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NEWS / CATEGORY: "MEDICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA"

Essential Prevention Strategies for Older Adults

Jul 08, 2024
Learn key prevention strategies for older adults, covering lifestyle modifications, necessary vaccines, medication management, and injury prevention.
Homed-Essential Prevention Strategies for Older Adults

Prevention for older adults

In older adults, the focus of preventive care varies based on individual health, functionality, and risks. The goals are tailored as follows:

  1. Healthy and Independent: The aim is to prevent new disorders from developing.
  2. Mild Chronic Disorders: The focus is on slowing functional decline and preventing deterioration that could increase dependency.
  3. Frail and Dependent: The priority is to prevent accidents and complications to avoid further loss of independence or death.

Lifestyle Recommendations

Exercise remains crucial for older adults. Aerobic activities boost endurance and might reduce heart and blood vessel issues. Weight lifting combats muscle weakness, muscle loss, and osteoporosis by strengthening muscles and enhancing bone density. Additionally, activities like dancing and tai chi can be particularly beneficial for balance, helping to prevent falls.

Moreover, quitting smoking at any age can improve endurance, lessen symptoms of disorders like chest pain and leg cramps, and reduce risks for heart attacks, lung disease, and some cancers.

Older adults should limit alcohol to no more than one drink per day. This is because alcohol is metabolized differently in older age, leading to increased risks of injuries and health problems.

Medications and Vaccines

Understanding medication effects is essential as older adults are more prone to side effects due to age-related metabolic changes. These changes can lead to drug interactions. Therefore, it’s important for older adults to know their medications, their purposes, duration, and any food, drink, or activities to avoid while on them. Regularly reviewing medications with healthcare providers can prevent issues.

Recommended vaccines for older adults include:

  • Pneumococcal vaccine (two types)
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccine (once, then tetanus and diphtheria every 10 years)
  • Annual flu vaccine
  • Shingles vaccine (two doses, 2 to 6 months apart from age 50)

These vaccines are critical as older adults are more vulnerable to pneumonia, tetanus, shingles, and complications from influenza.

Injury Prevention

Common-sense safety measures can prevent injuries. Fall prevention is key as falls are a major cause of serious health issues in older adults. Strategies include:

  • Decluttering home areas
  • Securing throw rugs and cords
  • Ensuring adequate lighting
  • Adding handrails and nonskid surfaces in necessary areas
  • Avoiding slippery bath oils
  • Consulting doctors about minimizing unnecessary medications

Exercises like tai chi can help maintain or improve balance.

Driving

Older adults might need to limit or stop driving if vision, reflexes, or overall functionality declines. They should avoid driving when taking drowsiness-inducing medications and should not drive at night if night vision is poor.

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