Chronic Illnesses in the Elderly and How to Care for Them

Sep 9, 2015   //   by Gavin Densmore, Founder, CEO   //   News, Senior Care in Raleigh NC  //  Comments Off

Senior Care in Raleigh, NC

Senior Care Raleigh NCDue to a weakened immune system and frail body, the elderly are more commonly diagnosed with a chronic disease than that of younger generations. In fact, according to the National Council on Aging, 92 percent of aging adults have at least one chronic disease, while 77 percent have at least two. The most common disease among this demographic include stroke, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, which causes about two-thirds of all deaths each year.  If you are the caregiver of someone with a disease, you may have some reservations, especially if this is a new role for you. It does not have to be a scary experience for the caregiver. As long as you are armed with the right information and guidance on assisting with the in-home care of someone with a serious medical condition, you will be able to give them the support and help they need. Here are some of the most common illnesses and what the caregiver can do to help.

Diabetes

While it this disease is often associated with an unhealthy lifestyle, filled with high sugar and fat foods and lack of physical activity, that does not hold true for seniors. As our bodies age, it is unable to break down insulin the way it does in younger adults, making it difficult to keep our blood pressure under control. Fortunately with a healthy diet, exercise plan, and medication, elders with diabetes will have a better chance of keeping the disease at bay. The best thing you can do for their health is monitor the foods they consume, prepare healthy meals for them, and watch their sugar intake.

Heart disease

Heart disease can be a nerve-wracking experience for both the caregiver and the elder. It can attack with subtle to no symptoms and is the cause of death for 84 percent of senior citizens. To help, keep stressful situations away from the senior, providing a positive environment for them, and help them make lifestyle changes based on the doctor’s recommendations.

Cancer

Cancer comes in many forms and can often spread like a wildfire. It may be found in the lungs, throat, colon, breasts, or other places in the body. While this condition can be treated if it is caught early enough, there are also some forms of cancer that are terminal. Since you will most likely handle the elder’s grooming routine, such as bathing and brushing their teeth, it is important to pay close attention to any new moles or abnormalities you did not notice before. If you do spot something out of the ordinary, consult with their doctor immediately.

Dementia

The body is not the only thing that becomes weaker during the aging process, the brain also begins to shrink. This can cause memory loss and other cognitive disabilities, such as dementia. This condition occurs due to a “disconnect” between the brain and nerve endings in the body, decreasing the senior’s ability to remember. Providing elder care for someone with dementia can leave the caregiver feeling exhausted, stressed, and anxious because of the elder’s wandering habit, poor judgement, and changing mood. Treating someone with this condition requires an enormous amount of patience, a calming attitude, and possibly with the help of a professional.

Assisting in the senior care of a loved one with a chronic disease can be scary, but now that you know a little more about these four, it should boost your confidence in providing the best care and support for your loved one.

Sources

Elderly Care Tips. “Senior Illnesses And What They Mean To The Care Giver.”

National Council on Aging. “Healthy Aging Facts.”

Rodgriguez, Diana. Everyday Health. “Heart-Healthy Habits for Seniors.”

Gavin Densmore, Founder, CEO

Founder and CEO at Helping Hands of America
Gavin Densmore is founder and CEO of Helping Hands of America LLC, Raleigh North Carolina’s oldest Senior Care agency, alocal niche patient-centric service provider toindividuals living in the Triangle of North Carolina.

Mr. Densmore has over 30 years of comprehensive sales and marketing experience including over 13 years of operational home care experience. He holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Marketing.

Mr. Densmore is active in many business and industry associations. He is a member of the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and has served on the board for the Alzheimer’s Association Eastern NC chapter. His home care agency is the agency of choice for the State of NC, Duke University and Duke Medical, UNC and UNC Healthcare, WakeMed hospital, Rex hospital, Duke/Raleigh Community hospital, and Duke Energy.He has been an invited speaker at several industry conferences and recipient of numerous awards and recognitions.

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