Growing older brings with it a new set of age-related challenges. Even seniors who were once vibrant and independent in their heyday may begin to feel stressed or fearful about seemingly mundane aspects of life. Here’s how to help seniors deal with common fears.
1. Running Out of Money
Once seniors turn 55, lifestyle changes are likely to occur and provoke stress or fear. Retiring, for instance, may cause financial angst in some seniors, as they worry about not having enough money. Running short of funds is a common fear among the aging population.
Family members are advised to gradually broach the difficult topic of finances with elderly loved ones. Reassure financial security by creating a detailed budget for expenses, like food, housing, hobbies and travel. Include an emergency fund for home repair or medical care.
2. Loss of Loved Ones
Seniors are more likely to experience the loss of relationships as a spouse, relatives or friends pass on. Losing people who are close to them causes seniors more worry than imagining their own passing. The resulting stress can lead to other emotional responses, such as depression, anxiety and forgetfulness.
Ease the senior’s worries by openly discussing the possibilities of the future. Let the senior know the contents of a will or a living will, especially in regard to how assets should be distributed and how to handle last wishes in the event of incapacitation.
3. Ill Health
While age is not an instant cause of worsened health, 91 percent of seniors suffer from one or more chronic conditions. Older people commonly express fears about losing their cognitive or physical well-being. Seniors worry about the possibility of memory loss, dementia, physical weakness and frailty.
As physical limitations increase, more than half of all seniors will rely on family and friends for support. About one third use paid elder care services. Prepare for the road ahead by determining current and future care needs. Make plans to utilize home care agencies or help from relatives.
Now is the best time for the senior to begin an exercise regimen. Maintaining optimum physical health is key to warding off illness. A healthy lifestyle is also useful in reducing an individual’s stress levels. Seniors who feel unsteady during exercise may rely on a caregiver for extra support.
4. Loss of Independence
A sense of independence is cherished by people of all ages, and seniors are no different. As age gradually prevents seniors from independently performing routine household tasks, for instance, it is important for family members to help them reassert their independence.
Offer gift certificates for yardwork, household chores or other duties that the senior may no longer be able to complete on her own. Rather than demand, family members are advised to ask, for example, if the senior needs help with changing the lightbulb.
Discuss future plans for living at home, especially since aging in place requires a certain level of independent functioning. A senior who wishes to age in the comfort and familiarity of home may hire a professional caregiver for daily assistance with routine tasks.
5. Inability to Drive
Along with a loss of independence is the inability to continue driving. The poor vision, slower reflexes and loss of hearing that accompany age cause many seniors to be reluctant or unable to drive. Seniors resort to relying on family, friends or caregivers for reliable transportation.
Shuttles designated for seniors may be locally available to transport them to recreational activities, shopping centers or appointments. Transportation is a core duty of companion caregivers. When family members are unable to drive the senior, professional caregivers are ready and willing.
6. Isolation and Loneliness
A senior’s social outlets may be reduced as close friends and family pass away. Being unable to drive also heightens fears of loneliness and isolation. Remaining alone for extended periods of time causes a senior to feel unwanted. Making close friends as an older person is also challenging.
Companion caregivers are the answer to this common fear. Caregiving professionals build fulfilling relationships with care recipients, initiating conversations and recreation. Caregivers will also drive the aging adult to nearby senior centers for afternoons of cards or local day trips with peers.
7. Strangers in the Home
Seniors commonly fear new caregivers in their homes. It is normal for feelings of discomfort to arise, especially when a stranger provides intimate care. Older adults may have to rely on professional caregivers when family members are unavailable to provide in-home support.
Ease fears of new professionals in the home by carefully vetting a potential caregiver. Utilize a reputable home care agency for caregiving options. Licensed home care agencies perform full background checks on their caregiving professionals; agency caregivers are also insured and bonded.
Remember that a person who possesses all the qualifications may not be compatible with the senior’s personality. Remain present for the first few days the professional caregiver is on duty or until the senior becomes comfortable with being alone with the professional.
Functioning independently at home becomes increasingly challenging as seniors get older. Involving an elder care agency, like Assisting Hands Home Care, early on in the aging process will allow the senior to become accustomed to and comfortable with the various processes of home care.
Assisting Hands Home Care provides comprehensive senior care services. Caregiving duties include assistance with personal care, transportation, meal preparation, light housekeeping and fall prevention services. We are also excellent companions to seniors who are in need of a social support system.
Your loved one will soon start to see our companion caregivers as friends. While we tend to the daily, nonmedical care needs of seniors, our companion caregivers also engage in pleasant conversation and help our care recipients continue to pursue enjoyable hobbies.
Families with elderly loved ones living in Dallas, University Park, Highland Park or Richardson, Texas, are encouraged to consult Assisting Hands Home Care for the most compassionate home care services in the community. Our team is dedicated to improving the daily lives of seniors and ensuring each day is a fulfilling one.