Owners' Blog

Know the Symptoms of Anemia in the Elderly

By Hilary and Greg Eldridge

You’ve probably heard of anemia, but did you know that this serious health condition is extremely common in the elderly? As a family caregiver, you are responsible for helping your aging loved one stay healthy and safe. You or a senior care provider do everything you can to take care of their physical needs, but you may not know they are dealing with anemia.

If you suspect your elderly relative may have anemia or you are worried that they may in the future, it’s wise to become familiar with the risk factors, symptoms and treatments for this problematic condition.

What is Anemia?

When someone is anemic, it means that they don’t have a typical amount of red blood cells in their bloodstream. A simple blood test can determine whether a person is anemic or not. There are many different causes of anemia that include poor diet, loss of blood, or problems with the production of red blood cells.

Elderly people that suffer from anemia are in danger of developing some serious health issues. When the red blood cells are few, not as much oxygen can be carried to all the tissues of the body. The heart and lungs work much harder to make up for the lack of oxygen, causing them to strain. Organ damage is also common in anemic people because they are often starved for oxygen. Arrhythmia, angina and heart attacks are also common in the elderly.

Symptoms of Anemia in the Elderly

Without treatment for anemia, seniors can suffer greatly. That’s why it’s so important for family caregivers and senior care providers to be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms that the aging adult may have anemia. The most common symptoms for anemia include fatigue, headaches, rapid or irregular heartbeat, cold extremities, pale skin and shortness of breath.

Seniors with a poor diet and nutrition are very likely to develop anemia. Having a family history of the condition can also increase the risk. Family caregivers should get their loved one to a doctor as soon as possible to get a simple blood test that can reveal whether the elderly adult has anemia.

Treatment and Prevention of Anemia in Seniors

When an elderly person has been diagnosed with anemia, the doctor will usually prescribe some iron supplements. They must be careful that the supplements don’t interact negatively with any other medications they are taking.

The doctor may also recommend that family caregivers and senior care providers take special steps to give the elderly person more nutritious and iron-rich food. Caregivers should focus on meals and snacks that include food like nuts, whole grain, red meat, egg yolks, green leafy vegetables, shellfish and legumes. With this kind of treatment, the elderly person will be feeling better in no time and head of any long-term damage that untreated anemia can cause to the body.



If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring senior care in Woodstock, GA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers, call (678) 430-8511.