What Makes Aging Adults More Susceptible to Illness?

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Nobody likes to get sick, but older adults tend to be more susceptible to illness than their younger counterparts. If you’re providing some type of care for an older loved one, you may have concerns about the possibility of issues with infections, seasonal viruses, and other health problems common among the elderly. Here’s a closer look at why seniors are more prone to illness and what can be done to minimize risks that may affect them.

Chronic Health Issues

The National Council on Aging estimates approximately 90 percent of seniors have at least one chronic health problem. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer are the most common health issues among older adults. Such conditions can contribute to a wide range of related illnesses. Chronic health issues may become less of a concern if seniors:
  • Make appropriate lifestyle changes
  • Follow doctor recommendations for the management of chronic health issues
  • Get annual checkups and health screenings to look for undetected chronic conditions
Most older adults prefer to recover from illnesses at home, and that often requires assistance. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Waterloo, IA, seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver.

Age-Related Immune System Changes

Over time, the body’s immune system naturally becomes less capable of handling new threats, such as viruses. This increases the risk of having issues with various illnesses. What seniors can do is take steps to keep aging immune systems working as efficiently as possible. AARP recommends seniors accomplish this goal by:
  • Staying active
  • Adopting a Mediterranean-style diet that includes fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, and fatty fish
  • Managing stress
  • Seeing if supplements may be appropriate to correct nutritional deficiencies

Inactive Lifestyles

Many seniors are vital and active, but this isn’t always the case. Being less active increases susceptibility to illness because of what inactivity can do to the various parts of the body, including joints, bones, muscles, and various organs, such as the heart. In fact, the CDC ranks heart disease as the leading cause of death among adults 65 and older. From daily walking to swimming, biking, gardening, and yoga, there are many enjoyable and beneficial ways seniors can become more active and lower their risk of illness. Even when seniors follow healthy lifestyles, they’re more susceptible to illness simply as a natural result of the aging process. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of in-home care. Waterloo Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.

Lack of Sufficient Sleep

Nearly 50 percent of adults 60 and older report having sleep-related issues, according to the National Institutes of Health. A lack of high-quality sleep can affect the immune system and increase older adults’ susceptibility to illness. “High-quality” sleep refers to uninterrupted sleep that allows the body to naturally heal tissues and rejuvenate cells while in the deeper stages of sleep. Seniors who aren’t sleeping well can enhance their sleep habits by:
  • Sticking to a regular sleep schedule
  • Not drinking soda or anything stimulating prior to bedtime
  • Staying active during the day to reduce daytime napping
  • Seeing if there are medical or medication issues that may be affecting sleep

Malnutrition

Even seniors within a healthy weight range can be affected by malnutrition, or a lack of sufficient beneficial nutrients. Without the right balance of nutrients, an already weakened aging immune system can become even more susceptible to illness, as can an older brain. If your loved one is no longer able to cook healthy foods, check into food delivery services that provide healthy meals for older adults. You could also prepare nutrient-rich meals that can be frozen and easily heated up.  If your loved one needs help shopping for healthy foods and preparing nutritious meals, hiring a professional caregiver can be a wonderful solution. Home care service agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. To hire a dedicated caregiver, call Home Care Assistance at 319-260-2222 today.

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