Humankind as a whole has come a very long way from a time when seniors (at that time only at an age we would now call ‘middle’) would leave the earth one cold evening, never to return.
Today, as longevity improves, and as we learn more each day about combating disease and illness, our seniors get to enjoy the joys of retirement, basking in the experience they acquired over the years.
However, we’re still a far cry from providing seniors the best possible quality of life. So let’s explore what our community in Charlotte can do to help our elders enjoy their time on this good earth.
Mental health awareness
The CDC estimates that between 1 and 5 percent of the general elderly population suffers from depression, but that number climbs to over 10 percent in the elderly who require home or hospital health care.
Having that number in mind, it’s clear why we need to keep an eye out for the signs and symptoms that an elderly member of our family might be affected, and take action. We may believe that certain emotional strife is a given in altering life circumstances – like losing a spouse, moving or retiring. But depression is much more than sadness and grief, and if not treated, it can severely cripple someone’s quality of life.
There are plenty of mental health centers that can help you and your family find the best treatment for your senior, so don’t hesitate to ask for it.
As we get older, our bodies undergo plenty of changes, and illness and pain become a part of daily life.
In order to help our senior citizens, we should make it a point to encourage them to take part in different activities. This can be something as simple as going for a walk with them as often as we can, or signing them up for an activity that is appropriate for their levels of mobility and health.
Luckily, Charlotte has plenty to offer in terms of activities and socializing opportunities, so make sure you encourage the seniors in your family and community to attend an event, go to a neighborhood meeting, or simply visit a landmark or museum. The more they move, the healthier they will be, and the better they will be able to cope with the demands of old age.
We all know that most accidents happen in the home, and with the elderly, they can be specifically detrimental. A broken bone or twisted ankle is harder to bear as our bones and tendons age.
Fortunately, medical alert systems have come a long way in the last decade. You can now install a system that will both be efficient and very timely, and able to alert the right professionals should an accident happen.
Make sure that your elderly family members have an appropriate system installed in their home and that it is also regularly maintained. You may never need to use it, but knowing it’s there will take a load off your mind and the mind of your elderly relatives.
Make them feel useful
Probably one of the worst things about getting older is feeling like you no longer contribute to society, and feeling like you’re a burden to your family. To alleviate this feeling in our senior citizens, encouraging them to pitch in should be at the top of our list.
Granted, there are only so many things that some of them may be able to do, but finding a task specifically for them shouldn’t be too hard.
You can ask them to fold laundry or to make grocery lists. You can ask them to help you prep meals and keep you company so you don’t have to do it alone. They can also recap the news for you, or even TV shows if you’re not in the mood for watching an episode you’ve missed.
Don’t patronize seniors – and don’t make them feel like you’re only including them out of pity. Make them feel truly valued and a necessary cog in your family unit.
Getting older is scary: and as the younger generation, it’s our job to help our elders cope with it the best they can. After all, they have been there to help us all our lives. It is now our time to return the favor.