As we grow older our bodies become more susceptible to common illnesses like a cold or stomach “bug,” and more serious ones like the flu or pneumonia.

With aging our immune system begins to decline and it becomes harder to protect our bodies from foreign or harmful substances (bacteria, viruses, or toxins).  The immune system cannot work as fast to produce new cells and antibodies to destroy harmful substances.  In turn, our bodies are slower to detect and respond to viral or bacterial infections and our bodies takes longer to heal.

It’s not just short-lived, acute conditions that are caused by a weakened immune system.  Chronic, long-term conditions that develop and worsen over time are also more prevalent in an aging population.  According to a 2010 report from the Center for Disease Control, the ten most common chronic conditions of residential care residents were:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Alzheimer’s Disease/Other Dementias
  • Heart Disease
  • Depression
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes
  • COPD
  • Cancer
  • Stroke

The well-being of your residents is the top priority of your team members.  For this reason, we’ve collected information on each of these chronic conditions to help your staff understand what’s happening in a resident’s body when he or she suffers from these diseases.  We’ve also outlined the warning signs to help them recognize changes in a resident who may be developing a chronic condition.

Consider adding SLU’s Medical Awareness products to your staff training curriculum. For nurses and licensed staff, SeniorLivingU’s Clinical Considerations eLearning series provides helpful refreshers on the most common chronic conditions in assisted living residents.

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