The physical changes that occur in old age also bring health problems with them. Seniors often suffer from several illnesses at the same time. Often these are accompanied by mental and physical limitations. The combination of both can in turn result in frailty and thus lower resilience and an increased risk of illness.

Which problems are most common?

Many diseases such as high blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke occur more frequently in old age than in younger years – but they are not typical signs of old age. The situation is different from signs of illness that occur when several organ systems are restricted in their function due to signs of age and the interplay between the brain, nerves, and muscles is lacking. Having to walk in a near shop to buy limo cover would be a bit challenging for seniors.


About 15% of women over 65 and about 7% of men are affected by incontinence, and about 25% of those over 80 – if they live at home. For nursing home residents, the numbers are twice as high.

Risk of falling

Due to the decrease in muscle mass and strength, deterioration in vision and balance, 30% of those over 65 and 50% of those over 80 fall at least once a year.

Gait disorders

With increasing age, more and more people need a walking aid: gait changes are the result of the deteriorated movement sequences and general gait uncertainty due to the reduced activity of the sensory organs. The walking speed decreases every year – if the speed falls below 1.4 meters per second, everyday difficulties arise, for example during the green phase of a traffic light.


More than a quarter of all 65-year-olds complain of dizziness, which is often caused by the poor interaction between the balance organ, eyes, and musculoskeletal system.


For many older people, difficulty swallowing, decreased feeling of hunger, and chewing problems, for example, due to a poorly fitting prosthesis, lead in the long term to an undersupply of proteins and micronutrients. While this problem affects around 4% of all elderly people, it affects two-thirds of all nursing home residents. Persistent malnutrition leads to an increase in the incidence of illness and death.

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