It is estimated that three quarters of adults age 65 and older are living with more than three health problems. This is significant in working with and/or living with someone in this age category. Having multiple health problems is often referred to as comorbidity.
Comorbidity can be challenging to manage on both the patient side as well as for the healthcare provider. Health conditions in older adults can include diabetes, cancer, obesity, arthritis, dementia, Alzheimer’s, tooth decay, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and more. Managing just one of these health problems is significant, let alone several of them. Some concerns for patients with multiple health conditions include greater medical expenses (including paying for prescription drugs), lower functioning of activities of daily living, risk of being hospitalized and dying prematurely.
People with many health conditions are often prescribed multiple medications. This can cause complications as medications can cause side effects and have a greater risk of interacting with other medications. As we age, in general we are at greater risk for developing side effects from medications. Also, there is limited research being done on medications and their impact on one’s health when taken with other prescriptions. This can cause concern for both the patient and the healthcare provider. It is therefore important to not only be aware of these concerns, but also know what you can do to best manage multiple health conditions. Next, we will look at ways you can be involved in caring for multiple health conditions whether you are the patient or a caregiver.
Information was sourced from the following: