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Senior Health Challenges: Navigating Age-Related Conditions

Did you know that, according to recent statistics, Canada is home to almost 10,000 centenarians ? While the majority of seniors consider themselves generally happy and healthy, the fact remains that an aging population implies new realities. As we age, risk factors for a number of chronic conditions increase. Thankfully, solutions exist to deal with the various age-related diseases.

At Visavie, our team dedicates its day-to-day efforts to deploying the best resources available for seniors and their relatives.

What Is The Role of a Professional Caregivers for Seniors?

With empathy, a caregiver is always attentive to the needs of the elderly. By providing comfort and hygiene care, with respect and dignity, they accompany seniors on a daily basis, ensuring safety and well-being. Through their expertise and human qualities, professional caregivers can effectively monitor the evolution of seniors’ needs over time. Their role is very valuable, not only for the elderly themselves, but also for their relatives, family caregivers, as well as the nursing staff and other healthcare professionals.

As some chronic diseases emerge with aging, the key role of professional caregivers becomes even more important. Their day-to-day presence and involvement makes it possible for many seniors to continue living at home, despite the onset of a new health problem. Personal care assistance, help with hygiene, meal preparation and transportation accompaniment are just a few of the many tasks that professional caregivers carry out on a daily basis to ensure that seniors maintain the best quality of life.

Age-Related Diseases in Seniors: Learn More About Those 7 Chronic Conditions

The significant improvement in life expectancy in recent years is good news. But it also implies some risk factors that are associated with chronic health problems. According to a projection from the Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian seniors could represent nearly 25% of the entire population by as early as 2040. In addition to the normal changes associated with aging, we may also observe the onset of some age-related health conditions.

Let’s learn more about those 7 frequent chronic diseases affecting the elderly.

1. Cancer

Sadly, cancer is at the top of the list of age-related illnesses. While no age group is spared from this disease, which is characterized by a disorder in the cells that multiply too fast within the body, it is estimated that around 90 % of the population affected by cancer is over the age of 50. The reason may be that a series of damages to our DNA can naturally occur over time, leading to a predisposition to cancer.

Among the most common types of cancer found in seniors are:

  • breast cancer;
  • prostate cancer;
  • colorectal cancer;
  • lung cancer;
  • and various skin cancers.

Have you, or an elderly relative, been diagnosed with cancer? Resources are available to help you better face this disease.

Looking for some support? Please do not hesitate to contact one of our Visavie advisors who will be happy to assist you !

2. Diabetes

As a common chronic disease among the elderly, diabetes comes with a number of daily challenges for seniors: monitoring blood sugar levels on a regular basis, constant management of diet, taking prescribed medication, and so on. For seniors living with diabetes, professional caregivers can play an especially important role. Whether it involves educating on healthy habits, preparing nutritious, well-balanced meals, supervising seniors at home to ensure their safety, or accompanying them to medical appointments, caregivers play a major role in home support and in the overall health of diabetic seniors.

Type II diabetes is the most common form, followed by type I and gestational diabetes (seen during pregnancy). Although it is impossible to accurately predict the onset of type II diabetes, which affects around 90% of all diabetic patients, we know that several risk factors are associated with the development of this disease. And aging is one of them. We can therefore say that the risk of diabetes is higher among seniors. With this in mind, it is essential to do everything we can to take preventive action, using the different resources available. The objective being to improve the quality of life of diabetic seniors on a day-to-day basis.

3. Cardiovascular Diseases

Combining several specific health problems such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, ischemic heart disease and heart failure, cardiovascular diseases are among the most important age-related medical conditions. In fact, experts consider aging as one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular problems, along with other predisposing factors such as smoking, inactivity, inadequate diet and family history. Anyone suffering from a cardiovascular disease may be interested to know that home care for seniors is offered to them in order to ease the burden of daily tasks. Visavie‘s home support services can help the elderly and their family to live better with this diagnosis.

4. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a bone disease defined by a loss of density within the human skeleton, leading to bone fragility. The consequence is an increased risk of injury and fracture. Although it affects women more frequently than men, this metabolic problem is fairly common among the entire elderly population.

Have you been diagnosed with osteoporosis? Have you ever considered the personalized support of a professional caregiver? Whether it’s to accompany you on your outings to prevent falls, or to help accomplish everyday tasks, the presence of a caregiver at home ensures security and comfort, either for you and/or your elderly loved ones.

5. Osteoarthritis

Among all musculoskeletal diseases, osteoarthritis appears as one of the most frequent. Commonly known as articular damage following repeated stress and movement, osteoarthritis is in fact categorized as a degenerative disease, frequently affecting seniors.

Although it may be differentiated from other types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis, the fact remains that all of these joint disorders have one thing in common: a potential reduced autonomy for seniors suffering from it.

When confronted with this disease, which is more common as we age, home care assistance represents an excellent solution to make the everyday life of seniors easier. Home adaptation, assistance with daily tasks, accompaniment during activities, caregivers can help seniors with osteoarthritis problems in many ways.

6. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Also known by its acronym COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is another example of age-related health disorders. Although it can be encountered at any age, this respiratory disease is more frequent among seniors as the normal function of the lungs generally tends to decrease with age, becoming a predisposing factor.

Causing several symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath, this chronic disease is relatively common among the elderly population. It is in fact estimated that it would affect approximately ⅕ of seniors across Canada.

7. Alzheimer, Dementia and Other Aging-Related Cognitive Disorders

Most of the mental disorders are ageless and can occur at any time during our lives. However, it is true that some neurodegenerative diseases are related to aging. This is the case for Alzheimer’s disease as well as certain types of dementia, for which age is recognized as the main risk factor. Anxiety, depression and mood disorders are also some examples of problems affecting the daily reality of many seniors.

Did you know that Visavie‘s caregivers offer specialized home care, adapted to seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive problems ? Please do not hesitate to contact our caring team in order to benefit from this helpful support.

Healthy Aging: The Importance of Prevention

Across all these chronic diseases, age remains only one risk factor among a series of several other predisposing elements often related to lifestyle habits. Lack of physical activity, malnutrition, obesity and smoking are just a few examples.

In order to prevent age-related diseases, here are some recommendations to put into action :

  1. Choose a healthy and balanced diet;
  2. Do physical activities on a regular basis;
  3. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption;
  4. Stay away from smoking;
  5. Ensure to respect your medical follow-ups;
  6. Do the screening tests within the timeframes recommended by your physician;
  7. Prevent social isolation (family and friends, social activities, hobbies, presence at home, transition into a seniors’ residence, etc.);
  8. Try to minimize the risk of falls (at home and during outings).

Ultimately, the objective is to find a good balance between maintenance of autonomy and optimal quality of life for seniors. And this, regardless of health condition.

If you, or an elderly relative, is confronted with the onset of some age-related diseases, remember that our team of devoted Senior Living Advisors at Visavie are available 24/7 to answer your questions and accompany you with respect and compassion.

Thanks to their good advice, and the daily intervention of a professional caregiver at home, it is possible to aim for maximum well-being for seniors and their relatives.

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