There are hundreds of age-related illnesses, but a small fraction of these illnesses impacts a large majority of seniors.
At The Arbor Company, we see and help to manage all of these common problems on a daily basis. A diagnosis of age-related illness is frightening and leads to serious questions; what do you do next? What will life look like now? What information can I trust?
Below, we share ten of the most common and potentially serious age-related illnesses in the U.S. along with a link to an associated nonprofit organization that provides educational materials, advocates for patients, and raises funds for research.
1. Alzheimer's Disease and Related Types of Dementia
Resource: The Alzheimer’s Association
One-in-nine Americans over 65 has Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, and The Alzheimer’s Association is the foremost online resource for caregivers. It includes a library of educational materials and tools to help families find a nearby support groups.
Resource: The American Diabetes Association
About a quarter of Americans over age 60 have diabetes. The American Diabetes Association was founded in 1940, and its mission is to end diabetes and better the lives of everyone who is impacted by the illness.Today their website is among the top online diabetes resources available.
Resource: Arthritis Foundation
Very close to half of people over 65 have been diagnosed with arthritis. While it is not a direct cause of mortality, it can cause serious problems with pain and mobility. The Arthritis Foundation is the leading organization associated with the condition, and they educate patients, their families, and the public, as well as funding research into Arthritis treatments.
Resource: National Stroke Association
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, and two-thirds of people hospitalized with stroke in America are over 65. Stroke is often seen as a purely age related condition but lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise are also major contributors. The National Stroke Association provides educational materials on preventing strokes, recovering from strokes, caring for stroke patients and other important topics.
5. Heart Disease
Resource: American Heart Association
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, associated with more than 600,000 fatalities each year. Like stroke, heart disease is also influenced by lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet, exercise, and stress. The American Heart Association was founded in 1915, and 100 years later is the top organization educating Americans about heart disease and helping to save lives through first aid and CPR training.
Resource: The National Osteoporosis Foundation
Osteoporosis, the leading cause of broken bones in older adults, is caused by a reduction in bone strength associated with reduced bone density. It is very prevalent among the aged; as many as 70% of seniors over age 80 have osteoporosis. The National Osteoporosis Foundation was founded in 1984 and is the only health organization in the U.S. that is solely focused on osteoporosis care and awareness.
7. Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Resource: American Macular Degeneration Foundation
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in Americans over 50, and is among the conditions that require a significant number of seniors to leave their homes for more supportive environments such as assisted living. The American Macular Degeneration Foundation raises awareness about the disease and supports research into treatments.
Resource: Glaucoma Research Foundation
Glaucoma, an eye problem associated with elevated eye pressure, is another leading cause of blindness in the United States. While age is a primary factor associated with development of glaucoma, it can also affect younger people. The Glaucoma Research Foundation was founded in 1978 with a goal of curing glaucoma, and now funds research all over the world.
9. Prostate Cancer
Resource: Prostate Cancer Foundation
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among men. It is strongly linked to aging, with more than 95% of cases diagnosed in men over 50, and 60% of cases in men over age 65. The Prostate Cancer Foundation provides a wealth of information from risk factors to diagnosis and treatment, information about living with prostate cancer, and more.
10. Parkinson’s Disease
Resource: National Parkinson’s Foundation
At least 500,000 Americans have Parkinson’s disease, although experts say the number may be much higher as it can be a difficult condition to diagnose. The average age of patients when they are diagnosed is 60. The National Parkinson’s Foundation educates patients and families about Parkinson’s and raises funds for research of new treatments and therapies.
Managing any one of these conditions can be a full-time job. At the Arbor Company, we offer resources for families and seniors coping with difficulties of age-related illnesses, from recovery after a hospital stay to helping navigate the difficult and troublesome questions that arise every time a family faces a diagnosis such as this.What are your best resources for coping with age-related illness and other senior wellness issues? Share in the comments below.