The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is an organization whose goal is to improve the lives of seniors through education, intervention, and resources. The NCOA is also an excellent resource for statistics regarding the health of older Americans. The following information can be also be found on the NCOA’s website, ncoa.org.
A chronic disease is one that is long lasting or reoccurs in the same patient; examples include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. Approximately 80% of seniors have at least one chronic disease, and 50% are dealing with at least two. The National Governors Association states that 75% of the national money spent on health care is used for chronic diseases. Diabetes is becoming a huge problem with seniors, with 23% suffering from the disease and an additional large population at risk of developing diabetes. Lifestyle intervention in the form of nutrition and exercise can be successful at preventing this disease.
A whopping 90% of seniors have developed hypertension or are at risk of developing hypertension. This type of high blood pressure can lead to complications such as heart attack and heart failure.
Falling is especially hazardous for seniors. They are prone to fracturing bones because of age and deterioration. At least one third of all seniors will experience a fall that is severe enough to require hospitalization.
As many as one in four older Americans suffer from some type of mental health issue. The most common are depression, anxiety, and dementia. Many do not seek treatment because of a lack of resources or the stigma associated with mental illnesses, especially among some of the older generations. For those who live with poor mental health, the negative effects can be severe and include poor physical health, illness, disability, and decreased quality of life.
These and many other issues can be addressed through a quality home care provider. These professionals are trained to recognize the signs of illness, disease, and other problems and have the resources to treat them. Family members can look to the Trusted Hands Network to put them in touch with a home care provider.