If you’re caretaking for an elderly parent or loved one, both today and tomorrow are likely on your mind. It’s a lot to juggle.

To reduce overwhelm, it’s often useful to get a clear picture of where to point your attention. To help, here are the six challenges facing seniors today. Plus, don’t miss our tip on where to focus or find help for each one.

Let’s jump in.

What are the 6 biggest challenges facing seniors today?

#1 Medication Errors

Seniors living at home are considered particularly vulnerable to medication errors.

Consider that 88.9% of Americans 65 and older have taken at least one prescription drug in the past 30 days. Seniors often take multiple medications for multiple conditions, prescribed by multiple physicians. Specifically, 66.4% have taken 3 or more, and 41.9% have taken 5 or more.

That’s a lot of potential for medication errors. In fact, 15% of older patients arrive at offices, hospitals, and extended care facilities due to taking medications improperly.

What can you do? Start here:

Tip: Try this medication chart to reduce errors by keeping your elderly parents’ medicine on track.

#2 Poor Health and Fitness

Regular exercise is essential for seniors.

The CDC recommends two types of physical activity weekly to improve health: aerobic and muscle strengthening. This includes moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes, five days a week, and muscle strengthening for two or more days a week to work all major muscle groups. Yet just 13.9% of Americans 65 and older meet those guidelines.

What can you do? Start here:

Tip: Take this fitness and physical needs quiz to find out if your loved one is getting enough exercise.

#3 Poor Nutrition

Poor eating habits lead to multiple health problems in seniors.

Many seniors fail to get proper nutrients in the form of lean protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, and vegetables. This is at least in part because 30% of seniors skip at least one meal a day. Not getting enough protein puts seniors at risk for loss of muscle mass — called sarcopenia — which affects about 30% of adults over the age of 60.

What can you do? Start here:

Tip: Take this nutrition needs quiz to discover whether your elderly parent is eating right.

#4 Isolation

Feeling isolated affects more than emotional health. The reality: loneliness and isolation are linked to a 29% increase of a heart attack or angina, and a 32% heightened risk of having a stroke.

It’s more common in seniors than you might realize: did you know that older people in the U.S. are more likely to live alone than anywhere else in the world? And that disparity is only growing. There are 7.1 million single person households ages 65-74 today — up 51% since 2010.

What can you do? Start here:

Tip: Take this isolation considerations quiz to pinpoint whether your loved one may be at risk.

# 5 Risk of Elder Scams and Abuse

The prevalence of both elder scams and abuse is probably the hardest reality we hear about from residents.

We’ve seen that scammers will stop at nothing to steal from our parents and grandparents. From phony tech support to “your grandchild is in trouble” calls, these predators keep finding new ways to hurt them.

In addition to scams, elder abuse — both physical and mental — is on the rise. 21.5% of older persons report elder abuse today, up from 83.6% from before the pandemic.

What can you do? Start here:

Tip: Help protect your loved ones by reading this blog: five statistics about elderly scams everyone should know.

# 6 Lack of Planning

Have you mapped out a plan with your parents to address what will be done as they age? From the numbers, we can see that if you haven’t, you’re not alone.

53% of adult children anticipate that talking through senior care options with their loved ones will be difficult. Without a clear conversation, many aging seniors assume or “expect” family members will take care of them. 27% expect their spouse to take care of them, while 20% expect their family members to.

What can you do? Start here:

Tip: Take this quick “Planning Ahead Questionnaire” to get clarity around where you and your loved one could use support around future planning.

Next Steps

Did any of these challenges facing seniors today feel familiar to you?

You’re not alone. We understand what you’re going through. And we know how helpful it can be to talk to someone who’s seen it all.

If you could use support to navigate caring for your elderly parent, we’re here to talk. Not sure exactly what type of support you’re looking for, but know you could use a knowledgeable listening ear?

We offer tailored caregiver assessments — plus actionable support — completely free of charge.

Simply call us at 855-461-2552 or send us a message, anytime.