Most people look forward to when they can retire. They see it as a time that they can finally slow down, relax and enjoy life more peacefully. While the best years of life can be the golden years, there are notwithstanding, some compelling challenges.
Because of their age, mature adults face unique problems in their circumstances of life. Below are five of the most common issues that seniors face:
Mental and Physical Health
While a lot of older people keep up their health and function quite well into their later years, aging still takes a toll. The biological effects of growing older lead to an increase of mental and physical health issues within the elderly population.
Aging naturally weakens our bones and slowly causes our hearing and eyesight to diminish. It’s normal to become less able to get around as we age.
About 10% of elderly individuals over 65 suffer from forms of dementia like Alzheimer’s disease. That increases up to 32% for individuals that are 85 and older. Because of mental or health issues, over 65% of folks over 65 need help with one or more daily care needs such as meal preparation, dressing or bathing.
The declining of one’s health can be very disheartening for a senior to accept. Worrying about how long they might be able to do the things they love and the fear of losing the independence they enjoy can bring a lot of anxiety to an aging person.
Expense of Nursing Home Care and Health Care
An increase of health issues usually means an increase in health care costs.
In general, the elderly have more doctor visits and hospital stays than other age groups. While Medicare does assist in covering some of the costs of health care for seniors, many are still left with half of their medical bills to pay on their own. This can add up to many thousands of dollars in a single year. Also, long-term care like mental health services, nursing home, or home care is not covered by Medicare.
The main option for the elderly who need constant care are residential nursing homes. Being quite costly, nursing homes don’t always have a reputation for outstanding care. A lot of nursing homes grapple with under-staffing problems that can lead to abuse or neglect of their patients.
Being in poor mental or physical condition, nursing home patients can not always defend themselves or get needed help if they are not being properly cared for or mistreated.
When a nursing home is the best solution for your elderly loved one, it’s vital that you research and find a place with a verified good reputation. Then stay involved with the care of your loved one.
If an elder individual becomes destitute, he or she is more likely to remain in that condition than a younger person because of having less opportunities for paid work that would help them out of poverty.
When they retire, most elderly must live on a fixed amount of money. When you combine this with the continually growing cost of living, many seniors just cannot afford the lifestyle they have been used to living. If a sudden and unexpected medical expense pops up, they can easily fall behind in paying their bills.
While seniors do receive benefits from social security that can help supplement their income, over 65% of elderly individuals who rely only on their social security benefits live below the poverty level.
Loneliness, Isolation and Bereavement
Elderly adults have fewer chances than younger people for social engagements. Their children move out, they retire from their jobs, they divorce or lose a spouse, and they become ill and unable to leave their homes.
A very common and most difficult challenge that a mature adult may experience is bereavement. So many seniors suffer the death of their spouse. It’s quite a difficult challenge in their lives. The mourning and grief that follows can last for years and involves loneliness, anxiety, depression among others. Loneliness is perhaps the most difficult to overcome and the most common.
Social isolation and chronic loneliness are often experienced by seniors living alone. This can lead to illness, depression and even death.
We cannot tell precisely how many of our elderly are affected by abuse because not very many are reporting it. However, it is estimated that a minimum of 10% of seniors have suffered from some form of abuse. This comes to hundreds of thousands of abuse cases each year.
Sad as it may be, some of the elderly are victims of abuse from their own family. These abuse cases involve emotional, psychological, physical or sexual abuse, financial exploitation and/or neglect.
The abuse of seniors poses a severe health issue for all people affected. It can even raise a senior’s risk of death.
If you have an elderly person you love, staying intently involved in their life can help avert their risk of being taken advantage of or abused.