When it comes to your parents, you expect common illnesses and issues to crop up. Joint problems, high blood pressure and even dementia can be expected within certain families. What about those health risks that you haven’t considered? Here are five health issues facing the elderly that most of us don’t think about:
It may seem like an obvious health concern once you think about it, but have you really given though to your aging parent gaining too much weight? Even if your parents can no longer exercise and move about like they once could, it’s important that you encourage them to eat healthy and participate in activities that are both easy and enjoyable. Obesity increases the chances of hypertension, type 2 diabetes and stroke, among other complications.
Unfortunately, most of us consider HIV/AIDS to be an issue that afflicts the young and virile due to misconceived notions about the aging and sex. Between 11 and 15 percent of new cases of AIDS in America occur in those over 50. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, the epidemic is of concern in our aging population. The problem is largely unrecognized and under-studied. STDs and HIV/AIDS are something that need to be taken very seriously as our parents grow older.
3.Injury, Violence and Disaster
When it comes to health, we tend to think about things we catch like a cold or the flu. Injury, violence and disaster are health concerns that are more uncommon. Of the people aged 65 and older, one out of three will be treated for an injury acquired during a fall. Criminals often prey on the elderly, thinking them easy targets. Lastly, the elderly are twice as likely to die in a house fire. Do what you can to keep your parents safe and secure.
How does pollution pose a greater health risk to the elderly than to others? Weakening immune systems aside, studies have shown that low-income people and minorities are more likely to live in areas with higher environmental risks, including pollution. Today, when compared to the general population, a high proportion of senior citizens are living just above the poverty line. If your parents are living in a low-income or poorly kept neighborhood, you may want to consider installing air purifiers in their home and suggesting that they pay attention to pollution alerts.
When it comes to mental health, we commonly associate dementia in all of its forms with the elderly. In fact, one of the more common mental health problems among the aging is depression. If left undetected and untreated, depression can lead to health problems and, in the most unfortunate incidents, death. In fact, elderly white men claim the highest rate of suicide in the entire population. If your aging parents seem consistently down, help them seek assistance as soon as possible.
As our parents age, our roles typically reverse. The people that were once our caregivers must now be cared for. Don’t forget to keep these uncommon health concerns in mind as your parents age, especially if you are charged with their care. Make sure that a loved one is kept abreast of what the future may hold, even if they don’t have the physical or mental capacity to fully participate in the decision-making process. By instead leaving them out altogether, you could create unnecessary friction and strong emotions. Everyone deserves the chance to know what’s to come, and you can help a loved one feel valued by keeping them informed. Taking care of our love ones is truly an overwhelming success as it filled our hearts with joy seeing them having good health and safety living.