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Chronic Health Problems and Interventions for the Elderly Family

  • By: Carol Ann Podgorski & Ann E. Cornell
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

A chronic health problem is defined as any ongoing condition, illness, or disease that lasts over a year, has the potential to impair health or physical function, and requires ongoing medical attention. While chronic health problems include specific illnesses, they also encompass nonspecific syndromes, which usually involve multiple causes and organ systems. Examples include frailty, delirium, frequent falling, and dizziness. Compared to other age groups, elders are disproportionately affected by chronic conditions. The most common health problems in this cohort include arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, stroke, cancer, and visual and hearing impairments.

Chronic health problems typically affect more than the person with the condition. The relationship between chronic illness and family relationships is recursive in that illnesses and families affect each other. ...

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