Health Care Needs After 70 - 2 says “It’s common for older adults, especially women, to leak pee.”  This is called incontinence.  Even though it may be embarrassing, we need to tell our doctor about it.  It won’t be the first time they have heard about it, so no worries there.

Often, incontinence results from health issues, like a weak bladder or pelvic floor muscles.  In older men, other health issues like a weak bladder, or pelvic floor muscles, and an enlarged prostate can lead to leaks.

There are effective treatments that work help such as:

  • Pelvic muscle exercises
  • Biofeedback
  • Bladder training
  • Lifestyle changes

Weaker Bones

As we get older, it becomes more important for us to keep track of our bone health.  Research reveals that 70% of all fractures occur in people age 65 and older.  That’s partly because our bones become and less dense as we age.  Translation: we may get osteopenia (mild bone loss) or osteoporosis (severe bone loss).

There are a couple of reasons why our bones get less dense as we age.  One is that our bodies absorb less calcium from foods.

Additionally, older adults could have low levels of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium.  Women can blame menopause.  Estrogen plays a role in a women’s bone-building process, and estrogen levels decrease after menopause.

To help protect our bones and reduce fracture risks, we need to: 

  • Eat healthy foods.
  • Take calcium and vitamin D supplements.
  • Take steps to prevent falls.
  • Talk with our doctor about bone-building drugs.

Joint Pain From Arthritis

One of the most common diseases in seniors is Osteoarthritis (OA).  That occurs when the cartilage, which is the cushiony tissue between our joints, wears away.  OA causes stiffness, pain, and raises our risk of joint injury.

Unlike other types of chronic pain, there are many OA treatments that can give us significant pain relief.  These include:

  • Acetaminophen
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Corticosteroids
  • Hyaluronic acid shots
  • Some antidepressants
  • Exercise (strength, stretching, balance, and cardio)
  • Weight loss
  • Assistive devices, like braces or shoe inserts
  • Assistive devices, such as braces or shoe inserts

In severe cases of hip and knee OA, joint replacement surgery may also help relieve pain

Other Health Care Needs After 70

Some of the health care needs we have after 70 are the same we had in our younger years.  It’s just that they take on a new level of importance than they did in our younger years.  Here are four of many possible examples:

Eye health.  We need to make a priority of our eye exams. Glaucoma is a treatable disease the happens when fluid builds up in the front part of our eyes.  It is the primary cause of blindness in people over 60. 

Hearing.  We need to get our hearing checked every 3 years after we turn 50.  About a third of adults between 61 and 70 have some sort of hearing loss and more than 80% of those 85 and above have hearing loss.  Simply getting older can lead to loss of hearing, but so can certain medications and long-term exposure to excessive noise.

Pneumonia and flu shots.  Some may wish to consider getting an annual flu shot.  Aging can make us more susceptible to serious flu complications than younger healthy people.  Some seniors may also wish to consider getting a pneumonia shot or pneumococcal vaccination which may protect us from pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections.

Mental health.  Events like the death of a loved one or retirement can be difficult when we are older.  It’s normal to grieve.

It is not so normal is long-lasting grief that prevents us from sleeping or leading our daily life.  There are signs of depression, which is a medical issue.  We may need treatment to help us manage our grief.

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