Knowing Concerns of the Elderly Helps Ease Worries
Life is full of worries and concerns especially concerns of the elderly. They don’t just go away once we become older. We might like to think, “Those will be the carefree days … the days when I’m older and retired,” but the truth is: today’s basket of worries simply become different worries tomorrow.
As caregivers for the elderly, it’s important to know which anxieties might be stressing the thoughts and concerns of a senior. This is important so we can try to ease the worries and concerns of the elderly the best we can. As seniors, we need to recognize our anxieties so we can attempt to counter them with positive thoughts and actions.
Six of the most prevalent concerns of the elderly:
No one wishes to outlive their savings, yet with today’s unique set of circumstances, the fear may be justified. People live longer today than ever before. Healthcare costs continually increase. Retirement savings have decreased due to a poor economy. Running out of money is a serious concern; one that can be eased through careful financial planning.
Feeling Useless Many seniors, especially those who led very active lives, often feel they no longer have a purpose once they’ve retired from their job or their children have grown. Family members can help counter such a concern by keeping in touch with senior loved ones. Let them know they’re still an important part of your life. Another idea: give seniors useful projects to take care of such as organizing family photos, for example.
Loneliness As a senior’s social circles shrink and their ability to get out and about becomes increasingly more difficult, loneliness can set in. This is especially true for those seniors who were social butterflies in their youth. Call or visit elderly loved ones often. Help them attend social functions. This will help seniors remain socially engaged and lessen one of the concerns of the elderly.
Elder Abuse and Neglect
Sadly, the elderly are often the target of neglect, abuse, and fraudulent scams. Whether such unfortunate occurrences actually happen to a senior or they hear about them on TV or through friends, worry can arise. Family members and caregivers can ease this worry by letting seniors know they are cared for and protected.
Burdening a Caregiver Few people are comfortable with becoming a burden on another person. Unfortunately, as we age, we often become feeble or ill. Many of us can no longer do as many things for ourselves. Help is a necessity. The burden often falls upon a family member (because “that’s what families do for one another”), a friend or other caregiver. As the person assisting a senior, be sure to reassure them that they aren’t a burden. Another way to lessen the concerns of the elderly is to let them know that someday you may be in need of their help.
Moving from One’s Home There’s no place like home. So when it comes time to consider a residential move, it’s rarely an easy decision to make. It can often feel like an end, when in reality it can be a new beginning. Caregivers need to remind seniors that change is often a good thing. After the brief adjustment period, they’re sure to feel right at home in their new environment.
Don’t worry. Be happy.
It’s human nature to worry, and we worry because we care. Ironically however, when Dr. Karl A. Pillemer, Ph.D, a professor of human development at Cornell University, asked hundreds of seniors what they regret most when they look back upon their life, the majority answered: I wish I hadn’t spent so much of my life worrying.
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