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Seniors are particularly susceptible to malnutrition, because not only do they have different nutritional needs than younger adults, they also take more medications, and have higher rates of chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. According to Stats Canada, 34% of seniors living at home are at risk for malnutrition. This article outlines signs that indicate senior malnutrition and ways you can prevent malnutrition in your senior and elder loved ones.

Several preventable diseases can cause serious illness and even death in un-vaccinated seniors. Many adults believe that they do not need vaccinations, or worry about their side effects, but people age 65 and older are at higher risk of complications from the actual diseases.

Problems associated with aging can affect a person’s ability to move around, or mobility. Muscle weakness, joint problems, pain, disease, and neurological difficulties can all contribute to mobility problems. They can also make the difference between living at home or in a facility.

Dehydration is one of the most frequent causes of hospitalization after age 65. Kidney function is less efficient in seniors, and body water content decreases. Seniors also eat less, which means they are getting fewer fluids from food. Diabetes can upset the balance even further.

Due to Canada’s growing number of seniors, many of whom are afflicted with Alzheimer’s and dementia, wandering is increasing. Even in familiar places, a person with Alzheimer’s may not remember his or her name or address, and can become disoriented. Wandering with dementia is dangerous, but there are strategies and services to help prevent it.

Pneumonia is a major cause of mortality among seniors 65 and older. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more people die each year from pneumonia than from car accidents. There are several primary reasons why seniors are more susceptible to contracting pneumonia.

47% of Canadians over the age of 60 suffer from hearing loss, ranging from the inability to hear certain voices to deafness. A senior with hearing loss may struggle with hearing alarms or telephones, or understanding speech on TV or radio; may be unaware that someone is talking or whispering; and may have a lack of understanding when talking on the phone, if several people are in a large room or many people are talking, or when a speaker’s face can’t be seen.

Falls are the leading cause of death from injury among people 65 and older, and the risk of falls increases proportionately with age. At 80 years, over half of seniors fall annually. Every 13 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 20 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.

Kitchens are one of the most dangerous areas of a home for seniors. There may be physical issues such as diminished balance, vision, and reflexes ─ or a senior may be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Many accidents and falls occur in the kitchen due to: cooking fires, water, grease and spills on the floor, reaching for hard-to-reach objects, appliance injuries, even inappropriate objects placed in a microwave.

Bathrooms can be quite hazardous, especially for Canada’s seniors. Up to 80% of falls in the home occur in the bathroom. Bathrooms typically have slippery surfaces, and nothing dependable to grasp in order to prevent falls. Fall-related injuries can range from minor cuts, scrapes, and bruises to more severe injuries, including broken bones such as hip fractures, head contusions, and even spinal cord injury.

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