The Complications of Aging Independently

Studies conducted by AARP consistently show that the vast majority of older Americans not only want to live independently but also believe that they will attain that objective. While independent living has been found to be more beneficial than forcing seniors into an institutional setting, research demonstrates that without the right support, living autonomously is increasingly difficult and potentially detrimental to the health and overall wellbeing of aging seniors. Here’s why.

 As we age, independent living can become complicated, and sometimes overwhelming.

  •   20% of older Americans suffer from five or more chronic conditions.
  •  The average older American takes between 4 to 5 prescription medications per day.  At least 40% of the elderly take additional herbal supplements in conjunction with an average of two over the counter drugs.
  •  As of 2009, 41% of people age 65 or older had significant problems caring for their intimate needs as well as difficulty negotiating their personal environment.  That number grows significantly as the individual ages.

Without adequate support, the complicated circumstances common to a senior’s independent life- style can prove detrimental to their health and wellbeing.

  • 30% of older individuals who take medication experience adverse drugs reactions.
  • Up to 20% of hospital admissions for the elderly are due to adverse reactions to medication and over half of the deaths attributed to negative drug effects are for people over the age of 60.
  • A growing body of science suggests that older adults, coping with multiple chronic conditions are particularly vulnerable to breakdowns in care, resulting in an increase of negative health outcomes for the senior, as well as increases in cost.
  • Chronic conditions are the major cause of illness, disability and death in seniors aged 65 or older, especially if seniors do not receive the right attention and care.  If handled correctly, many of these conditions can be successfully treated and even prevented.