Top Six Reasons That Send Older Adults to the Emergency Room

Heart failure, sometimes called congestive heart failure, means the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body. It usually comes on slowly but can quickly become severe.

How to prevent it

  • Eat a low-salt diet. Learn about healthy use of salt here
  • Check your weight daily. If you gain two pounds overnight or five pounds in one week, contact your health provider. They may adjust your medications
  • Eat a healthy diet and stay active. You can live with heart failure for a long time if you keep a healthy lifestyle
  • Check your medications at each doctor visit. Ask your health care provider to check that your medications are right for you

What is it?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness (an illness that affects breathing) cause by a virus.

How to prevent it

  • Get vaccinated. Talk to your health provider about the COVID vaccine and other vaccines, such as the flu shot and pneumonia shot
  • Practice safe distancing
  • Consider a mask in crowded places or when you are in contact with an infected person

What is it?

A UTI is an infection in any part of the body connected with urination (peeing). The most common type of UTI is a bladder infection. In older adults, a UTI can lead to serious problems and become life-threatening.

How to prevent it

Prevent diabetes. Diabetes increases your risk for UTIs. Have your blood sugar checked regularly

What is it?

A heart attack (also called a myocardial infarction) happens when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked.

How to prevent it

  • Live a healthy lifestyle. Avoid smoking, eat a healthy diet with lots of vegetables, fruit, and lean meat, and stay active
  • Check your medications. Ask your primary care provider to check that your medications are right for you

What is it?

Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs. It used to be called ‘the old man’s friend’ because many elderly patients died due to pneumonia.

How to prevent it

  • Get vaccinated. Talk to your health care provider about this and other vaccines to avoid getting sick at an age when it is hard to recover

What is it?

COPD is a condition that describes ongoing lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. When it gets worse suddenly, people can end up in the hospital.

How to prevent it

  • Talk to your health care provider about getting an action plan. This plan will help you manage your symptoms. It will include advice about using medications such as a puffer or antibiotics
  • See an example of a COPD action plan here
  • Catch symptoms early. Use your action plan and talk to your health provider right away

Based on statistics from the Fraser Health Authority