the UK, nearly 1 million people who live with dementia, at least 90% of whom are aged 65 and up, argued that they’d noticed at least one of these symptoms. Reading and other activities that stimulate your brains are said to help with dementia and slow its progression.
When most of us talk about issues affecting the elderly, we mainly talk about physical affliction and tend to gloss over mental illnesses. However, according to the American Psychological Association, mental health is a real issue that affects a lot of older people; 15 to 20% of Americans who suffer from depression are aged 65 and above. Although this might seem insignificant, it isn’t; mental health is something that we need to take more seriously and deal with head-on; depression may lower one’s immune system and affect their ability to fight off diseases.
It is a skin condition that is really common among older people. Most of us had chickenpox as kids, but did you know it could come back when you get older and this is what we call singles, 50% of all Americans will experience it at least once before they turn 80, and 1 in 3 people aged 60 or above will get it. This is especially prominent among the elderly because of their weaker immune system that gets weaker with age. You can always get a vaccine for it; you should always talk to your doctor first before getting it, as they will tell you whether it is good or not for you.
Sound off in the comments section below and tell us if you want to read more about other diseases that affect older people.