It’s no secret that the average age in Canada is rising.
Statistics Canada predicts that by 2056 the median age in Canada will be 10 years older than today.
As our friends and relatives age, it’s important to keep an eye on their health. Here are the most common senior health concerns:
In Canada, arthritis is the most common disability in women and the third most common disability in men. It can cause pain and stiffness in sufferers’ joints and muscles. Though most people think of osteoporosis as the only type of arthritis, there are over 100 different diseases grouped under the arthritis title. Tasks we do everyday become impossible with severe joint pain and muscle stiffness. The Canadian Arthritis Society lists resources and medical treatments that are available for those experiencing symptoms of arthritis.
Alzheimer's and Dementia
If you notice that a senior in your life is having trouble remembering things or having difficulty performing regular tasks, it could be a sign of dementia. Dementia, a disorder of the brain, affects a person’s ability to think, process and remember. Over 700,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Dementia doesn’t just impact one person. When someone is experiencing symptoms of dementia, it impacts their family, friends and community. If someone you know has symptoms of Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s important to get the proper support.
For more information, see our Alzheimer's and Dementia ebook.
One of the most overlooked health concerns associated with aging is depression. The Canadian Psychological Association estimates that 15 per cent of people over 65 are suffering from symptoms of depression. Common symptoms include: a loss of interest in daily activities, loss of energy, anger, irritability and feelings of helplessness. Seniors are more at risk because their symptoms are significantly harder to detect. Several symptoms are similar to regular signs of aging and aren’t as apparent to friends or family. Keep an eye on aging friends and relatives and make sure they are supported emotionally.
Common respiratory diseases can impact a person’s ability to breath and function normally. In Canada, there are over 3 million people living with severe respiratory illnesses. These illnesses include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, tuberculosis, and cystic fibrosis. When someone is suffering from respiratory disease, they need to make sure that they’re getting the proper medical help. Lung function tests and the correct medicines can do wonders for those suffering from breathing issues.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has a wealth of resources about respiratory diseases.
The heart is one of our most important organs and its health can deteriorate as we age. Heart disease describes a variety of conditions that affect the heart’s ability to perform properly. This includes cardiac arrest, angina, and heart attack, among others. Heart disease and stroke are two of the leading causes of death in Canada. There are several factors that contribute to heart disease, but with the right lifestyle choices, risk of heart disease can be reduced. As our friends and relatives get older, it’s important to make sure that they aren’t smoking, that they’re eating well, and getting enough exercise.
For more information visit The Heart and Stroke Foundation.
When the people we know get older, they need to be supported with home health care and family help to keep their health on track. Keeping an eye out for these major health concerns is just part of the work that we can do to help our aging friends and relatives.