woman with stomach pain According to UpToDate, a clinical decision support resource, nearly 40 percent of adults hospitalized are over the age of 65. Your elderly loved ones have a two in five chance of being admitted to the hospital during their “golden years”. What are some of the common causes to know?

Body Pain

With age, we become more susceptible to soft tissue, muscle and joint pain. For seniors, this pain can present in a variety of ways for different reasons. Some common areas include:

  • Abdomen: May result from food poisoning or another digestive infection.
  • Chest: May result from heart disease, heart attack, blood clots or injury
  • Spine: May result from neck or back injury, a disc disorder or arthritis.

Chronic Conditions

Unfortunately, it can be a challenge for older adults to manage the complications of chronic conditions. Two of the most prevalent diseases are:

  • COPD: Symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease include coughing, shortness of breath and fatigue.
  • Diabetes: Per the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), seniors who experience chronic complications from diabetes have two or more hospitalizations a year.


When infections are left untreated, serious complications can result – even death. Seniors and their caregivers should especially be on the lookout for the following two:

  • Pneumonia: The danger of this infection is two-fold. For seniors, it’s one of the most common upper respiratory infections and the leading cause of death due to infectious disease. Symptoms of pneumonia include shortness of breath, coughing and confusion.
  • Urinary Tract Infection: Did you know 31 percent of seniors are chronically dehydrated? When older adults don’t drink enough fluid, painful UTIs can result.

Medical Emergency

In many cases, we cannot predict a medical emergency. A person could be fine one minute and in distress the next. The most common medical emergencies that can lead to hospitalization for seniors include:

  • Accidents: Falls are the leading cause of injury; another common one is traffic accidents.
  • Adverse Effects to Medications: It can be hard to keep track of the growing number of medicines your loved one takes. When a new one is added to the mix, unexpected side effects and negative drug interactions could result.
  • Congestive Heart Failure: Heart disease, the number one killer of men and women in the US, is often the underlying cause of chest pain, shortness of breath and heart failure.
  • Stroke: Although this is the third leading cause of death, symptoms of stroke are distinct enough for someone to recognize and get help in time, before long-term damage occurs.
    Seeing a loved one in the hospital can be very difficult for families. However, it’s important to know the common causes of senior hospitalization and recognize the warning signs of a medical emergency, so you know what to do in this crisis situation.

Avon Health Center is a local resource for questions about health, aging and skilled nursing. care. To learn more about the services we offer, contact us today!