Your senior loved one’s health is one of the most important things to you. It’s important to watch for signs of anemia, which can lead to loss of physical abilities, functional decline, and hospitalization. While anemia in seniors can have a lot of causes, there are signs you can look out for and ways to help your senior treat anemia. 

What Is Anemia? 

Anemia occurs when the red blood cell count becomes lower than it should be. Anemia is typically caused by a blood loss, reduction in red blood cell production, or destruction of red blood cells. Because hemoglobin in red blood cells carries oxygen to tissues in the body, anemia can have a serious impact on health. 

What Are Signs of Anemia?

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath

It’s important that you pay attention to any of the above symptoms, even if they just “seem like what happens when you get older.” Anemia is treatable, so if your loved one shows these symptoms, contact their doctor right away. If your loved one has an in-home health caregiver, they will also help monitor your senior for these symptoms, especially when they show up suddenly or as a result of a new medication. 

How Do You Treat Anemia?

Anemia can have many different causes and can be acute or chronic. Because treatment is often related to anemia’s cause, we’ll look at solutions and causes together. 

Iron Deficiency Anemia

This type of anemia is less common in seniors but can occur if their diet lacks enough iron or they are having trouble absorbing iron. If your senior has an iron deficiency, it’s important that your senior follow any instructions for supplements. You can also help your senior add more iron-rich foods to their diet including, 

  • Red meat (choose lean cuts to reduce fat)
  • Egg yolk
  • Nuts
  • Seafood
  • Beans
  • Whole grains

Anemia Caused by Chronic Disease

If your loved one’s anemia is unresponsive to changes in diet or prescribed supplements, it could be caused by chronic disease. Several conditions can cause anemia and treating them is important to relieving anemia symptoms. If your senior loved one shows signs of anemia, talk to their doctor about evaluating them for possible causes. Discovering the root cause of anemia is the best treatment. 

Anemia Caused by Medication or Treatments

Sometimes anemia isn’t caused by a deficiency or disease but is tied to medication or treatment. Certain antibiotics, ACE inhibitors, and anticonvulsants are a few of the medications that have been tied to anemia. In addition, some cancer treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy, can damage bone marrow and red blood cells, leading to anemia. If your senior loved one begins to show signs of anemia after starting or changing medication or undergoing treatments, let their doctor know right away. 

Caregiver Discussing Medication for Senior with Anemia
Caregiver Discussing Medication for Senior with Anemia

Home Care in Philadelphia from an Angel

Do you or your loved one need home care services in Philadelphia or the surrounding areas? We offer a wide range of services to help seniors and those with special needs live their best lives. Contact us to set up an appointment and we will match you with one of our Angels or help you choose your Angel as part of the PAS program.