Health Concerns of Older Women: What to Watch For When Caring for Seniors

As women get older, they begin to face unique health challenges. Because women tend to live longer than men. As a result, elderly women are more likely to need in home care services like medication reminders, support and other elderly care services.  As we learn more about the differences between health care in men and women, we are finding much more about how these conditions affect men and women differently and the differences in elderly care that may be needed.

Conditions that disproportionately affect older women include:

  • Heart Disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women over 65, with nearly one in three deaths coming from heart disease.
  • While not a dangerous condition itself, how you deal with menopause can have an impact on your health long term.
  • Nearly half of all older women will break a bone due to osteoporosis in their lifetime.
  • Breast cancer and ovarian cancer are both more prevalent in older women, and ovarian cancer diagnoses peak with women in their 70s.
  • Stroke is the third leading cause of death in elderly women.
  • The epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes in the US has not spared older women. Complications from diabetes can lead to heart attack, stroke, or other serious conditions.

Personalized Care: Know what to look for

Discuss changes in your health with your doctor. A change in energy level might just mean you need to get more sleep, or it may be a sign of Type 2 Diabetes. It has been shown that women more readily consult their medical professionals about symptoms, but it is also the case that women’s concerns, especially around pain, are more frequently ignored or treated differently.

Elderly women may experience different symptoms than men

Differences in symptoms may be severe, especially when it comes to heart attack. Whereas men almost always experience sharp chest pain or pressure, the American Heart Association reports that women are more likely to experience different symptoms, such as nausea, back or jaw pain, and shortness of breath. These differences in early warning symptoms between genders, and fact that many people are still under the false impression that men and women experience the same symptoms, help explain why heart disease is so frequently fatal in women.

Likewise, women experience different symptoms (or different severity of symptoms) than men in a number of other different health-related situations including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) and depression. However, some conditions like stroke report few if any differences in symptoms between men and women.  So it’s important to know the facts when it comes to how different health issues may exhibit differently in women.

Care Management for Women and COVID-19

While it is true that COVID-19 has thus far been more fatal in men than in women, that difference is smaller between elderly men and women than it is among younger people. Additionally, there is little hard evidence as to why this is the case, and it may be a statistical anomaly or due to another comorbidity rather than a legitimate difference in gender. More research is needed to determine if older women are indeed at less risk for serious complications from COVID-19.

An Ounce of Prevention Can Help Seniors

One of the most important ways elderly women can remain healthy is to get an annual flu shot, as well as any other vaccines recommended by professionals, such as a pneumonia vaccine. Annual influenza kills thousands of people each year, and while the vaccine can’t prevent all cases, it can be a valuable tool in reducing your risks.

Additionally, the FDA advises women to do the following as they age:

  • Eat a Healthy Diet. Are you getting enough servings of fruits and vegetables?
  • It should go without saying by now, but quitting smoking is an absolute must.[Note: smoking should be a separate bullet point.]
  • Avoid Common Medication Mistakes. Keeping track of medications can be difficult, but it is vital.
  • Manage Your Health Conditions. Work with your health care provider to manage chronic conditions.
  • Get Screened. Regular mammograms are extremely important, as are colon cancer screenings and other regular tests. Treatment options and survival rates are far better for diseases like this with early detection.
  • Be Active. Exercise and physical activity are a good idea at any age, but the benefits for elderly women are especially helpful.

Home Care Powered by AUAF can help

Whether it’s helping you set up medication reminders or some other kind of household help, Home Care Powered by AUAF can assist you in many different ways. Call us at or contact us at [email protected] to find out more about the services we offer.

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