What Are the Challenges that Elderly Face?
Thanks to the advancements made in medical sciences, aging does not translate to the debilitating, stay-at-home stage of life it once was. Geriatric care is also being given the importance it deserves and our senior citizens are quite an active lot! While this is a step in the right direction, there are still a few more things that can be done to further improve their health and quality of life.
Arming ourselves with the knowledge about the conditions that commonly affect the elderly can help us take the appropriate preventive measures. If they are already experiencing early symptoms, do not delay a consult with an orthopedic specialist. A simple search with the terms “orthopaedic doctor near me” will point you in the right direction. The common orthopaedic challenges they face include:
- A condition that is more common among women than men, though men can also get afflicted with it. Osteoporosis reduces bone mass making the bones more prone to fractures.
- An important point to note here is that osteoporosis is often silent, not manifesting any symptoms, till a fracture leads to its detection.
- Screening for osteoporosis is our best bet against it.
- Checking for calcium and vitamin D deficiency and performing a DEXA scan for evaluating the bone density are the common screening tests performed.
- Women who have attained menopause are especially susceptible to it and therefore regular screening is extremely important for them.
- A common condition that affects people from middle age, osteoarthritis is caused due to the thinning of the protective cartilage that is present at the joints.
- As the cartilage thins, the joints rub against each other leading to pain during movement.
- It often affects the knee and hip joints that are tasked with bearing the weight of the body, but any joint can get affected by it.
- Reducing bodyweight works wonders when dealing with osteoarthritis.
- A healthy diet, resting well and performing regular physical activity all help as well.
- Medication and hot and cold compresses will help alleviate osteoarthritic pain.
- Falls are the most common cause of fractures among the elderly that can lead to hospitalization.
- Falls happen due to a variety of causes:
- Poor vision
- Poor balance
- Arthritic changes
- Being on sleeping pills or prescription medications
- Preventing falls is the best way to reduce the risk of fractures.
- Encourage the elderly to remain physically active – strengthening exercises, balancing exercises and cardiovascular activity of their choice performed regularly will help immensely.
- As a loved one, do your bit towards fall prevention – make sure your elders’ homes are safe.
- Remove carpets which can lead to slipping
- Ensure proper lighting near staircases
- Install supportive handrails in bathrooms
- Remove or pin-up stray wires
- With a little caution and effort, falls can be averted!
Our senior citizens deserve to be happy and independent. Let us all do our bit towards achieving this!
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