Technology and medical advances have created longer lifespans and allowed people to live longer with chronic diseases. People born in the Baby Boomer generation are benefactors of those advances. As they grow older and live longer, the
United States will see the number of Americans 65 or older double in the next 20 years. At that time, the senior population is expected to reach 72 million people.
Issues surrounding health care are becoming more prominent in the United States as the population ages. A lot more people will be taking from the country’s health care resources. Home care may be a feasible way to cut down hospital stays and a less expensive way for people to continue their medical treatment.
As the number of seniors is expected to skyrocket, it will become increasingly important for people to educate themselves about the medications and medical devices they use.
Many Medications Have Dangerous Side Effects
Older Americans are affected by a variety of health problems, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. Many of these conditions are controlled with prescription medication.
Navigating the landscape of these medications is difficult. While many drugs do help people manage their chronic diseases, they may also have side effects.
Diabetes affects nearly 11 million seniors. There are a slew of drugs on the market to control type 2 diabetes. Many of them are successful in controlling diabetes, but a significant number of people have reported dangerous side effects.
Popular diabetes drugs like Januvia, Byetta and Victoza have been linked to cases of pancreatitis, thyroid disease and even pancreatic cancer.
Caregivers know that keeping up with all of this information is easier said than done. Because many people with chronic illnesses and conditions tend to have more than one ailment, it is important to keep track of all of the medications and make sure heath care providers are aware of them too.
Dangerous Devices Can Do Harm
Medical devices are also an important part of senior health care.
Longer lifespans, combined with the effects of arthritis and lots of wear and tear, have increased the need for knee and hip replacements. Joint replacement is intended to ease pain and restore mobility.
People who receive a new joint have to go to physical therapy in order to learn how to use their implant and strengthen the surrounding muscles. Caregivers can play a major role in the recovery process by helping a person do daily tasks, taking them to doctor appointments and watching out for potential side effects – like dislocation, infection and blood clotting.
Hip implants that are made out of all-metal materials can cause injury in patients by failing prematurely or causing side effects like metal poisoning.
Caregivers should look out if issues like pain or stiffness last beyond their usual healing periods. If they notice the patient having ongoing problems, it may be the result of a defective device and the patient should feel free to explore avenues of compensation for having a faulty device.
Caregivers should speak with the surgeon to get helpful tips on how to make life easier for a person with a new knee or hip. One of the main things caregivers can do is make sure the home environment is as comfortable as possible. Once the patient starts going to physical therapy, the surgeons and the therapists will update caregivers on their roles.
In time, the pain should be expected to go away and the patient should regain a lot of their mobility and independence.