Each stage in life brings its own set of challenges. With becoming an adult comes the search for who you are personally and professionally. Becoming a parent brings on the responsibility for shaping another’s life. Entering your senior years presents its own challenges. These challenges, while common to many people over the age of 65, can be particularly tough to encounter given the amount of time and effort invested in creating a life that satisfies both the wants and needs of yourself and your family. Changes in health, finances and relationships can be difficult to deal with, especially if we aren’t prepared for them and don’t have a good support system.
We all have concerns about what lies ahead of us in life. Here are six concerns that are common among people 65 and older. AstraCare created this list for our readers to show that we all have similar concerns and that they aren’t alone. We also provide tips for overcoming many of these concerns.
Deteriorating Health: Let’s face it, our health condition will change as time goes on. We won’t able to move the same way we once did. Stairs will become a challenge and aches and pains won’t necessarily come from injury. However, with many senior citizens, changes in their state of health can have a profound effect on their quality of life. Health changes may include simple, yet important conditions like hearing loss or arthritis to debilitating diseases like heart disease and stroke. Dementia becomes more common as we get older with nearly half of all people age 80 and older being at risk.
Solutions: It’s important to stay physically active and maintain a healthy diet as it can help delay or prevent heart disease as well as certain cancers and diabetes. Even a daily walk around the block can have a significant impact on your health. If you don’t want to go it alone, check out your local senior center for information about walking groups in your area.
In terms of nutrition, a balanced diet, including daily servings of color-rich fruits (berries and melons) and dark, leafy-green vegetables (spinach), will keep you healthy.
Also, dehydration is common in seniors and is typically caused by certain diseases or medications. To stay hydrated, drink at least two liters of liquid per day (talk to your doctor if you suffer from heart or kidney ailments). This equates to nine glasses of liquid (preferably water) per day.
Loneliness and Depression: Unfortunately, as we get older, we may begin to find the community around us shrinking. Children move out and go to other parts of the country. They also become immersed in their own families. Friends get older and some may be lost to Alzheimer’s or, unfortunately, death. This can leave us with a void in our lives that’s difficult to fill. Also, changes in our lives and health can lead to depression.
Solutions: It’s in these times that finding companions and community is so critical. Whether it’s through a senior center, a church or companion care, make sure you or your loved one has someone with whom you can share your time and experience.
Loss of Independence: There are a variety of reasons why seniors may lose their sense of independence over time. Medical conditions, the inability to perform household tasks because of physical ailments and difficulty driving may all lead seniors to feel like the life they’ve led for so long is drifting away.
Solutions: The assistance of a home healthcare professional or home companion is important as it will fulfill their daily needs and allow seniors to continue to enjoy the comforts of home. The most important thing when it comes to dealing with the loss of independence is knowing when to ask for help and not being too proud to do so. This can be a great challenge as the transition into getting older is an emotional one. If your parent or loved one is facing this type of transition, be supportive and patient with them while encouraging an open dialogue.
Rising Healthcare Costs: Seniors face the daunting combination of the increased need for healthcare and the rising cost of healthcare. This can present a major challenge to your retirement budget, especially if you have not saved properly over the years.
Increased Risk of Injury: As we get older, not only does our sense of balance become compromised but our bones are more brittle. Seniors are at a much greater risk for falls and subsequent injury with one in three falling each year.
Solutions: Seniors can reduce their risk for injury by performing exercises to improve their balance and strength. These exercises may include walking and tai chi (a gentle exercise that involves slow and graceful dance-like movements). Other tips include, removing potentially hazardous objects like electrical cords, coffee tables and loose rugs to secure places, putting nonslip treads in potentially wet spaces like bathrooms and consulting your doctor in regards to medication.
Financial Exploitation: Unfortunately, senior citizens have been targeted in financial scams for several years, including schemes involving financial services providers and home repair workers.
Solutions: To protect yourself from financial scams, hire a lawyer to review all contracts, never give out personal information (especially over the phone) and utilize common sense with all financial transactions (if it’s too good to be true, it’s probably not true.)
The list of things to be concerned about as we get older is daunting, however, preparation is key. Taking steps to preserve your health, secure your finances and maintain personal relationships can pay dividends in the long run. Also, it’s important to know if and when you need help.
AstraCare’s in home health care professionals can provide a variety of services including 24-hour care, medication management, and respite care. To learn more, visit our contact us page or call us at (844) 811-4401.