Aging comes with many different challenges. One of the obvious challenges that the elderly face is a decline in health but with the advancements in medical technology today, many seniors are living longer now more than ever before. Because they’re living longer, they’re also remaining more self-sufficient, which is definitely a good thing but with their self-sufficiency, there are still challenges that they face daily.
There was a point in time where it was thought and expected that once you hit retirement, life was supposed to be much easier… it was supposed to be the time where you could really relax and live out your “golden years” stress and worry-free but that’s not always the case. There are always going to be concerns. Some of those concerns are concerns that all people face, regardless of age, but then some concerns are very specific to the elderly age group. Take a look at some of the challenges that the elderly face on a daily basis and how you can possibly add some relief to the life of an elderly loved one of yours.
If you take a look at the design of how certain homes are built, you will quickly be able to see that a lot of homes weren’t designed with longevity in mind. Lots of homes, including the homes of your elderly loved ones, have designs and floor plans that work for younger generations but for the elderly, sometimes there are certain home modifications that need to be made in order to make their home safe and comfortable for them to continue living in. Some helpful home modifications include:
- Installing Grab Bars: Installing grab bars in areas that have high risks for falls are very important to the safety of your loved one. Places like the bathroom and bedroom will provide extra mobility support.
- Updating Flooring If Needed: The type of flooring has a lot to do with how safe an elderly loved one is in their own home. The Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines is a very helpful resource to help your loved ones get the right type of flooring for their home.
- Updating Lighting Options: As your loved ones get older, sometimes their vision declines and may need better lighting in their homes. Whether it’s adding more table lamps or floor lamps, better lighting in their home will also prevent falls and bumping into things. Another helpful tip is to add nightlights in the bathrooms and hallways of their homes so they can see better in case they get up in the middle of the night needing to go to the restroom.
You hear more and more how seniors are choosing to “age in place,” meaning that they don’t want to move into a nursing home or assisted living as they age… they want to age in the comfort of their own home. Well, that’s certainly understandable because their home is where they’re most comfortable and what they’re familiar with but sometimes their conditions won’t allow them fully live in their own home without a little help.
Certain tasks like cleaning the shower/tub or washing dishes and vacuuming become more difficult to do with certain conditions like arthritis. One of the best alternatives that will allow them to age in place in the comfort of their own home is to look into the costs of hiring a senior care worker. The senior care worker would be able to come in as often as the senior needed them to and simply help them with the daily chores around the house. It may not be much but for that senior, it can make a world of difference in their outlook on life because they would be able to maintain their home and live there comfortably.
Losing one’s sense of purpose can make anyone feel like their life is not worth living. It can make you question why you’re on this Earth and for what? The thing with the elderly is that when they were younger and had young children, they knew their purpose. For most Baby Boomers, their purpose was to provide for their families and to take care of the children and keep a clean home.
Once their children grew up and started families of their own, they began to feel the beginning stages of losing their sense of purpose because they no longer needed to take care of their children… but then their grandchildren came along a renewed their sense of purpose! But once their grandchildren grow up, they fall back into that feeling of not being needed anymore.
Helping the elderly feel a sense of purpose and stay meaningfully engaged is detrimental to their mental health and overall quality of life. If you have an elderly loved one, ask them for their help with certain things… even if you don’t need their help. Ask them to help you with cooking a certain recipe or ask them to help you in the garden… you the key is to play to their strengths… ask them for help with something you know they’re good at. That will not only boost their mood but it will also renew their sense of purpose; just like everyone else, they also want to feel wanted and needed, regardless of how old they are.