The advice of Dr. Christophe Delong, Head of the Geriatric Rehabilitation Department at Sainte-Périne Hospital (Paris).
What are the pathologies that lead to a loss of autonomy in the long term?
About 20% of the 75-year-old population has a loss of autonomy of level 4 according to the AGGIR grids. The main pathologies involved are cardiovascular and digestive diseases, and cancers, followed by diseases that affect the musculoskeletal system (osteoarthritis, osteoporosis), or that cause disorders of balance.
At what age is it important to worry about it?
It is first important to monitor people who have a risk of stroke.
Many seniors, around age 75, fear Alzheimer's because they are worried about their memory loss. We must reassure them! Most often the problems of memory are rather the fact of the drugs, or a less good vascular function. The switch from the loss of autonomy is rather towards 80/85 years, it is very important to worry about 75 years.
What advice do you have to stay independent as long as possible?
It is important from 70-75 years to anticipate any loss of autonomy, and to get help at home, if necessary. The referring general practitioner is a good interlocutor, but do not cut specialists. In addition to the cardiologist, a neurologist, a geriatrician, or a rehabilitation specialist are often useful to take stock.
We must be screened to detect the eventual occurrence of a cancer that will be important to detect at an early stage. Do not say that lack of desire is related to age, but recognize that there may be a transient depression that deserves light treatment.
Do not hesitate either to do rehabilitation with a movement specialist (physiotherapist, functional rehabilitation doctor ...). And then continue to go out and move.
You encourage seniors to use the internet ...
Indeed, I encourage them to use the internet tool: essential to take full advantage of all the help, be aware, heal ... In short, to improve its quality of life.
What needs to alert?
Any disorder of walking, gesture, balance, a fall or the fear of falling should be referred to the geriatrician, ENT or physical medicine doctor and rehabilitation. When a functional diagnosis is established, the correction of the disorder is most often easy, even in the very old person ...
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Sources and notes:
> Guide for people with loss of autonomy and disability "Live better at home" . To order or download for free at www.servicesalapersonne.gouv.fr.
> The list of services to the person: www.servicesalapersonne.gouv.fr.