With the development of medical technology and the adoption of healthier lifestyles, the average life expectancy of human beings is increasing, which means that the number of older people as a percentage of the total population is also increasing.
- Year aging society it is a society in which more than 7% of the population is 65 years of age or older.
- Year aging society is one in which more than 14% of the population is over 65 years of age, and
- in a super aging society more than 20% of the population are elderly.
Our world is aging rapidly
It took approximately 110 years for the number of people over 65 in France to increase from 7% to 14% of the total population. The same process took about 80 years in Sweden, about 50 years in the UK, and about 20 years in Brazil and Korea.
So what does this mean for those of us who are already over 65?
As aging progresses, the body and mind weaken and diseases accumulate. Chronic diseases, muscle weakness, and deterioration of the mind are more common in older people.
Unsurprisingly, the elderly account for a larger share of total medical spending in whatever society they live in.
In 2015, for example, the percentage of people 65 and older in South Korea was 13.2%, but their medical expenses accounted for a disproportionate 36.5% of total healthcare spending in that country.
Therefore, you must put pressure on your government to ensure that health systems are adapted to the needs of older people.
Studies in Europe and North America suggest that older people suffer from four to five diseases on average, much more than young people who are generally quite disease-free.
Older people experience medical events, such as heart attacks, strokes, and cancers, more often because their lungs and their cardiovascular and digestive systems degenerate along with their immune systems.
Bad diets also contribute to this loss of good health among the elderly. Therefore, you must ensure that you eat nutritious food to preserve your health as you age.
The old age classification
Until recently, most studies of older people have classified people older than 65 into one group.
As people live longer, scientists found that diseases vary depending on how long people survive after age 65. As a result, researchers now divide old age into three distinct periods:
- 65 to 74 years … the youngest
- 75 to 84 years … middle-aged
- more than 85 years … older
So what are the differences in terms of health and wellness between the three age groups?
Osteoporosis is a disease in which your bones become brittle and weak. They tend to break if you have a fall or a strong blow. The most common osteoporotic fractures are those of the hip, back, and wrist.
Osteoporosis is more likely to develop as you age. This can be seen in the increasing rate of hospital admissions for orthopedic surgery among the elderly.
Tests by researchers in Australia found age-related osteoporosis in 20% of patients in their 50s, 46% of those in their 60s, 59% of those in 70s, and 69% of patients over 80 years of age. If you are in the older age group, it is very likely that you have osteoporosis.
Therefore, once you are over 65, you should get tested for osteoporosis regularly. There are many treatments you can take to prevent your osteoporosis from getting worse.
Falling among the elderly is quite common. One of the main causes of falls is syncope, that is, fainting or fainting due to a temporary decrease in the amount of blood flowing to the brain.
You may experience syncope if you have irregular heartbeats, reduced blood flow to the heart, abnormally low blood sugar levels, are using medications for blood pressure, or other underlying conditions.
Falls can also be caused by vision problems, drunkenness, and sleeping pills, as well as paralysis caused by a stroke or neuromuscular disease (which affects the muscles and nerves that control them).
Sudden falls can have serious consequences, especially if you hit your head or fall on your wrist.
Once you are over 65, you need to adjust your living spaces so that slips and falls are less likely and have less serious consequences should they occur.
Also, you should use an emergency call button, especially if you live alone, linked to a monitoring service that can alert your key fob or emergency services.
With age, lung function decreases as the elasticity of the lungs decrease and the tendency of the chest to return to its relaxed position. This causes the respiratory muscles to stiffen.
This explains why respiratory diseases are more likely to occur in elderly patients. In fact, hospital admissions for respiratory problems make up the largest proportion of admissions for internal illnesses.
Obviously, elderly patients should be provided with respiratory equipment and training in lung exercises to increase lung capacity and improve breathing.
To strengthen your lung muscles, you need to get a breathing device, like the one athletes and musicians wear, that resists your breathing and develops all four muscles in your lungs. Use it every day and after a few weeks you will find that your breathing will improve a lot.
You should also stop smoking.
There are absolute differences in hospital admissions between the three groups of the elderly.
Together, the three groups account for the highest number of hospitalizations due to internal illness, but about two-thirds of these are elderly patients.
This is because as you age, your immune system degenerates and you become more susceptible to infectious diseases, cancers, and autoimmune diseases.
Therefore, hospitals and hospital admission systems must adapt to the needs of the elderly, who are the most frequent users of these services.
Use of ambulances
Older patients use emergency ambulances more often than younger patients.
Studies indicate that in most developed countries more than a third of elderly patients, and approximately half of patients over the age of 85, use ambulances to reach an emergency department (ED).
In contrast, emergency ambulances are only used for less than 30% of children who come to the emergency services.
Therefore, ambulances must be equipped to accommodate the needs of elderly patients.
Length of stay (LOS) in SU
A recent study found that elderly patients stay in the ED approximately 20% longer than younger patients with the same complaint.
Several other studies show that LOS in the ED increases with age. This may be because elderly patients in the emergency department are at high risk for associated diseases. They may also need more diagnostic tests and emergency treatments, as well as time-consuming consultations with various departments.
Other studies report that the increase in LOS among elderly patients is mainly due to waiting times for hospital admission.
Governments must develop an effective policy to manage overcrowding and LOS.
Time in ICU
Another study reveals that there are no differences in the rate of admission to the ICU between the three groups of elderly, but there are differences in the duration of their stay in the ICU between the youngest and the oldest.
This could be because younger patients respond better to treatment than older patients.
With increasing age, the proportion of female patients increases. This is probably due to the fact that women live longer than men.
The ER visit rate for female patients increases with age.
Several studies have shown that women in Europe represent 51% of patients aged 70-79 years and 61.68% of those over 80 years of age in EDs. In a study conducted in South Korea, women accounted for 55.4% of all elderly patients, that is, 51.5% of the youngest, 54.9% of the middle-aged and the elderly. 69.1% of the oldest.
Therefore, both government health policies and hospital administrators should consider expanding the number of wards for women and specialized medical services for women.
Food to go
- Eat nutritious foods to preserve your health as you age.
- Get tested for osteoporosis regularly and, if you have it, follow the treatments your doctor prescribes to prevent it from getting worse.
- Adjust your living spaces so that slips and falls are less likely and have less serious consequences should they occur.
- Use an emergency “panic” button linked to a monitoring service that will alert your key fobs or emergency services in case you fall or have an accident.
- Exercise your lungs every day with a Powerlung or other similar device to preserve lung function.
- Form a pressure group with your older neighbors to encourage your political representatives, TDs, MPs, senators, etc. to ensure that your government acts:
- adapt their health systems to the needs of older people who use these services much more than other age groups.
- equip ambulances to adapt to the needs of elderly patients.
- Develop an effective policy to manage overcrowding and length of stay in emergency services.
- consider, together with the hospital directors, the expansion of the number of women’s wards and specialized medical services for the elderly.
Remind… nothing will happen unless you shout loud and vote during the elections