As we get older, we’re more likely to suffer from different illnesses but acute (rapid onset) and chronic (a longer duration). While many elderly individuals aren’t living in nursing homes, those that are more than likely have (or have had) one or more of these illnesses. Here are three categories of illnesses (heart-related, infections, and memory loss) that the elderly population in nursing homes are facing.

Heart-Related Problems

As we age, we’re more likely to develop heart problems— usually as a result of poor health. There are three main factors that lead to heart problems as a result of poor health.

High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the blood, and it is made naturally in the body by the liver. However, too much cholesterol in the blood (also known as high cholesterol) can clog the arteries, resulting in an increased risk of a heart attack and a stroke.

High Blood Sugar

High blood sugar is also known as type 2 diabetes. While diabetes isn’t a heart problem itself, having this condition can greatly increase the likelihood of developing heart disease. High blood sugar can damage the nerves that control the heart and blood vessels, as well as the blood vessels themselves— and this can lead to heart disease.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is a condition in which the force of blood against the artery walls is too high. Just as with high blood sugar and high cholesterol, this usually is a result of u healthy eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle— the latter of which is more common as we age. All of these issues can be kept under control and even prevented by staying physically active and eating healthy.


Nursing homes and similar facilities are notorious for facing problems with infectious diseases spreading rapidly. In some cases, the spread of these infectious diseases can be minimized— some more than others. Here are the three most common infections plaguing nursing homes.

Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common infections in nursing homes because many seniors use urinary catheters, and anywhere from 3-7% will develop a UTI. Yet, almost half of all nursing home residents will develop a UTI at some point during their stay.

Soft Tissue Infections

Bed sores are one of the most common soft tissue infections found in nursing homes. Also known as pressure sores or pressure ulcers, they form when too much pressure is being placed on the skin for long periods. A patient developing a bed sore is often a result of neglect in nursing homes, as staff are supposed to move bedridden patients to prevent bed sores from forming.

Respiratory Infections

As we age, we experience both breathing and swallowing difficulties, and this can add to the spread of the bacteria and viruses that cause pneumonia and the flu. Living in close quarters also makes it easier to spread germs.

Memory Loss

Dementia is the umbrella term used for different types of memory loss. With this memory loss usually comes issues with judgment and emotional control. This is a chronic illness that currently has no cure.

Vascular Dementia

This type of dementia is caused by a series of small strokes. It’s also known as Multi-Infarct Dementia (MID), and it’s the second most common type of dementia. It’s more common in men and people between the ages of 55 and 75.

Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a type of dementia that is characterized by the presence of Lewy bodies, or the alpha-synuclein protein in the brain. These deposits are what lead to thinking, judgment, and memory problems. This type of dementia is more common in people over the age of 65.

Alzheimer’s Disease 

Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, and it usually starts with progressive memory loss. While the causes of dementia aren’t fully known, it’s thought that it’s mainly caused by age-related factors such as inflammation and the breakdown of energy within the cells. There is also no known way to prevent Alzheimer’s, but it is believed that the onset can be delayed by living a healthy lifestyle. Women and those over the age of 85 are at the highest risk for Alzheimer’s.

Dementia is the most well-known age-related condition, and there are other types of dementia associated with other diseases such as Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Dementia almost always results in the sufferers having to be placed in nursing homes or other types of assisted living.