As people age, their healthcare needs change. Adults age 65 and older often experience unique needs that should be taken into account when it comes to their care.
In this guide, we will be covering how senior healthcare differs from other age groups in some common ways and what that can entail. If you are an adult over 65, a caregiver for an aging adult, or if you are simply interested in learning more about senior health care, then this should be a helpful resource for you.
What Are Some General Senior Health Warning Signs?
There are a few general health concerns that seniors are more at risk for than other age groups. Conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers are more common among older adults.
Though each of these conditions is accompanied by its own symptoms, some general signs that you may want to schedule an appointment with your doctor can include:
- Struggling to complete once-normal daily tasks
- Unintentional weight loss or gain
- Excessive fatigue
- Frequent falls or loss of balance
- Chronic cold/flu symptoms
- Difficulty sleeping
- Unexplained changes in mood or behavior
- Difficulty communicating or concentrating
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is always best to consult with a doctor to screen for any serious health concerns. Many of these conditions can be managed with treatment, especially when caught early.
What Unique Needs Do Seniors Have When It Comes To Healthcare?
Due to the increased risk for certain health conditions, seniors often have unique healthcare needs. These needs can range from more frequent doctor visits to monitoring for symptoms of cognitive decline.
Compared to people under 65, some common unique needs that seniors have when it comes to healthcare include:
- More frequent doctor visits
- More screenings and tests
- More intensive physical therapy for injury recovery
- Medications to manage chronic conditions
- Specialized treatments for age-related health concerns
- Assistance performing activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, and eating
- 24-hour supervision for cognitive health conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia
Additionally, as people age, they are also more likely to have difficulty traveling and accessing medical care. This is often a reason that many seniors choose to live in residential communities or nursing homes where they can receive care and assistance from medical professionals on a regular basis.
How Can Seniors Prevent Age-Related Health Issues?
There are a few key actions that seniors can take to prevent or lessen general age-related health issues. These can include, but are not limited to:
- Eating a nutritious and lean diet
- Exercising 3-5 times per week
- Taking senior-specific vitamins
- Sitting in a chair with ergonomic support
- Reading and engaging in mentally stimulating activities like puzzles
- Scheduling regular checkups with a primary care provider
- Installing assistive features like handrails on staircases and in showers
- Spending time engaging socially with others
These activities can help keep a person mentally and physically stimulated to help alleviate some common difficulties that seniors may experience as they age. You can also ask your doctor for further recommendations if there are any age-related conditions specific to you or your family history.
What Types of Screenings and Tests Should Seniors Schedule?
There are a few types of screenings and tests that seniors should schedule regularly in order to maintain their health. These can include, but are not limited to:
- Annual physical exams with a primary care provider
- COVID-19 vaccine and yearly flu shots
- Blood pressure checks every other year starting at age 50
- Cholesterol test every five years starting at age 45
- Yearly mammogram starting at age 50
- Yearly colon cancer screening starting at age 50
- Prostate cancer screenings starting at age 50
These are only a few of the many screenings and tests that seniors should consider scheduling. Always consult with your or your loved one’s primary care provider to see what is recommended for you based on your individual health history.
What Should I Do If I Think I’m Experiencing a Health Issue?
If you think you may be experiencing a health issue, the best action to take is to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider. They will be able to properly assess what is going on and provide you with the next steps.
When Should Seniors Consider Entering a Senior Living Community?
There is no single definitive answer to when someone may benefit from a nursing home or senior living community. This requires a complete examination of the person’s individual lifestyle and medical circumstances.
Generally, you may want to consider exploring senior living options if you need assistance with daily living tasks such as bathing, cooking, and medical care. People experiencing cognitive decline can also benefit from a community that can provide constant supervision.
If you are considering senior living, talk to your primary care provider and your family members to determine if this could be a beneficial option for your specific needs.
Find a Caring Senior Community in the New York Capital Region
At Shaker Place Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, our team of caring professionals provides a wide range of senior healthcare and wellness services to our neighbors in the New York Capital Region, including Albany and other surrounding communities. If you need to transition to a skilled nursing facility, please contact us today to learn more about our services and to schedule a tour.