- 80% of seniors have at least one chronic health condition, such as high blood pressure, arthritis, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
- Arthritis can be managed through medication, exercise, rest, nutrition, and social support.
- Tooth and gum loss is common among seniors but can be prevented by regular brushing & flossing and dentistry procedures.
- Organ health should be monitored regularly to avoid serious issues; activities like exercise & proper nutrition help keep organs healthy.
Unsurprisingly, seniors are more prone to developing health problems due to natural aging. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 80 percent of Americans aged 65 or older have at least one chronic health condition. The most commonly reported conditions include high blood pressure (44.4%), arthritis (38.7%), coronary heart disease (13.7%), diabetes (11.8%), and cancer (10.3%).
Furthermore, mental health issues can also be a significant concern for seniors. A recent survey from the CDC revealed that 11 percent of adults aged 65 or older reported having been diagnosed with depression, while 10 percent said having been diagnosed with anxiety disorder over the same period. Additionally, approximately 1 in 4 seniors has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia by age 80—a figure expected to increase significantly as life expectancies continue to rise globally.
Of course, confident lifestyle choices can significantly determine how healthy a senior may remain as they age. Expecting what illnesses or conditions might arise in retirement can help seniors take proactive steps to stay healthy and active. Here are a few of them.
Arthritis is one of the most common chronic health conditions in seniors, affecting nearly 40 percent of people aged 65 or older. Arthritis is caused by inflammation of one or more joints, which can cause mild to severe pain and stiffness. While there are many types of arthritis, the two main types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is generally caused by wear and tear on the joint due to overuse or aging. At the same time, rheumatoid arthritis is thought to be an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to attack its joint tissues.
Seniors can take several proactive steps to manage their arthritis and stay healthy. First, they should speak with their healthcare provider about medications they may require for pain relief and other symptom management. They should also ensure enough daily exercise—low-impact activities like swimming, walking, or tai chi can help reduce joint stress without putting too much strain on them. Additionally, seniors with arthritis should get plenty of rest and practice proper nutrition, so their body is better equipped to cope with the inflammation associated with arthritis. Finally, seniors need to stay socially active—support from family members and friends can often be just as beneficial as medical treatment when dealing with chronic illnesses like arthritis.
Dental health is another primary concern for seniors, as many have experienced tooth and gum loss as they age. A study by the National Institute of Health revealed that adults aged 65 or older are more than three times as likely to suffer from edentulism (toothlessness) compared to other adults. Additionally, adults aged 75–84 were 6.4 times more likely to experience severe periodontitis—a serious form of gum disease—than adults aged 65–74.
Seniors can take several steps to maintain their dental health in retirement and prevent other teeth and gum loss:
- They should brush and floss regularly with fluoride toothpaste.
- They should visit their dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
- Seniors should consider investing in restorative dentistry procedures such as dental implants or bridges to replace missing teeth or repair any damaged teeth.
If those are insufficient, you might have to consider replacement tooth procedures to restore your teeth to their former glory. All that said, dental health is an essential part of staying healthy in retirement and should not be neglected.
As the body ages, the organs can become less effective at performing their respective functions. This can lead to a variety of organ-related health problems in seniors. To avoid serious organ issues, seniors should maintain healthy lifestyles and visit the doctor regularly for checkups. However, you must constantly check these body organs to ensure they remain healthy. Here are a few of them:
The heart is undoubtedly the most critical organ in the body, and seniors must keep their hearts functioning optimally. Regular exercise is vital to keeping the heart healthy—even light activity like walking can help improve circulation and reduce blood pressure.
The liver is integral to digestion and metabolism and must be kept healthy as people age. Regular alcohol consumption can lead to serious liver issues such as cirrhosis or fatty liver disease. To maintain a healthy liver, seniors should limit their alcohol intake, avoid processed foods high in fat or sugar, and stick with a plant-based diet.
The kidneys filter waste from the body and should be monitored regularly as people age. To keep their kidneys healthy, seniors should drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks like soda and juice. Additionally, they should limit sodium intake to prevent high blood pressure—a common cause of kidney failure in seniors.
Seniors often overlook skin health, but taking proper care of your skin as you age is essential. Sun protection is vital—seniors should use sunscreen and hats outdoors for prolonged periods. Additionally, moisturizing regularly can help keep skin hydrated and reduce the appearance of wrinkles or blemishes.
Retirement can be an exciting and rewarding chapter in life, but seniors must also be aware of the health problems they may encounter. Seniors can stay healthy and active during retirement by understanding which illnesses to expect and how to proactively combat them. With some planning, you can ensure your golden years are filled with joy!