It is well known that as a society we are living much longer thanks to improved living conditions and health care. While being able to reach old age is something to be thankful for, in many ways, there are several challenges facing the elderly, which we all need to pay more attention to. Often it is not until we start to age ourselves or we see a loved one struggling that we sit up and take notice, but as a society, we can do more to make life easier for our aging population. This article outlines the biggest challenges that elderly people face today and how we can support them and enable them to age with dignity.
Ageism and a lost sense of purpose
There are lots of outdated stereotypes about elderly people, which can lead to isolation and marginalization in a lot of communities. By coming up with innovative ways to involve older people in the community through social events, we can not only help them to maintain a sense of identity and self-esteem but also tap into the wealth of knowledge and experience they have, which is so vital for the development of society.
While we are living longer, unfortunately, the world of employment and retirement has not evolved at the same pace. Many elderly people are able and more than willing to work past the standard retirement age, but the opportunities are not there. In addition, managing day to day finances and planning for later life can be challenging for older generations as much is now done online or remotely. This can also leave them more vulnerable to fraud and scams.
Difficulty with everyday tasks and mobility
A person’s mobility and dexterity will naturally decline as they age, which makes completing everyday tasks more difficult. This can gradually cause people to care for themselves and prevents them from being social, pursuing interests, or taking part in activities they enjoy. More support is needed to enable elderly people not only to live independently through products and programs which focus on safety, balance, fitness, and mobility but also to ensure they can continue to thrive as an individual.
Finding the right care provision
When complete independence is no longer practical, many elderly people require additional care. Sometimes this care can be provided by family members, but this can place a lot of strain on the caregiver in terms of balancing this with work and other family responsibilities. These caregivers need to be given the training, resources, and emotional support necessary to help them deliver the best care for their loved ones and themselves.
In some cases, it is more appropriate for a professional caregiver to be employed on a regular basis, e.g., when there are complex medical conditions and/or physical disabilities. With a comprehensive elder care service, the elderly person is able to remain in their own home.
Access to healthcare services
Healthcare can be complicated and disjointed for elderly people, especially for those struggling with long term conditions. The care requires lots of different medical professionals and clinics to coordinate delivery of medication and other types of care.
End of life preparations
We all need to prepare for the inevitable, but death is often a difficult topic for people to discuss or make plans for. Elderly individuals and their families need support when considering the end of life options available, financial implications, and how to ensure that the individual’s wishes are respected.