Today, Americans can expect to live longer than at any other time in history. For example, by the time you reach the age of 65, some research suggests you might live on average another 19 years. This isn’t unheard of, but for our elderly community, staying healthy is what’s important to reach and exceed two or more decades beyond 65.

There are many health challenges that older adults face that are generally unlike the health concerns of younger people. Below are the top 5 health issues that often impact the elderly.

1. Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the top conditions if not these top condition people 65 and older often face. Affecting around 50% of men and women over 65, it can lead to pain and lower quality of life for seniors. While the condition makes it difficult to remain active,maintaining health at this stage in live is vitally dependent on activity.

2. Heart Disease

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease remains the leading killer of adults over age 65. In 2013, this represented around 488,156 deaths.  Heart disease affects around 37 percent of men and 26 percent of women who are over the age of 65. The reason for this is that as people age, they are living with other risk factors including high blood pressure and high cholesterol, both of which increase the chances of stroke or heart disease. Seniors must exercise, eat well, and have plenty of rest.

3. Cancer

Cancer is the second leading cause of death among people over age 65 according to the CDC. Among adults, 28 percent of men and 21 percent of women over age 65 are living with cancer. If caught early through screenings such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and skin checks, many types of cancer are treatable. And while cancer is not always preventable, a focus on healthy living can make living through cancer a real possibility..

4. Respiratory Diseases

Lower respiratory diseases are the third most common cause of death among people 65 and older. According to the CDC, about 10 percent of men and 13 percent of women have asthma, and another 10 percent of men and 11 percent of women have chronic bronchitis or emphysema. Although having a chronic respiratory disease increases senior health risks and can make them more vulnerable to infections such as pneumonia, lung function tests, correct medications, and the proper use of oxygen may help to improve a senior’s quality of life.

5. Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease was the cause of around 80,000 deaths of people over age 65 in 2013, according to the CDC. The Alzheimer’s Association reported that one in nine people age 65 and older, approximately 11 percent, have Alzheimer’s disease. Because diagnosis is challenging, it’s difficult to know exactly how many people actually have this chronic condition. Experts acknowledge that cognitive impairment has a significant impact on senior health, ranging from issues of safety and self-care to the cost of care in the home or a residential facility.

Its important to know what to look for when caring for the elder members of your family. While its not the case that every senior will suffer from any of these five particular health concerns, the statistics show that the possibility is real. When facing these concerns as a family, Bridge Care can assist you in decision-making related to these and other health conditions. Sometimes it seems like you have more questions than answers and moving forward, even in the best interests of your loved one, seems like an impossible challenge. That’s why we are hear to help. We understand, we care, and we can help.