Feelings of grief, loneliness and financial insecurity are often considered parts of the normal aging process.
Depression involves a lot more than just feeling blue, however. According to the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation or GMHF, if left untreated, severe or clinical depression may seriously impact a person’s physical and mental well-being. Reported incidences of depression among adults aged 65 and above exceed 6.5 million. Unfortunately, only 10 percent seek medical treatment or psychological support.
As part of the normal aging process, many people need assistance with specific types of care. This might mean help with bathing, dressing, preparing meals and accessing transportation. It might also include finding medical services, social orientation and psychological support. A geriatric care manager or GCM is a human service professional who assists individual older adults in meeting their care needs.
Many older adults hire GCMs to do the following:
Question: Why does my doctor want me to bring all my medications to my scheduled wellness exam.
Answer: By reviewing all your medications – both prescription and over-the-counter drugs – your doctor can better work with you in preparing your personal health plan.
Because the risks of developing eye diseases often increase as we age, it is very important that everyone aged 60 and above has a yearly eye exam with either an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
An optometrist is licensed to examine, diagnose and treat common eye conditions and diseases, and prescribe proper glasses and contact lenses. An ophthalmologist is a physician who specializes in eye and vision care, as well as extensive medical and surgical treatments should their needs arise.
Every year, between 5 and 20 percent of people in the U.S. come down with the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized from complications, and flu-related deaths average 23,500 each year. More than half of such hospitalizations involve people age 65 and older. Keeping that in mind, there is no question that as soon as new vaccines become available, it’s time to get on board!
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, one-third of people aged 60 and above have problems hearing. Certain sounds come through well; others not so well, and others not at all. Few age-related hearing problems can be completely cured, but innovative new tools are available.
Many people fear that older adults who start to be very confused might have dementia – a slow, progressive decline in one’s ability to think. Besides confusion, dementia symptoms often include short-term memory loss and an inability or refusal to communicate with others. Fortunately, with proper medical diagnoses and treatments, certain dementia-like symptoms can be stopped, and their impacts reversed.
Examples of reversible dementia include:
Question: Am I at greater risk of becoming diabetic just because I'm 65?
Answer: According to the American Geriatric Society, diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases related to aging. More than 40 percent of all diabetics in the U.S. are aged 65 and above, and this current percentage is expected to increase.