Suzanne Price, Clinical Specialist for The Arbor Company, joins us to discuss the most common health concerns for seniors. Suzanne simplifies what symptoms are cause for concern and what steps should be taken to identify issues. 

Video Transcript

Hello, everyone, and welcome into Senior Living LIVE! My name is Melissa. Thanks so much for being with us. In today's episode, we're discussing some of the most common health issues for seniors and symptoms, you might wanna keep an eye on, to help prevent some of these issues for you or your loved one in the future. Suzanne Price with the Arbor Company joins me here today to help us break down some of these, more common issues. Suzanne great to see you. Our list certainly isn't a a total list, which would be several pages long of all the issues, you could face.

In your senior years, but we are sticking to the most common issues that seniors do face today, and we are so fortunate that you could be with us to discuss. Thanks for being here. Oh, thank you. My pleasure.

Well, first of all, Thomas, let's talk about you. Tell us about yourself and what you do for The Arbor Company.

So I'm a registered nurse. I started out at the Arbor company as what we call a resident care director, which is something akin to a director of nursing. In one of our communities.

And I did that for a few years, and then I started actually visiting other communities as a clinical specialist and that is what I currently do. I travel to all of our communities and visit and help and train and support and enjoy all of the seniors all across our communities.

Got it. Yeah. And it's clear that you enjoy and you love what you do and those are the the type of of people that we have working for the Albuquerque company just like yourself, which which makes it a great place to be. If, you're looking for for senior living for sure. So as we mentioned, this isn't an entire full list of, of all the things that somebody could face. You know, as they get older as we age.

But I I'd like to maybe slim it down to something that could be easy to remember for our viewers. And so we're gonna talk about the three beads, bones, belly, and brain. So let's start with issues of the brand first. Alright.

So one thing I think is really important to consider as we talk about all of these different issues is that they are very much interrelated.

If we've got something going on in one area, there's a good chance it's correlated to something else. So keep that in mind as we're talking, and I will point that out. But let's start with cognitive impairment.

It is normal to have a little bit of forgetfulness as we age.

Perhaps we're not able to do things quite as quickly.

We just need to slow down. We might need an extra minute or two to remember a name or a location But we can do our daily activities such as dressing, visiting with others. We recognize other people. We may not remember name. That's okay. I never remember names, but you know who they are. So I just wanna make that there is a difference between normal aging and some cognitive impairment that might be occurring.

So we're gonna talk about the cognitive impairment for a minute.

I do wanna point something out as we were saying there are interrelated issues here.

Hearing loss can be related to dementia.

And it's really important something that I see a lot with, our senior folks is they may have some hearing deficit, but they don't wanna wear those hearing aids. It's just their fuss see, you know, it's a challenge. They fall out.

I would really encourage everyone to make sure that they're mindful of that because there is a really big increase in the significance of dementia correlated with hearing loss. So if you're noticing some hearing deficit, do go in and have a check. And if you have hearing aids wear them. It takes about six months to really get comfortable with hearing aids. So Don't give up, push through it because that will help you to maintain that cognition and to make the most of what you have.

So as far as cognitive impairment, it's pretty prevalent as we age about one third of folks.

Well, let me back up. About one third of folks with hearing impairment are in the age bracket of sixty five to seventy four. It goes up to one half over the age of seventy five.

So that's a pretty big number there.

But here's the big number. The incidence of dementia was sixty one percent higher with those that had a hearing impairment than those with good hearing.

We just don't talk about this a lot and frankly until I got into this field of nursing. I did not realize that. So I wanna make sure we're getting those kind of testing's done on a regular basis, and then wearing those hearing aids once we get them.

So, as far as dementia itself goes, we have the major type that I think we're all aware of in Alzheimer's, but there's also other types of dementia.

And again, those are correlated to other disease processes or diagnosis that we may have such as, diabetes, heart conditions, us if we have been smoking, vascular incidence of dementia, those are all co correlated.

If we are Looking at Alzheimer's itself, it has more of a reliable pattern of progression.

And if you see or you have a loved one or you're experiencing yourself, moments of perhaps you're driving somewhere that you've always driven and you all the sudden are lost and you cannot figure out where you are.

You're, doing something you've done forever And it's just not a momentary. Now where was I in this process, or why did I walk into this room? It is more of a complete. I have no idea how to finish this test.

It might be some language loss.

I think everyone is familiar with Bruce Willis and his they called it aphasia. That is form of dementia.

So if you really are having a hard time finding word usage that you've always been able to quickly come up with. That's a red flag. So numbers.

The ability to recognize people that as I said are really, important pinnacle people in your life that you see on a constant Those things are things to be mindful of.

As far as, what to do, if you feel like there might be an issue there or you have a loved one that you're concerned about, make an appointment with if you want to go with your family doctor first, that certainly a great place to start. And then they should probably refer you to a neurologist.

If you are just concerned for your own self, I am I'm not slowly quickly getting to that age of myself. So there's some things I'm mindful of. You wanna keep your brain active.

One of the things that they noticed in the hearing research that they did was those folks because they cannot hear they were isolated, which we know has a correlation with our cognitive retainments and, sometimes our dementia progression.

So being isolated, being by yourself, Those are things that will not help but, really hinder your ability to maintain cognitive status.

Socialize, being around people.

Trying different things that you haven't tried.

Eating good healthy foods exercise, getting enough sleep. Those all do have an effect on not only cognition, but all other areas of our life. And you'll hear me saying that a lot because it's almost they're too simple, but those are the first things that we need to look at before we look at medications and more advanced.

If you have sleep deprivation, and you've got a lot of, issues with waking up in the night, getting rem sleep, that alone might be the reason that you're having some cognitive decline.

This was a fantastic list. I mean, even things I've been doing, you know, senior living life for a while now. And we have a lot of discussions about dementia, and I'm so glad that you mentioned that correlation with hearing loss because it doesn't get mentioned that off and and a lot of overlook that. So I am so glad that you mentioned that because hearing loss is as you mentioned, it's it's common, you know, and the fact that it leads to the isolation you, you, you discussed, which I think more people are starting to under stand with our older loved ones based on what happened with COVID. Absolutely.

I think that, I'm just so glad that you mentioned that so that, somebody today can sort of get that aha moment and put those two and two together and then go seek help either for themselves or for a loved one. So, fantastic list there. So now we go to the next B, and that's our bellies. So Oh, bellies.

Yes. Our fussy little bellies. That's right. So what are some common common problems that we're gonna be looking for there? Well, we're just gonna say it out loud, put it on the table, constipation, urine incontinence, or just not getting there in time.

You know, you sneeze and all of a sudden, you're in that uh-oh, you know, here I am. And I will say, again, incontinence is something that we all kind of laugh about. Oh, yes. It's part of getting older.

First of all, it is a huge quality of life, effector. It really can affect someone's ability or desire to socialize to extend themselves out of their home because they are fearful that they will not make it back in time or that they will have something in bear seen happen while they're out and about. So, you know, that needs to be respected as a huge health issue. And the support that is needed.

First of all, I would say go to your doctor. Always first thing, go to your doctor and don't just say, oh, this is what it is. There are different things that might be going on. You could have a chronic urinary tract infection.

As we get older, the symptoms that we had when we were younger, where we knew within, moments, almost that we had a UTI are no longer there. So our seniors can be having a chronic situation, for quite some time and not realize that they actually have a urinary tract infection. Both men and women.

You know, we have prostate issues coming into play with men.

We have women who they're pelvic floor is weakening, and so they just cannot retain. They don't have that muscle strength anymore.

You can work with cotton programs with therapy that we'll actually work on. I think we've all heard of Cables that exercise that will really strengthen that pelvic floor. Again, those are things to look at, in addition to whatever your doctor recommends that you can do. And, do your own work and make as much, impact as you can on your wellness. I would say another thing to be mindful of is just not to drink woods past about five o'clock at night maybe a bit earlier.

I say that though with the balance because another thing we see with seniors a lot is they restrict their fluids. Because they don't want to have a situation, and that's not good either. So there is a balance. Just start drinking early in the morning, drink a lot of fluids take it in and then just have that cutoff so you're not up all night. And, talk to your doctor about any issues.

Changing a medication. If you have, what's commonly called the water pill, ask them if it's not in the morning, ask them to put it in the morning instead of at night or just in a place that you can work with that and still feel like you have your quality of life.

Yeah. And that's what this is all about, really. It's quality of life. We're living longer and longer and longer, and we want to be as healthy as we can, as we get into our 70s and 80s.

You know, we want everything to work and to work as as well as it can. So it is truly all about quality of life. Okay. So now speaking of quality of life, and this is a biggie, we're talking about our bones.

So what can we do to help ourselves on that end? And you're right. It is a biggie.

It is especially prevalent with women to have osteoporosis, which is just a thinning of the bones. And it is a huge issue because as we age, we tend to have, a more loss of balance or stability issues just weakened muscles again. And so you see folks that may have falls but that was not a problem before. If you have osteoporosis and you fall, the incidence of fractures and injuries is much higher because your bones are weaker.

We even see folks who are just kind of living their lives and maybe take a misstep It's not even really a fall, but because of osteoporosis, they have a fracture.

So, because there are no symptoms to osteoporosis, We tend to do that after the fall, after the fracture is when we say, oh, wow.

This person has osteoporosis.

We need to go in early. And especially if you have that profile, you and I both are that profile of a smaller, female.

And go in and get checked early, have a bone scan, see where you are at. There are definitely some supplements that your doctor can put you on. I would encourage folks to go to the doctor and get their recommendations because there are a lot of supplements out there that say there for this and that, but they may not be approved or there might be some absorption issues, but there are some really important supplements that you should be taking as a senior that will really strengthen your bones. Weight bearing is walking around, standing up, light weight lifting, one or two pounds.

Working with some group exercises, those kinds of things are huge. With osteoporosis.

And if you're not weight bearing, your bones are not increasing in den density. That's how you maintain that density and strong bone. So those are huge.

Yeah. I got my gum scan first one. So it's gonna be good. Good for you.

And so, you know, it's it's just like, hey, if you you didn't get one in your forties or fifties, it doesn't matter. You can start now. It doesn't. You're right.

It's never too late. It's never too late. A hundred percent. Okay. So, great information here.

If somebody, feels like they've learned, a thing or two in this conversation, which honestly I know I have, and I'm around this, quite frequently what are some resources or a guide that you can send our viewers to to help them take a deeper dive into this topic? So I like I wrote it down because I two of them are very similar.

There are some really I think it's important to find reliable, guides that are well founded in research One is the CDC, which is right here in Atlanta, and you can go to their website. They have a lot of really good information.

My personal favorite because I just feel like their information is so easy to navigate through and it covers a gamut of information It's the National Institute on AG, and it's w w w dot n I c dot n I h dot gov.

They have the initiatives that we are working on for seniors health and wellness, which is so important for quality life. We're no longer waiting to get sick or waiting to have that chronic disease. We are now in that mindset of wellness and holistic medicine where we are treating all parts of our body, which is so important. And, that is a focus on their site, also the National Council on aging.

Which is also a government supported program. Those are all very good reliable programs.

I will say too, if you look up in your own community, there are local senior supported groups sometimes it's through the YMCA.

It's through your health department.

There are a lot of resources that most people don't realize are there. That can help you, provide some assistance further information if you wanted to join, like, a SilverSneakers exercise group or something like that in your area, they will have all of that information for you. Yeah. And a lot of that, especially for our seniors, low cost or free. So there's no reason to not get out there and see what's available in your community.

Suzanne, this has been an awesome episode of Senior Living Live. Like I said, I learned a few things. I know our viewers, we'll we'll certainly have learned something new as well. At least we hope most of you did. Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us. Thank you.

Now if you enjoyed this episode of Senior Living Live with Suzanne, I really encourage you to head on over to our website. It's There we have all kinds of videos, hours and hours of videos just like this one all about senior living, on demand, and the best part, it is free. Thank you so much for being a part of senior living live. Have a great day, everybody.

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