According to the National Institute on Aging, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 85% of older adults have at least one chronic condition, and almost 60% have at least two chronic conditions. As we age, it means that dealing with these issues can become more challenging on a daily basis. Each condition may have its own set of challenges and needs, and doctors and clinicians start to play an important role in educating families and patients about their conditions and how they can be connected with resources and services that can help.
On a daily basis though, you may find that your loved one needs more assistance than you are able to provide. Chronic conditions care allows the main caregiver breaks so that they are able to care for themselves, work, or take care of their own family, with the knowledge that their aging parent or loved one is being well taken care of.
What Conditions Are Considered Chronic?
A chronic condition, by definition, is a condition that will require some type of medical intervention through the end of life. While some chronic conditions may worsen with age, there are a few that may have periods of lesser significance and periods of flare-ups that occur. These are a few examples of chronic conditions:
- Arthritis – This is an inflammatory disorder that can become debilitating as we age. There is potential for arthritis to do more than affect just your joints, it can also cause damage to the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels if left unchecked.
- Alzheimer’s or Dementia – While these conditions are not the same, they are usually grouped together because they both affect cognitive function. Dementia is a decline in mental function, and Alzheimer’s is a specific type of dementia.
- Compromised Immune System – If your loved one has been diagnosed as immunocompromised, they may need to spend more time in environments that are as clean as possible and come into contact with the public less and less. A compromised immune system leaves them weak and unable to fight off most viruses, bacteria, or fungi.
- Diabetes – There are several different forms of diabetes, but in short, this condition either leaves your loved one in a state where they can’t make enough insulin or aren’t able to use it as well as they should.
- Lung Diseases – There are many different types of lung disease, but they all have the ability to affect respiratory function, the ability to breathe, and pulmonary function.
- Parkinson’s Disease – Another neurodegenerative disorder like dementia, Parkinson’s affects the dopamine-producing neurons and can cause your loved one to have tremors, rigidity, and balance or gait problems.
- Veterans’ Care – PTSD can cause your loved one to feel overwhelmed and withdrawn. Having help when their PTSD flares up, which can happen more often as they age, is important.
- ALS – Lou Gehrig’s Disease affects the nervous system, weakens muscles, and impacts the physical functions of your loved one.
- Cancer – There are several different forms of cancer, regardless it is a disease where the body’s cells grow uncontrollably. Some of these cancers are more easily treated than others, but there is significant care required either way.
- COPD – This chronic inflammatory lung disease can cause obstructed airflow, breathing difficulties, and more.
- Developmental Disabilities – This is a group of conditions that can impact physical, learning, language or behavioral abilities in children. As the child grows, these issues can impact day-to-day functioning.
- Heart Disease – There are several different types of heart disease or heart conditions, which can restrict blood flow and lead to heart attacks.
- Multiple Sclerosis – This disorder affects the central nervous system, which causes permanent damage and deterioration of the nerves.
- Stroke – This condition is caused when there is damage to the brain from an interruption of the blood supply.
What Types of Services are Provided with Chronic Conditions Care?
If your loved one has one or more of these various types of chronic conditions, they may need more care than you are able to reasonably provide on your own. It is important to sit down with your healthcare team and make a plan for whether they will need home care or 24-hour care. Caregivers who help with chronic conditions care are able to assist with medications, therapies, and strengthening overall well-being. The care that is provided is individualized and centered around your loved one and their schedule.
Caregivers are also able to develop specific skills so that they are better able to care for individuals whose condition may require assistance with daily life activities. It can be difficult to manage your loved one’s chronic condition, and it will become important to have someone you can trust to be an extra set of eyes to help you determine if the condition needs more attention or additional support.
Don’t forget that Homewatch CareGivers of Annapolis is here for you. It is always a privilege to provide our clients with compassionate and professional assistance. Don’t hesitate to contact us today if you have more questions or keep browsing our website for more information.