Anemia is such a widespread health issue among elderly adults that it makes sense for family caregivers to learn about it so they can truly assist their aging loved ones with this chronic condition. Nearly 80 percent of seniors have some form of anemia, which is low levels of iron in the body. The good news is that there are some effective treatments for anemia when it occurs in elderly adults.
How Do Seniors Get Anemia?
When the body has low iron levels, it can create serious health concerns, especially for those over age 65. Anemia is identified by low red blood cell counts, and if the body doesn’t have enough, it cannot transport oxygen throughout the body. Without proper oxygenation, elderly adults can suffer from major organ damage.
There are several ways that seniors become anemic. Usually, it is the result of the aging adult not eating enough iron-rich foods. This can happen when seniors are not able to prepare healthy meals or even get fresh food because they can no longer drive. They may be on their own without family members or senior care providers to monitor their health and nutrition.
Recognizing and Treating Anemia in Elderly Adults.
Family caregivers and senior care providers need to look for signs of anemia in their aging relatives, so they know whether to take them to the doctor. The most common signs are weakness, fatigue, rapid heart rate, pale skin, headaches, and shortness of breath. Seniors have a higher risk of anemia if they have a family history of it, cancer, kidney failure, or intestinal disorder. Only a doctor can truly diagnose anemia, but family caregivers can provide enough information to help with the diagnosis.
Treating anemia in elderly adults usually requires them to take an iron supplement prescribed by a doctor, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their other medications. When the cause of the anemia stems from a chronic disease, family caregivers need to know that the best way to deal with the anemia is by keeping the condition under control.
Proper Care Helps Prevent Anemia.
One of the best things that family caregivers can do to prevent anemia in their loved ones is to modify the diet to include iron-rich food. Many seniors no longer cook for themselves or resort to unhealthy processed food. What they need is food like fresh fruit, whole grains, red meat, nuts, seafood, beans, egg yolks and vegetables like broccoli. The senior care provider can ensure the senior’s dietary needs are met by careful planning and then making healthy food with iron-rich ingredients.
Anemia is quite common in seniors, but it can often be minimized or even prevented by careful monitoring and the right diet. A senior care provider can help the elderly adult as well as their family members be as healthy as possible and avoid anemia.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Deerfield, IL, contact the caring staff at Companion Services of America today at (847) 943-3786. Our home care service area includes Northbrook, Highland Park, Deerfield, Glenview, Buffalo Grove, Evanston, Des Plaines, Skokie, Lake Forest, Wilmette and the surrounding areas.