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Senior citizens have a variety of concerns when it comes to health and well-being. As people grow older, many health problems become more likely to occur, including problems that affect the body and mind. And though some of these problems are unavoidable, becoming a senior citizen does not doom someone to a life of health problems. A number of steps can be taken to help preserve good health well into the golden years.

Common Senior Citizen Health Problems

As adults grow older, their risk for a number of chronic health problems begins to rise. Heart disease, diabetes and cancer are all conditions that become increasingly likely as people age. Other problems related to aging include the weakening of the bones known as osteoporosis, as well as hearing and vision problems. Injuries caused by falls also increase, sometimes as a result of osteoporosis but also because of balance problems that are more common in older people.

Mental health problems also become more prevalent as people grow older. Perhaps the most well-known is Alzheimer’s disease, a condition that causes declining mental function and other debilitating behaviors in older adults. In addition, a common but under-treated mental health condition in senior citizens is depression. Often, older adults develop depression in concurrence with another debilitating health condition like heart disease or cancer.

Preventing Health Problems in Senior Citizens

People can take a number of steps to preserve good health as they age, including actions taken earlier in life but also those that become everyday practice when older. Research suggests that maintaining a healthy weight is critically important to reduce the risk for such chronic health problems as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis, among others. This can be accomplished through eating a healthy diet and regular exercise. Other steps that can help with good health as people age include maintaining good sleep patterns, abstaining from smoking and staying socially active with friends and family and involved in the community.

SOURCES: U.S. National Library of Medicine; U.S. National Institute of Mental Health; U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

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