Physical Activity Helps Seniors Manage Chronic Conditions

One of the best actions seniors can take to combat chronic disease is to get moving. Today almost 92% of seniors have at least one chronic condition and 77% have at least two. Chronic conditions are costly and are major contributors to disability and loss of independence.

If a senior you know is experiencing blurred or double vision, or if he or she needs more light than usual to read, it may be time for a cataract exam. Cataracts are the most common eye disease in older adults, and the leading cause of blindness, with more than 2.5 million people in Canada struggling with it.

Seniors are at a greater risk of drug interactions than the general population as they typically take more medications. A 2008 study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information stated that almost two-thirds of Canadian seniors are taking five or more types of prescription drugs. The study further found that at least one in 25 older Canadians take drugs in potentially harmful combinations.

Because of the natural changes that occur in skin as we age, the summer season can leave seniors even more vulnerable to its harmful effects. Chief among them are the impacts of being outdoors – the sun, the heat, and the environment. Caregivers can easily help their senior loved ones enjoy the great outdoors and the many fun activities that go along with it by being aware of potential risks and taking some practical yet effective precautions.

Our bodies work hard every day to maintain a normal temperature. Excessive heat forces our body to work harder than normal, which often is the root cause of heat-related illness. Essentially the heat forces our bodies to work beyond their limits. For senior citizens, this can be a dangerous – and even deadly – problem. With awareness and preventative measures, caregivers can help their senior loved ones enjoy a healthy, active summer.

Summer’s hot weather can be a welcome relief from the cold winter months, but it can also pose a threat to older people. As people age, their ability to regulate heat becomes compromised, making them more prone to injury and illness from hot weather. Excessive heat kills more people each year, mostly seniors 65 or older, than floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, lightening, or earthquakes.

A recent study showed a strong correlation between hearing loss and dementia. Seniors with mild hearing loss were twice as likely to develop dementia. Those with moderate hearing loss were three times more likely, and those with severe hearing loss were five times more likely to develop dementia.

While osteoporosis appears to affect fewer senior men than women (one in five men compared with one in three women), the consequences for men are more severe. More men over the age of fifty (one in four) will suffer from a broken hip due to osteoporosis than will get prostate cancer.

You may wonder about the performance of your senior loved one on the road. Medications, loss of vision, frailty, physical disabilities, and even senility can end anyone’s driving career prematurely or permanently. So, how can you tell when the time has come for someone to stop driving?

Keeping the minds and social connections of our senior loved ones active is every bit as important to as caring for their physical wellbeing. Senior citizens don’t have to slow down or stop feeling young at heart just because they are older. As a caregiver, there are many fun, low cost and even free activities you can help your senior get involved with so that he or she can enjoy being socially engaged all year round.

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