Social situations will vary from family to family. These social situations can contribute to the social, physical and psychological issues in older adults and ultimately lead to serious health risks if they are not addressed properly.
Some things that can impact the physical and mental health of a senior are as follows:
· The loss of a spouse-When a spouse passes, the individual’s life changes in every way. Depression and loneliness may occur. When we grieve, it can affect the way we eat, sleep and socialize.
· Physical changes-Seniors who are dealing with physical issues sometimes have a hard time adjusting to the changes happening within their body. The inability to live the life we are used to can be a very hard reality for some. Those who can no longer work are missing a big part of who they are. Those who were once very active, who cannot drive or even move around like they used to, may experience a feeling of loss regarding what they “used to be”.
· Not wanting to be a burden on family- Knowing adult children are busy with work and their own children may cause a aging loved one to not be honest when it comes to their health issues. Not wanting to be a bother to their family, sometimes they will not be honest when it comes to their abilities. This can cause further physical problems or unnecessary falls. Know when your aging parents are going to the doctor and when they start missing doctor appointments, it’s time to step in.
· Financial Stress-Those who have retired who have not been able to put enough money away feel financial stress once they stop working.
It is very important for us to take care of ourselves while we age. A balanced diet and regular exercise can help keep us healthy and protect us from whatever social situations that may arise.
Aging is inevitable. The way we prepare for it can make a difference in our physical and psychological well being.
Stacey Krout Minor, PhD(c), MSN, RN