Getting old is serious and tasking business.
However, many caregivers, friends and loved ones are unaware of the many challenges elderly people face – and sincerely wish you understood.
These challenges, if properly understood, will make the life of the senior citizen a tonne easier.
As a matter of fact, Seniors are often frustrated that others who are not within their age range have serious issues understanding these challenges of theirs.
So, if you have a Senior citizen or an elderly person at home, as a friend or as a relative, here are the 10 most important things they wish you knew.
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10 Challenges Elderly People Face – And Wish You Understood
These challenges are listed here randomly. Accordingly thus, kindly take every one of them dead serious.
1. The Reality Of Being Old
There is no day that the aged don’t worry about the fact that they’re old and look upon it as a curse – in the truest sense of the word.
Forget the talk about the ‘joys of growing old’ or the ‘pleasures of grey hair’.
The simple truth is that, the longer one stays on the surface of the earth, the harder it becomes to cope with the bare basics of life – and things that once did not present any challenge.
For instance, the challenge of not being able to drive for up to 6-8 hours at a stretch haunts the elderly when they’re driving, their challenge navigating mere steps or their inability to sprint on demand all make them look to their ‘past glory’ with some sort of dangerous nostalgia.
When you factor in the consideration that a mere house has to be made friendly to the elderly before they can enjoy same, you’ll completely agree that age is indeed a double-edged ‘blessing’ – a fact every Senior knows and perfectly understands.
How You Can Help Seniors Cope With The Old Age Challenge
The challenge of old age in the aged, Seniors or the elderly manifests itself in constantly talking about the young in an obsessive way, arguing that one can achieve a feat that is well beyond what his/her body can tolerate etc.
Frequently too, this reality is characterized by statements from the elderly with the prefix ‘when I was younger’.
While this prefix is harmless in itself, when used incessantly, especially in a conversation – or a short span of time, kindly understand that you have an elderly one at hand who is facing the dark music of advanced age.
To help Seniors who are facing this challenge overcome it and ultimately, feel better about themselves, never go out of your way to prove your vigor or youth – if you happen to around them.
Further (and more importantly), do not laugh at their failing strength, energy or general ability.
This should be your code even in the face of serious physical challenges exhibited by friends, loved ones and the elderly who happen to share the same space as you.
Finally, help them with the tasks they may have – with a cheerful and free spirit.
And, when doing it, ensure that you appear as natural and as polite as you can be.
Remember, age is the logical point for us all – if we’re lucky enough to inhabit the planet earth for any reasonable stretch of time.
2. Fear of Poverty
Closely related to the reality of being old discussed above is the actual fear of poverty.
This fear is so strong that it affects almost all the old and elderly – both male and female and is known to only spare the very wealthy who have storehouses of wealth and do not have any monetary challenge.
However, for the rest of the population, right after retirement, the fear that their pensions will not be enough to cater for their (often, growing) needs – and the needs of their loved ones is real and intense enough.
This causes a lot of financial tension and worry – worry and tension that some of us sincerely believe anyone above 60 should never have to face.
To drive home this point, Business Insider reports that more than 70% of Seniors simply cannot afford to retire for financial reasons.
The stark implications of this fact is quite alarming – and scary both for the elderly and even the not-so-old.
How You Can Help The Aged Cope With Financial Stress Better
Observed from the point of view of a younger person, this fear is expressed variously.
Such remarks as ‘if only I had enough money to buy this or that’, ‘how I wish I had enough strength for s second job’ etc are all indications that a Senior is experiencing the fear of poverty.
However, the biggest mistake younger persons make under this head is that they attempt to give ‘charity’ to the aged as a way to make them feel better or financially secure.
However, almsgiving, while important and utterly necessary in extreme cases, do not necessarily help the situation.
Often, it winds up worsening it.
This is because older persons who are scared of their financial future and the anguish poverty brings are already persons who are in the habit of working and earning for themselves.
They are thus no stranger to the joy and happiness obtainable from the efforts of just labor.
Giving them money or other financial assistance thus takes away that pride – and importantly, their confidence to run their lives in the manner they once did and are comfortable with.
Instead, a source of income that they can handle without stress should be set out for them.
For instance, if they’re computer literate, they could try affiliate marketing as an option to retirement. Or, if they really wish to network and still meet new persons, network marketing could also be figured in as an option.
In the alternative, property could be raised for them so that they can receive the rents therefrom and supplement their pension.
The point being made here is simple: older persons, if they are to maintain their dignity, are to somehow feel independent of their ‘helpers’ or ‘sponsors’.
However, while achieving this, it must also be ensured that they work in the most minimum manner possible – or permitted by their age.
This is the thin and fragile balance all those who are eager to help Seniors and the elderly who are troubled by the fear of poverty must strike.
3. Failure To Understand Modern Technology
Most elderly people have no challenge understanding basic tech such as the working of an manual transmission (or how it’s worked) or how to manipulate a simple, feature cellphone.
However, when it comes to ‘complex’ things like Facebook, the internet, Google, a computer, a smartphone or using an activity tracker, hell is often let loose…
…these things are simply way beyond the ‘power’ of the majority of the elderly population today.
Accordingly, thus, elderly persons are always scared and intimidated to no end when faced with the prospect of technology – especially new tech that they are not yet acquainted with.
This is an understandable fear that causes serious dependency on others – especially the youth and younger persons who usually master technology at a more impressive rate than the older generation.
How To Help The Aged Cope With Tech
The challenges arising from failure to cope with technology from the elderly is characterized by a reluctance to use new invention – or worse, change old ways when new – and better ones are readily available.
When Seniors and the elderly start ignoring the latest – useful gadgets/devices and begin the process of quoting how some piece of tech is for younger persons, silently understand that they’re dealing with the blow technology loves to hit all that are no longer young.
To help out, kindly understand the primary reason the elderly detest modern tech in the first place: its lack of Senior friendliness.
To completely help Seniors and the elderly overcome this challenge, you must consciously seek out elderly-friendly tech for them.
One of such could be cellphones designed especially for Seniors. Or, if you’re interested in making it an overall experience for them, consider making their entire home – or yours (if they live with you) elderly-friendly.
Once Seniors discover that tech could actually come down to their level, you’ll be pleasantly surprised as their relatives, friends and caregivers how easy they’ll become open to the idea of technology – especially new tech.
4. Fear Of Death
Forget Valar Morghulis – all men actually fear – or even dread death!
However, this fear/dread is actually more acute and precise when one has approached a certain age and it is very clear and very certain that death can occur at any moment, even naturally.
This is the point where it becomes hard for Seniors and the elderly.
Many do not handle it well and as a matter of fact, go brooding and engaging in all manner of irrational thoughts and behavior that they wind up the worst companions one can ever think of.
It can really be hard being around an elderly person who is haunted by the thoughts of death – especially if you’re younger and do not share in his/her eagerness to join relatives, friends and foes long departed.
How To Help Seniors Cope With The Fear Of Death
Benjamin Franklin once argued that nothing was (is) certain in life except death and taxes.
While that statement was made many centuries ago, it is still valid today as the very minute it was made.
Nothing has really changed – and the fear is manifested in various ways.
Once an elderly person begins to talk about the casket he/she will like to rest in after the last breath, starts frequently mentioning relatives, friends and loved ones long dead, begins to bore listeners with the type of funeral he/she wants or worse, begin to incessantly talk about how his/her body should be disposed of after death, then, kindly understand that these statements are not inspired by a desire to keep his/her family or friends abreast with personal wishes…
…rather, they are inspired by the fear of death and the great beyond!
Now, if you wish to help any aged person cope with this fear better, here are the things you need to do:
- Encourage him/her to make peace with himself – and if belief in the supernatural is present, the god believed in.
- Make it known to the elderly person that death is a natural process of the world, much like birth and life – there is thus nothing to be afraid of (as there is usually nothing to be feared from birth).
- Finally, you could also engage hospice care for their benefit – if everything else is not giving you the results you desire.
These tips should work – and as a matter of fact, do wonders.
In our experience, no one has ever reported their failure when administered to the aged who had (great) apprehension about passing on.
5. Fear Of Senility/Dementia And Its Acute Reality
The fear of senile dementia in older adults is real – and terrifying.
Seeing firsthand what this does to other Seniors, the older ones you love are terrified about the prospect of them ending up in the same shoes and what this truly means for them.
Imagine someone who was highly independent – maybe, even a university professor back in time unable to recall events that happened some moments back, names of very important persons in their lives (e.g. children and spouses) and may be, even forgetting their own names – and what they once did for a living!
This thought is really terrifying – and leads many elderly persons into serious depression and complete hopelessness – especially at its onset – usually, around 60 years.
No one, always remember, wants to be a liability to someone who would rather not bear the burden…Seniors are no exception.
Sadly, senility makes certain that Seniors do not only become a burden but are an immense burden who whoever is closest, irrespective of his/her relationship to the older person or the fact of willingness/choice or its absence.
This is truly a challenge that torments all the elderly persons that we know today.
How To Help Older Persons Cope With Senility
The earliest sign of this challenge is the fact of Seniors and other elderly persons forgetting important dates in their lives such as birthdays, anniversaries and appointments for no clear reason – or ‘reasons’ other than the reality of being too/very busy.
When this happens, it is swiftly followed by forgetting other sensitive personal information that no one ordinarily ought to forget: details like one’s cellphone number, vehicle registration number or frequently used passwords.
To help elderly persons who have this challenge, introduce the concept of actively encouraging them to commit their tasks to paper and make constant reference to it, so that they’ll actually forget less.
Aside this, puzzle solving, mind games, chess and other mentally stimulating activities are known to help fight this challenge of the old.
Accordingly thus, kindly ensure that your elderly and aged loved ones are engaged in reading activities that will strengthen their brains and aid memory retention.
Finally, if all these cannot help – or are helping at a slower than the desired rate, then, kindly deploy technology to your aid.
In this respect, options like the 31-day pill organizer (available on Amazon) and the RF item finder (also available on Amazon) should be deployed and will certainly serve in a super awesome manner in mitigating the situation – or at least, making it less challenging.
Wrapping Up Part 1 Of 10 Challenges Elderly People Face & Wish You Understood
As can be clearly seen, the task of getting old is one that we would all face; if not now, certainly later – if we’re blessed enough 🙂
Unfortunately, this task comes with challenges that must be mastered if any Senior (or caregiver) is to make sense of the gray hairs to come.
This post has seen to that.
If you enjoyed it, kindly click here to read the concluding part.
And, remember to share with someone who is blessed enough to have an elderly or Senior person close either as a family relative, friend or caregiver.