As the years go by, we are encountering more global problems than solutions. One of the many things that most countries are trying to solve is elderly health care issues. For instance, it’s not uncommon for seniors to lose a tooth gradually. They may opt to replace the missing tooth with a bridge, but the problem is that, at some point, their entire teeth will fall off, requiring another restorative procedure.
The Rising Population
Overpopulation around the world is one thing to consider. But the growing number of older adults in need of health care services is hard to control. According to World Health Organization, the number of seniors aging 65 years and above could reach 1.5 Billion in the year 2050. And in that year, the numbers of elderly are more significant than the population of children.
So why does the population of the elderly keep growing? WHO firmly believes that this is because the cause of death for seniors has evolved over the years. Older adults tend to get infectious diseases that cause their passing. But because of the advancements in medicine, this is no longer the issue.
Studies show that most older adults are now managing non-communicable diseases (chronic health issues). These are the types of illnesses that cannot be passed from one person to another. They solely depend on the person’s health and lifestyle. In short, the healthier the lifestyle is the lesser chance of getting a disease. Hence, significantly increasing the life expectancy of senior citizens.
Health Conditions Of The Elderly
There are specific chronic health issues that challenge modern health care providers. Apart from the growing number of the elderly in need of long term care and treatment, they also struggle in caring for patients with the following health conditions:
Older people are more prone to cancer. This is a health condition that requires long-term care and many treatments. What makes it challenging for health care professionals is that the demands for the services are increasing, and the system cannot accommodate everyone at once.
The number of older adults with dementia is also expected to increase rapidly. In fact, it is projected that about 115 million seniors will have dementia by the year 2050. In addition to this, a considerable portion of these 115 million seniors will come from underdeveloped nations. Ideally speaking, dementia will become a problem for these countries as their health care system is still in need of advancements by then.
Falls and injuries
There are a lot of things to consider in aging. Aside from chronic health issues, falls and injuries are also common in seniors. The health care system will be challenged as the number of falls is also anticipated to grow in the years to come. This is due to the fact that the elderly in the coming years come from generation with an active lifestyle. They are more outgoing and independent than the previous generation. Thus, making falls a widespread issue.
Obesity is a common problem for the elderly and children. But it could pose greater risks for seniors. This could have a significant effect on the health care providers as well. Being overweight comes with other complications such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Specific Elderly Health Care Issues
As if caring for the elderly is not challenging enough, fate seems to give everyone a hard time. Health care issues and problems will continue to increase as the next obstacles will also expand:
- The demand for resources will continue to grow in all health care facilities.
- Obesity will only keep on growing.
- There will be a huge demand for healthcare professionals. On the contrary, the number of health care providers is starting to fluctuate.
- The services health professionals can provide do not meet the demands of the diverseness of the patients.
- Most healthcare facilities are focused on specific diseases, not entirely on other illnesses that might upsurge in the future.
- Another health care concern is the sustainability of the facilities.
- The number of caregivers might decrease rapidly due to career changes and lifestyle preferences.
Preventing Health Care Issues
While health issues are somewhat inevitable, there are some ways for them to be appropriately managed. Every nation has its way of solving health crises. For instance, some countries prepare for elderly care by building infrastructures where they can be accommodated.
Moreover, local communities are encouraged to promote healthy aging to their residents. To do this, they organize social events where the elderly can participate. Some of these activities include marathons, health seminars, and many more.
How do they promote healthy aging in the elderly? By encouraging them to have a few lifestyle changes such as follows:
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Avoiding smoke, e-cigarettes, or tobacco
- Practice using moisturizers and sunscreens
- Taking care of dental health
- Staying physically active (exercising and cardio activities)
- Visiting the primary healthcare provider regularly
- Knowing the importance of the medication being taken
- Adhering to the suggested preventative examinations, tests, and screenings.
- Setting an appointment with the dentist twice a year
- Being health-conscious, knowing the importance of balanced and healthy meals
- Taking a break for mental health reasons
- Joining in social activities
Indeed, health problems will arise with age. But that does not mean that we should not take care of our bodies. The best way to live a happy life is by being healthy. By doing this, we are helping our community and the world become a better place.
The Aging Population: The Increasing Effects on Health Care (https://www.pharmacytimes.com/view/the-aging-population-the-increasing-effects-on-health-care) Jan. 19, 2016
Senior Health: Successful Aging (https://www.medicinenet.com/senior_health/article.htm) Jan. 1, 2021