exercise for the health of the elderly | Key Tips for Improving the Quality of Life of Seniors | LIFE

According to a report by the National Institute of Statistics and Information, in Peru, about 40% of households have at least one person aged 60 or over among their members.ERI), during the first quarter of 2023. The same report indicates that 83.8% of older women had some form of chronic health problem, compared to 75.3% of the male population.

For Dr. Roxana Rivera, Medical Oncologist at Sanitas, the attention and care of the elderly is a priority due to their high vulnerability to certain pathologies and complications they are commonly exposed to. “In cancer, the most common cancers are prostate, lung, stomach, colon, and pancreas.“.

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According to the expert, among the most common chronic pathologies in older people are chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), degenerative bone and joint diseases, senile dementia, in addition to cardiometabolic pathologies: acute myocardial infarction, accidents of cerebrovascular disease (CVD), arterial hypertension or diabetes 2 type.

The oncologist adds that such conditions in adulthood are very difficult to control. This affects not only these people physically, but also has a strong emotional impact. “Older people need special attention when they are diagnosed with advanced chronic diseases. For example, access to a palliative care program focuses on support and accompaniment to relieve suffering, pain, and other physical and psychosocial problems. Access to these programs will improve the quality of life of patients and their families throughout the disease process.“.

In this sense, the specialist, in order to educate family members and caregivers of the elderly, makes some important recommendations to help maintain the well-being of elderly patients:

  1. Avoid self-medication. In the elderly, self-medication poses a great risk, since this population usually has other chronic diseases and must follow the pharmacological treatment prescribed by their doctor, and therefore self-medication can cause complications for their health. Also, it can cause other problems over time; such as gastrointestinal disease, bacterial resistance, kidney dysfunction and liver disease.
  2. Schedule a periodic checkup. It is necessary that the elderly undergo a comprehensive examination annually to rule out cardiometabolic diseases and various types of cancer. Timely detection of these diseases is important to ensure a better quality of life for the patient.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight: As we age, the body can store extra calories that cause weight gain, which can lead to being overweight or obese; main risk factors for the development of cancer and chronic diseases. In this regard, it is necessary that older people consume foods rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Some options are fruits and vegetables, whole grains in oatmeal, bread, and brown rice; low-fat dairy products; and soy milk, almond milk, or other vitamin D-rich drinks. Also supplement with lean poultry and eggs, as well as grains and legumes.
  4. Physical activity: Exercise is recommended at any age. If you don’t do these things often, you can start regularly. For example, walk for 30 minutes a day or do yoga and/or Pilates. These activities will help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid future health problems.

According to Dr. Rivera; Nearly 90% of older people have some form of public or private health insurance. However, it is important that these insurances include palliative care programs as they improve the quality of life of patients with advanced chronic diseases.

Access to palliative care services is a human right. Despite this, in most countries in the region, such as Peru, patients continue to have problems accessing these basic services.“, he adds.

Patricia Roman, lawyer for Lucia Velarde

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