Disabilities and issues in people of old age

Visiting the elderly can be a wonderful experience. Many of the men and women are happy, energetic and have extensive social networks. However, some individuals may face certain diseases and disabilities.

Alzheimer’s Disease

A disease that can begin in middle-age or old age. It is a progressive disease caused by damage to the brain. Common symptoms of Alzheimer’s are memory loss, vision impairment, spatial issues (can’t see and understand distances), weakened reasoning or judgement. Because Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, it can become worse over time. Loss of memory increases, and patients can get lost, take longer to perform easy tasks, and personalities can change. Eventually, patients will require a full-time caretaker as the body shuts down. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia. Dementia is a similar condition and causes forgetfulness and confusion.


Depression is a very common and serious mental illness. Depression affects emotional and physical well-being. Sufferers feel depressed throughout the entire day; a lack of energy every day; feeling worthless, hopeless; loss of pleasure in life and regular activities; can’t concentrate; are unable to sleep or sleep all day. In extreme cases, depression can cause thoughts and attempts of suicide.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is a mental disorder when someone gets unwanted fearful thoughts, and strong urges (obsessions). These obsessions can be:

-          Fear of dirt, germs and chemicals (regularly need to clean themselves)

-          Symmetry: need to organize things in a specific way

-          Need for perfection (things must be done perfectly and without any error)

Blindness and deafness

Blindness can be full or partial loss of vision. Elderly may not be able to do their regular tasks without help. Hearing impairment can be partial or cause deafness.


Arthritis is joint or bone pain that can be mild or severe. People of all ages can get arthritis, but it happens more as people get older. Common symptoms are swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Osteoarthritis is the most common type. It happens when the cartilage between bones wears away. The bones rub against each other, causing pain.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that gets worse over time. There is no cure. It is caused by the death of nerve cells in the brain. These brain cells help to control movement and coordination. Symptoms are tremors (shaking of hands, arms, jaw, face), slowness of movement, stiffness of the limbs and instability (can’t balance or stand straight).


One of the most common causes of disability, a stoke happens when blood and oxygen stops going to the brain. This damages the brain. Because the brain controls the entire body, the damaged parts of the brain stop doing their job. Sufferers can lose the ability to balance, walk, control their bladder, be unable to speak, drink or eat. Some people can lose their vision, hearing or have parts of their body or face paralyzed.


A very common disease among all ages, those who have diabetes cannot control their blood sugar level. They must avoid sugary foods and watch what they eat to stay healthy.

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