There are more than 13 crore senior citizens in India – 60 years and above. Their healthcare needs are very different.
Here is a list of common healthcare issues faced by them:
Senior citizens are prone to falls, injuries, accidents, cuts and bruises due to
- Poor vision,
- Poor hand- eye coordination
- Wasting of muscles
- Weakening of bones and joints
- They are vulnerable to slips and falls frequently on
- Wet floors
- Slippery surfaces and
- in bathrooms
- Low sugar
- High & low blood pressure
- Older women are prone to accidents
- While doing household chores
Heart disease is common in older age
- Coronary artery disease and heart attacks
- Irregular heart-beat
- valvular and other cardiovascular ailments.
If the elders complain of chest pain, shortness of breath or fatigue, rush to a hospital for cardiac health check-up.
Also Read: Geriatric Health Care
They are also prone to develop Cerebral stroke
- Stroke needs immediate attention and the golden hour is critical to save patients.
- Stroke may lead to death or permanent or mental or physical disability.
- Signs of stroke include
- Sudden weakness in the arms and legs
- Weakness on one side of the body
- Confusion and slurred speech.
- If you see any of these in the elders, rush them to the hospital immediately.
Abdominal pain or Indigestion is yet another chronic problem amongst senior citizens.
- Elders may have abdominal pain because of
- Weakened digestive system
- Food poisoning
- They may also have stomach pain due to other health issues such
- Bowel obstruction due to many causes
- Strangulation of hernias
- Appendicitis, Colitis, Diverticulitis
- Interruption of blood flow to the bowels
- Constipation and Irritable Bowel Syndrome also cause discomfort in the abdomen
- Elders are prone to infections because of weak immune systems.
- Bacterial, fungal, urinary tract infections are top of the list
- Respiratory problems, pneumonia and pulmonary infections are also serious cause of concern
- They are prone to develop side effects to medications
- On an average the elderly in India, consume a minimum of 4 to 5 categories of drugs. While each drug category may cause side effects a combination of these categories and titrations lead to an explosion in the number of drug induced side effects.
Depression and Dementia
- Depression in the elderly can be a result of
- Living alone
- Medication induced and
- A result of various ailments.
- When depression sets the elders may be seen
- Do not speak for long hours
- Do not have interest in any activity
- Do not interact with people
- Have suicidal thoughts or tendencies.
- Loss of memory and other cognitive abilities.
- Problems with language, decision-making.
- Mood swings,
- Irritability, anxiety and depression can be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
Also Read: Geriatric Depression: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
- Dental problem in elders may include
- Darkened teeth
- Dry mouth
- Diminished sense of taste
- Root decay
- Gum disease
- Tooth loss
- Uneven jawbone
- Denture-induced stomatitis, thrush etc.
Diabetes and Blood pressure
Older adults who have diabetes need to watch their sugar levels. Uncontrolled Diabetes puts them at high risk of heart disease, stroke, dehydration, wounds and ulcers, some of which can be dangerous.
Also Read: Vaccinations for adults and senior citizens
Vision and Hearing problems
- As age advances vision and hearing may deteriorate.
- Can be rectified immediately through visual or hearing aids, and surgery
- If ignored, may lead accidents, falls and injuries.
Leading hospitals have exclusive Geriatric departments and specialists to take care of the senior citizens.
Timely and empathetic care will help them lead good quality life for long years.
The emergency needs of the senior citizens may present challenges to the caregivers.
Geriatricians are specialists who give 360-degree view of the elders, diagnose comorbidities and give a holistic treatment plan with a multi-disciplinary approach.
Geriatrists are the primary physicians of all the elders- senior citizens.
Kauvery Hospital is globally known for its multidisciplinary services at all its Centers of Excellence, and for its comprehensive, Avant-Grade technology, especially in diagnostics and remedial care in heart diseases, transplantation, vascular and neurosciences medicine. Located in the heart of Trichy (Tennur, Royal Road and Alexandria Road (Cantonment), Chennai, Karaikudi, Hosur and Salem, the hospital also renders adult and pediatric trauma care.
Chennai – 044 4000 6000 • Trichy – Cantonment – 0431 4077777 • Trichy – Heartcity – 0431 4003500 • Trichy – Tennur – 0431 4022555 • Karaikudi – 04565 244555 • Hosur – 04344 272727 • Salem – 0427 2677777