No matter how hard we try to fight it, every day our bodies are aging. While it’s true the golden retirement years can be some of the best of our lives, many elderly people still face significant issues through the aging process.
We’re all aware that health problems will likely develop as we age, but there other, equally worrying issues faced by the elderly. Here are just a few of the most common difficulties people face as they reach their golden years.
Mental and physical health deterioration
Unfortunately, the aging process often brings complications with our mental or physical health. As we age, our bones and muscles weaken, our mobility often decreases and it’s not uncommon for sight or hearing issues to develop.
Approximately 10% of the over 65’s will develop dementia-type mental problems (including Alzheimer’s) while that figure increases to 32% in the over 85’s. Also, it’s estimated around two-thirds of the over 65’s will require some form of assistance e.g. help with bathing or cooking.
When mental or physical health problems become debilitating, there is often no option other than to seek professional, full-time care in a nursing home or facility.
Health/nursing care costs
As our health decreases, we’re more likely to need medical help. In most countries, the elderly are expected to pay these costs themselves, with little support from the state. For example, in the US, seniors are expected to pay around half of their medical care bills. Should care home facilities be required, the fees are also the responsibility of the elderly in most countries.
Once we reach retirement, most of us will live the rest of our days on a fixed income. This typically involves a pension built up during our years working. Older people have considerably less earning potential, partly caused by potential health problems, but also often through a lack of employers willing to employ the aged.
While many elderly people can live relatively well on their pension, one of the most common fears among the aged is receiving unexpected medical bills, which can result in falling behind on other payments such as rent, utility bills, etc.
Loneliness or isolation
In a recent US census, it was found that a shocking 28% of over 65’s live alone, often following the bereavement of a spouse. Losing a husband or wife is one of life’s most disturbing experiences and frequently leads to depression, loneliness, and other associated anxieties.
To make matters worse, the elderly often find decreased social contact from children moving away or friends passing. In a worst-case scenario, mobility issues sometimes leave the elderly housebound, unable to go out to visit friends.
To combat loneliness, it’s a good idea to persuade elderly relatives to consider moving to assisted living facilities. Most elderly people don’t want to lose their independence, but assisted living accommodation, like the service offered by Gatesworth, allows the elderly to live an almost-normal life with the support network of friendly, similar-aged neighbors on their doorstep. Assisted living centers also often have healthcare provision on site, should anything unexpected happen.
If you or a family member are suffering any of the above problems, remember there is support available to help you find solutions. Consult your local GP to find out what extra assistance might be available.