Old age... Old age consists of ages nearing or surpassing the average life span of human beings, and thus the end of the human life cycle. Euphemisms and terms for older people include seniors or elderly. In most Western societies, everybody is declared to be "old" when they reach the ages of 65-70. Old age cannot be defined exactly because it does not have the same meaning in all societies. In many parts of the world, people are considered old because of certain changes in their activities or social roles. For example, people may be considered old when they become grandparents or when they begin to do less or different work. In the United States and Europe, people are often considered old if they have lived a certain number of years.
Life expectancy... Various factors contribute to an individual's longevity. Significant factors in life expectancy include gender, genetics, access to health care, hygiene, diet, exercise, lifestyle, and crime rates. The longevity of today’s population is increasing. The average American could expect to live to 77.7 years in 2005, compared to 77.4 years in 2002. Life expectancy in the United States is less than that in Australia, Italy, France, Germany, the UK, Japan, and Spain (the highest at 82.31 years in 2005), but more than the worldwide average of 65.82 years. Females outlive males in the U.S. by an average of 5 years. Ages can also be divided by decade: Denarian: someone between 10 and 19 years of age; Vicenarian: someone between 20 and 29 years of age; Tricenarian: someone between 30 and 39 years of age; Quadragenarian: someone between 40 and 49 years of age; Quinquagenarian: someone between 50 and 59 years of age; Sexagenarian: someone between 60 and 69 years of age; Septuagenarian: someone between 70 and 79 years of age; Octogenarian: someone between 80 and 89 years of age; Nonagenarian: someone between 90 and 99 years of age; Centenarian: someone between 100 and 109 years of age; and Supercentenarian: someone over 110 years of age
Retirement... Retirement is the point where a person stops employment completely. A person may also semi-retire and keep some sort of job, although usually out of choice rather than necessity. Retirement usually happens upon reaching a determined age, when physical conditions don't allow the person to work any more (by illness or accident), or for personal choice (usually in the presence of an adequate pension or personal savings). A critical step in retirement is adjusting to the changes it brings. It means not just accepting and adapting to change, but creating a new lifestyle that is productive and emotionally rewarding. Retirees may lose their work-related identity, and the loss of their relationship network.
Social security... Social Security, in the United States, currently refers to the Federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program. Social Security is funded through dedicated payroll taxes called FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act). The four main benefits for an individual are benefits for retirement, disability, survivorship, and death. The money paid into the system by people currently in the work force is being used to pay for current retirees and qualified recipients. If the number of recipients exceeds the number of current wage earners…the system may be in jeopardy. Longer life expectancies pose concern. Throughout a worker's career, the Social Security Administration keeps track of an individual’s lifetime earnings via a personal identifier…the social security number. The amount of the monthly benefit to which the worker is entitled depends upon that earnings record and upon the age at which the retiree chooses to begin receiving benefits.
Medicaid is a joint and voluntary program between the federal government and the states, with the mission to provide health insurance coverage to the nation’s poor, disabled and the impoverished elderly people. The federal government sets minimum eligibility standards and coverage requirements for Medicaid, but not all states offer the same benefits. Medicare and Medicaid... Medicare is a Health Insurance Program for people 65 years of age and older (and some disabled of any age). Medicare has several parts: Part A - Hospital Insurance - Most people do not pay for this if they paid medicare taxes while working (pays for inpatient hospitalization, skilled nursing care, hospice and some home health care) Part B - Medical Insurance - Most people pay monthly for this (pays for doctors' services, outpatient hospital care, physical and occupational therapy, and some home health care. Part C – Medicare Advantage - Expanded health care plan that some people choose to pay for. Part D – Prescription Drug Coverage- Most people pay monthly for the plan that meets their individual needs.
Social and emotional health... Erik Erikson theorized the 8 stages of psycho-social development. He called the last stage “Integrity vs. Despair.” As we grow older and become senior citizens, we tend to slow down our productivity, and explore life as a retired person. It is during this time that we contemplate our accomplishments if we see ourselves as leading a successful life,and are able to develop integrity…the quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness; contentment. If we see our lives as unproductive, feel guilt about our pasts, or feel that we did not accomplish our life goals, we become dissatisfied with life and develop despair, often leading to depression and hopelessness. Feeling very bad or down – almost all the time – for extended periods or when there are no obvious reasons for being sad is not normal. This is depression. Thinking about old age can conjure up our worst fears: being trapped in a bed or wheelchair, being a burden, losing our ability to think and reason — being alone.
Unlike younger people who may attempt suicide as a “cry for help”, elderly people who attempt suicide usually succeed. They use firearms, overdoses, and suffocation, and tend not to leave notes. Those who do leave notes often state such reasons as despair, the desire to escape suffering from physical ailments, economic and financial problems, loneliness, isolation, and a fear of burdening family members. Some may fear death, be frustrated with memory loss, abuse drugs or alcohol, or be frustrated with changes such as moving or revocation of driving privileges. Many elderly people, used to contributing to the world, wrestle with feelings of having no purpose. Over 80% of the victims have visited a health care professional within one month prior to their death. Some elderly individuals seek assistance from others to help complete the suicide. This is called “euthanasia” or mercy killing. Every day in the United States, 17 adults over the age of 65 commit suicide — the highest suicide rate of any demographic group. The highest risk factors are being widowed or divorced, being ill, and being a man (75% of all victims).
As we age, we suffer losses — of spouses, loved ones, friends, our freedoms, etc. It's natural to grieve these losses. Consider the 90-95 year old. They have probably survived their parents, their siblings, their spouse, all or nearly all of their friends, and sometimes even their children.
Ageing skin... The skin consists of three main layers: the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue. Lentigo (lĕn-tī'gō) or liver spots are flat brown spots on the skin, most noticeably on the hands and face. Also known as age spots, they are determined by a combination of skin type, sun exposure, and age. During the ageing process the melanin pigment of the epidermis tends to “clump”. This makes it more difficult for the older person to tan their skin, and causes the age spots. As skin ages, it becomes thinner and more easily damaged. Part of this effect may be the result of chronic solar radiation rather than just chronological age. Due to changes in structure of the skin, wounds occurring during old age require a longer period of time for healing. Various factors such as changing hormone levels, nutritional deficiencies, and medications frequently taken by the elderly may also contribute to more lengthy healing time.
A skin tag is a common but harmless skin growth involving the epidermis and dermis, common found in those that are ageing. Skin tags are frequently found on the eyelids, neck, chest, armpits, and groin. Treatments include freezing, tying off with a thread or suture, or cutting off. The dermis is the layer of the skin responsible for the skin's structural integrity. The two proteins… elastin – which gives the skin elasticity, and collagen – which gives the skin its strength, form a tight, fibrous mesh within the dermis. As those proteins decrease with age, wrinkles develop. Sebacious glands, located around hair follicles in the dermis, produce sebum (sē'bəm) , an oily protective substance that lubricates and waterproofs the skin and hair. During ageing, levels of sebum decrease. This is called xerosis (zĭ-rō'sĭs), the normal hardening and drying of ageing skin.
Subcutaneous tissue is the innermost layer of the skin located under the dermis and consisting mainly of fat. Subcutaneous fat acts as a shock absorber and heat insulator, protecting underlying tissues from cold and mechanical trauma. Older people lose some of this fat. They may be extra-cold in the winter and need a sweater in the summer. They bruise easily. Elderly people perspire less. This makes it harder to stay cool in high temperatures, putting them at a higher risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke: Heatstroke - a life-threatening illness; body temperature may rise above 106°F in minutes; symptoms include dry skin, rapid, strong pulse and dizziness Heat exhaustion - precedes heatstroke; symptoms include heavy sweating, rapid breathing and a fast, weak pulse
Risk factors for skin cancer: people who spend a lot of time in the sun or have been sunburned; have light-colored skin, hair and eyes; have a family member with skin cancer; are over age 50 You have a 40 percent to 50 percent chance of getting skin cancer at least once by the time you reach 65. There are several types of skin cancer, the worst of which is a melanoma. The ABCDs of diagnosing melanoma skin cancer are: Asymmetry: One half doesn't match the appearance of the other half. Border irregularity: The edges are ragged, notched, or blurred. Color: The color is not uniform. Shades of tan, brown, and black are present. Dashes of red, white, and blue add to a mottled appearance. Diameter: The size of the mole is greater than 6 mm (0.2 in.), about the size of a pencil eraser. Any growth of a mole should be evaluated.
Elderly people sometimes become very inactive. When they do not or cannot move all or part of their body, there is no relief of pressure points where their body contacts the bed or chair they are on. Pressure sores, also known as bed sores, decubitus (dĭ-kyū'bĭ-təs) ulcers, or pressure ulcers, may develop. Sores can be prevented by keeping skin clean and dry, changing position every two hours, and/or using pillows and products that relieve pressure. Bed sores are ranked in four stages of severity. Stage Iis the most superficial, indicated by redness that does not subside after pressure is relieved. Stage IV is the deepest, extending into the muscle or bone. Stage IV • Sores can develop for 3 reasons: • Pressure - compression of tissues caused by force of bone against a surface • Shear force – the skin stays in place but muscles deeper within slide down with gravity • Friction – rubbing of skin against surfaces
Gray hair... A change in hair color typically occurs naturally as people age, usually turning their hair from its natural color to gray and then to white. More than 40 percent of Americans have some gray hair by their fortieth birthday. The age at which graying begins seems to be almost entirely based on genetics. The stem cells at the base of hair follicles are responsible for producing melanocytes, the cells that produce and store pigment in hair and skin. The death of the melanocyte stem cells causes the onset of graying, as new hairs grow in without pigment. The appearance of gray hair may affect the self-esteem of the individual. If it presents a problem, a simple solution is to use hair dye to disguise the amount of gray in their hair.
Hair grows from its follicle at an average rate of about 1/2 inch per month. Each hair grows for 2 to 6 years, then rests, and then falls out. A new hair soon begins growing in its place. The average person naturally loses approximately 100 hairs a day, out of 100,000. Baldness occurs when hair falls out but new hair does not grow in its place, rather from excessive hair loss. Hair loss... The correct term for balding is “alopecia”. Hair loss can be attributed to male/female-pattern baldness, temporary shedding of hair, breaking of hair (from such things as styling treatments and twisting or pulling of hair), patchy areas of total hair loss due to an immune disorder, medications, radiation or chemo-therapy, ringworm, stress, hormonal changes (including childbirth or birth control pills) or certain skin diseases. Female-pattern baldness is a pattern of hair loss caused by hormones, aging and genetics. Unlike male-pattern baldness, female-pattern baldness is an over-all thinning which maintains the normal hairline.
About 25% of men begin to bald by the time they are 30 years old, and about two-thirds are either bald or have a balding pattern by age 60. Typical male-pattern baldness involves a receding hairline and thinning around the crown with eventual bald spots. In addition to genes, it seems to require the presence of the male hormone testosterone. Men who do not produce testosterone (because of genetic abnormalities or castration) do not develop this pattern of baldness. Hair loss affects self-esteem in some people. The expensive topical mediation minoxidil for men and women (Rogaine) and the oral pill finasteride (Propecia, Proscar) for men can slow or stop hair loss in 20-25% of people if used or taken daily… forever.
Hearing loss... Presbycusis (prĕz'bĭ-kyū'sĭs), or age-related hearing loss, is the cumulative effect of aging on hearing. One in three people older than 60 and half of all people older than 85 have significant hearing loss. Over the years, sounds and noise can damage the hair cells of the inner ears. Also, the walls of the auditory canals thin, and the eardrums thicken. Seniors may have difficulty hearing high frequencies. Some people find it difficult to follow a conversation in a crowded room, as background noise is a problem. Changes in the inner ear or in the nerves attached to it, earwax buildup, heredity, history of untreated infections, dietary habits, exposure to repeated loud noise, high blood pressure, taking certain drugs such as aspirin, or various diseases such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) or diabetes can all affect your hearing. A hearing aid is a device used to help hard-of-hearing people. They come in a wide variety of sizes, styles, types of technology, and levels of visibility.
Bladder and bowel control... Incontinence is the loss of normal control of the bowel or bladder, involving the involuntary voiding of urine, gas, or feces. About 30 percent of people age 65 and older experience urinary incontinence, which can be caused by a number of health problems, such as obesity, frequent constipation, chronic cough, some types of cancer, and/or medications. The 3 types of bladder incontinence are overflow, stress, and urge. Women are more likely than men to have incontinence. Pelvic floor muscles may have become weakened through childbirth, menopause, or heavy exercises. As estrogen levels decline with age, the tissue lining the urethra becomes thinner. In older men, incontinence is sometimes caused by an enlarged prostate, which can block the urethra. This makes it difficult to empty your bladder and can cause small amounts of urine to leak.
Swallowing and the peristaltic motions that automatically move digested food through your intestines slow down as you get older. The amount of surface area within your intestines diminishes slightly. The flow of secretions from your stomach, liver, pancreas and small intestine may decrease. These changes may cause constipation. Rectal and anal sphincter muscle changes and reduced elasticity of the rectal wall may sometimes lead to fecal incontinence. Incontinence is not an inevitable part of the aging process. According to the U.S. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, 86 percent of incontinent individuals who seek medical treatment realize improvements or complete restoration of continence, through pelvic floor exercises, medications, lifestyle changes, weight loss, or surgery. Treatment for constipation includes increased exercise, dietary changes such as increasing fluids and fiber, or medications such as stool softeners or laxatives. Absorbent products are available on the market for those experiencing bladder or bowel incontinence…from pads, to underwear, to adult diapers.
Bones and joints... Your bones reach their maximum mass between ages 25 and 35. As you age, your bones shrink in size and density. One consequence is that you might become shorter. Gradual loss of density weakens your bones and makes them more susceptible to fracture, called “osteoporosis”. Muscles, tendons and joints generally lose some strength and flexibility as you age. Arthritis is a group of conditions where there is damage caused to the joints of the body. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in people over the age of 55. There are many forms of arthritis, each of which has a different cause, including rheumatoid and septic arthritis, gout, osteoarthritis (the most common), etc. Most kinds of arthritis cause pain and swelling in your joints, which over time will cause severe damage. The cartilage is the part of the joint that cushions the ends of the bones and allows easy movement of joints. The breakdown of cartilage causes the bones to rub against each other, causing stiffness, pain and loss of movement in the joint. 1 in every 7 people will be afflicted with arthritis in their lifetime.
Osteoporosis is that deterioration of bone density that started before or during middle age. By the age of 65, the elderly are dealing with the results. Fractures due to osteoporosis can be either in the form of cracking (as in a hip fracture), or collapsing (as in a compression fracture of the vertebrae of the spine). 32% of women and 17% of men living to age 80 will have a hip fracture. The spine, hips, and wrists are common areas of osteoporosis-related bone fractures, they can occur in almost any skeletal bone area. Fragility fractures of ribs are also common in men. Fractures of the spinal vertebrae can cause severe "band-like" pain that radiates around from the back to the side of the body. Over the years, repeated spine fractures can cause chronic lower back pain as well as loss of height or curving of the spine, which gives the individual a hunched-back appearance often called a "dowager hump." Skeletal changes and loss of muscle tone can change outward appearances.
Foot conditions... A bunion is an abnormal, bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe, sometimes painful. It is a genetic deformity that may require surgery. A hammertoe is a toe deformity of the second, third, or fourth toe in which your toe becomes curled up like a claw. It is caused by poor fitting shoes or diseases such a arthritis or diabetes. Corns are a small callus with a hard center surrounded by inflamed skin. Corns usually develop on parts of your feet that don't bear weight, such as the tops and sides of your toes. Corns can be painful when pushed or may cause a dull ache. They are caused by pressure and/or friction. Wear shoes that fit well or use protective coverings such as socks or foot pads. Open sores on the feet are the slowest to heal as you age. Use care in self-treating foot conditions. As these foot conditions occur over time, they are often more prevalent in the elderly. Bunion Hammertoe Corn
Height and weight... Generally, height increases until the late forties and then decreases about two inches by age 80. The reasons for height loss include: changes in posture and in the growth of vertebrae, a forward bending of the spine ,compression of the discs between the vertebrae, increased curvature of the hips and knees, decreased joint space in the trunk and extremities, joint changes in the feet, and flattening of the arches. Normally, nutritional requirements do not change with age; but changes in lifestyle, eating habits, disease, and income will directly affect nutrition and health. Even though nutritional requirements do not change, caloric requirements do. As a person ages, maintaining a healthy weight, or losing weight if they’re overweight, may be more difficult. Metabolism generally slows, meaning that the body burns fewer calories. Calories that were once used to meet daily energy needs instead are stored as fat. For each decade after 50, the caloric requirements are reduced by 10%. This rate is associated with changes in metabolic rates, body mass, activity levels, and exercise tolerance.
Digestive system changes... Diverticulosis, small protruding sacs of the inner lining of the intestine, is very common, being found in more than half of Americans over age 60. Only a small percentage of these people will develop the complication of diverticulitis, when the sacs become inflamed. Risk factors for diverticulosis may include older age or a low-fiber diet. Symptoms include abdominal pain, fever, chills, nausea, and vomiting. Secretion of saliva and digestive enzymes decreases, causing a decrease in overall digestive abilities. Lesser secretions also impair the absorption of vitamins, particularly B12, and such minerals as iron and calcium. A weakened gag reflex also increases the risk of aspiration. A loss of coordination of muscle contractions of the esophagus may cause difficulty with swallowing, reflux, or bouts of heartburn. Hiatal hernias, protrusions through a gap in the diaphragm muscle of the lower esophagus and upper part of the stomach, are extremely common in the elderly, as muscles weaken.
The sense of smell and tastebud sensitivity to "salty" and "sweet" decreases, which may reduce appetite. Straining to eliminate feces puts a strain on the less-resilient walls of blood vessels. The walls of those vessels collapse, causing hemorrhoids. These may be treated with medications or surgery. Gallbladder bile has an increased cholesterol content. This leads to gallstones, which are common in people aged over 70 years. Around half may be asymptomatic but in others the stones may block the bile duct and affect its functioning, causing pain and jaundice. As with other organs, the liver also shrinks during aging, thereby receiving a smaller supply of blood. The rate of detoxification by the liver declines as well, thus prolonging the effects of drugs, which then predisposes the elderly to drug overdose.
Vision loss... With age, the eyes lose ability to focus, are less able to produce tears, the pupil decreases in size, the retinas thin, and the lenses gradually turn yellow and become less clear. The colored portions of the eyes (irises) stiffen, making the pupils less responsive. This can make it more difficult to adapt to different levels of light. Other changes to the lenses can make the elderly sensitive to glare, which presents a problem when driving at night. As a person ages, the vitreous gel that fills the eye cavity liquifies to form debris within the eye. It may occur more frequently in near-sighted people or those who have undergone eye surgery. Although “floaters” of this debris may be alarming, they are usually just part of the normal aging process.
Cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration are the most common problems of ageing eyes that can lead to total vision loss. Macular degeneration is the progressive deterioration of a critical region of the retina called the macula… responsible for central vision. Peripheral vision is not affected. Cataracts are a cloudiness or opacity in the normally transparent lens of the eye. This cloudiness can cause a decrease in vision and may lead to eventual blindness. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases characterized by damage to the optic nerve usually due to excessively high intraocular pressure.This increased pressure within the eye, if untreated, can lead to optic nerve damage.
Tooth loss... How teeth and gums respond to age depends on how well they’ve been cared for over the years. Even with good brushing and flossing, the mouth feels drier and gums may have pulled back (receded). Teeth may darken slightly and become more brittle and easier to break. Most adults can keep their natural teeth all of their lives. But with less saliva to wash away bacteria, teeth and gums become slightly more vulnerable to decay and infection. If the person has lost most or all of their natural teeth, they might use dentures or dental implants as a replacement. Some older adults experience xer·o·sto·mi·a (zîr'ə-stō'mē-ə) or dry mouth , which can lead to tooth decay and infection. Dry mouth can also make speaking, swallowing and tasting difficult. Oral cancer is more common among older adults.
Gum disease... Normal, healthy gumsHealthy gums and bone anchor teeth firmly in place. Periodontal diseaseIf unremoved, plaque hardens into calculus (tartar). As plaque and calculus build up, the gums begin to recede (pull away) from the teeth, and pockets form between the teeth and gums. Cavities may occur on the exposed root. This is almost exclusively a disease of the older person. Advanced periodontal disease The gums recede farther, destroying more bone and the periodontal ligament. Age-related bone also changes so that the tooth roots become exposed and the teeth loosened. Teeth, even healthy teeth, may become loose and need to be extracted.
Sexual interests last a lifetime. With age, sexual needs, patterns, and performance may change due to emotional or physical factors or partner availability. Sexuality... Sexual dysfunction is difficulty during any stage of the sexual act that prevents the individual or couple from enjoying sexual activity, including desire, arousal, orgasm, and resolution. The female vagina tends to shrink and narrow, and the walls become less elastic; vaginal dryness is a problem… all of which can make sex painful. Physical factors that may decrease sexual functioning include alcohol or drugs, injuries to the back, problems with an enlarged prostate gland, problems with blood supply, nerve damage, or disease, failure of various organ systems, hormone deficiencies, endocrine disorders, or some birth defects. There may be pharmaceutical remedies for some or all of these problems. Erectile dysfunction becomes more common in men as they age… 25% of 50 year olds and 50% of 75 year olds have difficulty having or keeping an erection about one in every four times they have sex. In others, it may take longer to get an erection, and it may not be as firm as it used to be.
Sleep patterns... Even in healthy older people, sleep becomes more fragile. It becomes harder to settle into sleep, and more awakenings occur throughout the night. Sleep efficiency (the time spent asleep compared to time in bed), falls from its high values in 95-98% in youth to 70-80% in older age. Also, the amount of light sleep increases with age, and the amount of deep sleep is reduced. Sleep is spread out throughout the day rather than concentrated during nighttime hours. Sounds, and other interruptions such as muscle and joint pain or trips to the bathroom are more likely to awaken the elderly. Sleep apnea refers to breathing problems during sleep, and is estimated to affect 1 out of every 4 people over the age of 60. About half of all people aged 65 or over experience twitching in the legs and sometimes the arms during the night. When these twitches and jerks are prominent and frequent, the condition is called periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD). It is called “restless leg syndrome” if it occurs while the person is awake.
Blood pressure and heart disease... Arteriosclerosis (är-tîr'ē-ō-sklə-rō'sĭs) is a chronic disease (a common form of which is called atherosclerosis and involves the aorta and it’s branches) in which thickening, hardening, and loss of elasticity of the arterial walls result in impaired blood circulation. The natural loss of elasticity, in combination with the plaque that forms on the interior lining of the arteries and causes blockage, makes your arteries stiffer and causes your heart to work even harder to pump blood through them. This can lead to high blood pressure. Hypertension is high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of arteries as it flows through them. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the body's tissues. Blood pressure is highest when the heart beats to push blood out into the arteries…measured as systolic pressure. When the heart relaxes to fill with blood again, the pressure is at its lowest point...measured as diastolic pressure. If a person's systolic pressure is 120 and diastolic pressure is 80, it is written as 120/80 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury). The American Heart Association considers blood pressure less than 140 over 90 is normal for adults.
Hypertension is a major health problem, especially because it has no symptoms. More than half of all Americans over the age of 65 have hypertension. It is also more common in African-Americans and men. If left untreated, hypertension can lead to heart attack, stroke, enlarged heart, and/or kidney damage. A heart attack is the death of, or damage to, part of the heart muscle because the supply of blood to the heart muscle is severely reduced or stopped. Most heart attacks are caused by blood clots that form on atherosclerotic plaque. Also called myocardial infarctions (MIs), heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States. Highest risk factors include obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, heredity, being male, stress, being over the age of 65, having high blood pressure, having diabetes, and a lack of physical exercise. 40% of the victims may experience no symptoms before the heart attack. Warning signs include: uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing, or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and returns; pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck, or arms; chest discomfort accompanied by lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea, or shortness of breath.
A stroke is the sudden death of brain cells in a localized area due to inadequate blood flow. This may be caused by blockage or rupture of an artery. Depending on the region of the brain affected, a stroke may cause paralysis, speech impairment, loss of memory and reasoning ability, coma, or death. Risk factors for stroke are similar to those of heart attacks, Warning signs include: blurring or decreased vision in one or both eyes; severe headache; weakness, numbness, or paralysis of the face, arm, or leg, usually confined to one side of the body; dizziness or loss of balance or coordination.
Breast cancer affects one in eight women during their lives, killing more women in the United States than any cancer except lung cancer. Very few men, about 1,300 per year in this country, are diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer... Symptoms of breast cancer may include a lump in the breast, a change in size or shape of the breast or discharge from a nipple. Risk factors: Age, family history or genes (the two genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 greatly increase the risk), beginning periods before age 12, going through menopause after age 55, being overweight, using hormone replacement therapy, taking birth control pills, drinking alcohol, not having children, having your first child after age 35, smoking, or having dense breasts. About 60% of breast cancers occur in women older than 60. Risk is greatest after age 75.A woman's chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer is: from age 30 through age 39 . . . . . .1 out of 233 women from age 40 through age 49 . . . . . .1 out of 69 women from age 50 through age 59 . . . . . .1 out of 38 women from age 60 through age 69 . . . . . .1 out of 27 women
Detection: Monthly self-breast exams; a yearly mammogram after the age of 40 in which each breast is placed between two plastic plates to flatten it and an X-ray is taken. This exam can detect breast cancer long before it can be determined in other ways. Treatment may consist of radiation, mastectomy, chemotherapy and/or hormone therapy. A mastectomy is surgery to remove a breast. There are four main types: Total mastectomy - removal of breast tissue and nipple Modified radical mastectomy - removal of the breast, most of the lymph nodes under the arm and often the lining over the chest muscles Lumpectomy - removal of a breast tumor and a small amount of surrounding tissue, usually including most of the underarm lymph nodes Radical mastectomy - the removal of the breast, lymph nodes and chest muscles. This is no longer common.
The prostate is the gland below a man's bladder that produces fluid for semen. Prostate cancer is the third most common cause of death from cancer in men of all ages. It is rare in men younger than 40; about 8 out of 10 are over the age of 65. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or control of hormones that affect the cancer. Prostate cancer... Symptoms of prostate cancer include an enlarged gland, which in turn may cause problems passing urine, such as pain; difficulty starting or stopping the stream of urine, or dribbling; low back pain; pain with ejaculation
The risk (predisposing) factors for prostate cancer include advancing age, genetics (heredity), hormonal influences, and such environmental factors as toxins, smoking, diet, chemicals, and industrial products. The chances of developing prostate cancer increase with age. Prostate cancers generally grow more slowly than most other cancers. Localized prostate cancers found at an early stage can take years to metastasize(spread). This may influence the type of treatment prescribed, including the idea of “watchful waiting”…to see what happens over time. Prostate cancer is usually detected first by a digital rectal exam. The doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to examine the prostate, which is next to the rectum. If the doctor finds any abnormalities in the texture, shape or size of your gland, more tests may be needed.
Dementia, once called senility, is a loss of mental ability severe enough to interfere with normal activities of daily living, lasting more than six months, not present since birth, and not associated with a loss or alteration of consciousness. It is usually caused by degeneration in the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain responsible for thoughts, memories, actions and personality. Dementia... While most people with dementia are elderly, it is not an inevitable part of ageing. Instead, dementia is caused by specific brain diseases and is linked to heredity. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common cause, followed by vascular causes (strokes), Parkinson’s Disease, Pick’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, brain injury, brain tumor, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease,and others. Symptoms include: progressive memory losses, language and comprehension difficulties, poor judgment, restlessness, disorientation, personality changes, paranoia, hallucinations, and insomnia. Short-term memory loss is common; the victim may even have better long term memory. Care for a person with dementia can be difficult and complex. Long-term institutional care may be needed for the person with dementia, as profound cognitive losses often precede death by a number of years.
Home health care... Personal and home health care aides provide light housekeeping and routine personal care services. They clean clients’ houses, do laundry, and change bed linens. Aides may plan meals (including special diets), shop for food, and cook. Aides also may help clients get out of bed, bathe, dress, and groom. Some accompany clients to doctors’ appointments or on other errands. Certified nursing assistants, registered nurses, and social workers within the home health care system may provide routine blood pressure checks and assistance in taking medications. The average cost of home health care in Nebraska in 2006 was $18.55 per hour. The availability of home health care allows the elderly to continue living in their own homes, even when they need some assistance.
Assisted living facilities... Assisted living is for adults who need help with everyday tasks. They may need help with dressing, bathing, eating, taking medications, or using the bathroom, but they don't need full-time nursing care. Residents live in their own room or apartment within a building and have some or all of their meals together. Social and recreational activities are usually provided. Some assisted living facilities are part of retirement communities. Others are near nursing homes, so a person can move easily if needs change. The average cost of assisted living facility care in Nebraska in 2006 was $90 per day. Medicare/Medicaid does not pay the costs of assisted living in Nebraska.
Nursing homes... A nursing home or skilled nursing facility, also known as a rest home, is a type of residence for people who require constant nursing care and have significant deficiencies with activities of daily living. Residents include the elderly and younger adults with physical disabilities. Adults may stay in a skilled nursing facility to receive physical, occupational, and other rehabilitative therapies following an accident, illness, or surgery. Staff includes licensed and registered nurses. The average cost of nursing home care in Nebraska in 2006 was $131 per day. Medicare does help cover the cost of skilled nursing home care.
Long term care insurance... Long-term care insurance is an insurance product sold in the United States. It helps provide for the cost of long-term care beyond a predetermined period (waiting period). Long-term care insurance covers care generally not covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid…. such as home health care, assisted living care, adult daycare, respite care, hospice care, or nursing home care in some instances. Individuals who require long-term care are generally not sick in the traditional sense, but instead, are unable to perform the basic activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing, eating, toileting, getting in and out of a bed or chair, and walking. Cost of this insurance increases with age, and depends on the amount of daily benefit paid, and the length of the waiting period before coverage begins. It is only available to persons still in good health. As an individual ages, there is an increased risk of needing long-term care. It must be purchased prior to “need” or conditions that will require it. Long-term care insurance can also help pay expenses for post-illness or post-surgical care or for an individual who suffers from some forms of dementia.
AARP, formerly the American Association of Retired Persons, is a United States-based non-government special interest group. It is "a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people age 50 and over ... dedicated to enhancing quality of life for all as we age," which "provides a wide range of unique benefits, special products, and services for our members." AARP operates as an advocate for its members, one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the United States, and also sells insurance, investment funds and other financial products. Monthly magazine AARP claims over 38 million members, making it one of the largest membership organizations for people age 50 and over in the United States. Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, a retired high school principal, founded AARP in 1958. AARP evolved from the National Retired Teachers Association , which Andrus had established in 1947 to promote her philosophy of productive aging.
MATURE ADULTHOOD The End