NEW YEAR... SAME FEARS!
WHAT THE ELDERLY FEAR THE MOST AND WAYS YOU CAN HELP
By Rachel Bryant, OTA/L Care Manager for Care Resources, LLC
Studies show a common thread in the top fears that seniors have while they face the challenges of staying active and independent as they age. Understanding and acknowledging these fears can help to facilitate productive conversation and ease worries. Some of the top fears are:
Losing Independence: According to a study by AARP, 90% of seniors want to remain in their home.There are some things that can be done to help seniors age in place. Prepare the home: Install bathroom rails, lowering shelving for easier access to needed items, add more lighting, and remove hazards. There are many home safety assessment checklists that can be found online. Consider available technology such as an emergency response system or home monitoring system. Determine their needs: Assess the person’s daily and weekly care-giving needs. Find professional services to assist in needed areas such as housekeepers, yard maintenance, grocery delivery, transportation, etc. Seek out community resources including in home services. Contact local organizations such as the Area Agency on Aging and AARP to learn about what may be available in the area. Be observant: Be alert to changes in mood, appetite, memory, or weight loss as these changes may signal something serious warranting a visit to the doctor. Daily Phone Calls: With our frenzied, hectic pace of life sometimes we just can’t call. There are phone call services that will make a daily call for you. Some benefits of such services are combating isolation and depression, reminding loved ones about pills and appointments, provide assurance that your loved one is well each day.
Declining Health: Healthy aging tips don’t necessarily apply only to the elderly. These tips can be implemented at any age. Be active, eat well, practice prevention, understand your health status, get enough sleep, cultivate relationships, and reduce stress. These don’t have to be done all at once. Start small with just a few steps and add as you go.
Running out of Money: Transitioning from the accumulations to the withdrawal phase is hard for retirees. Some ways to help are: Communication: Assistance from a professional financial planner may be advisable. Should your loved one need assistance with managing their finances, don’t force the issue rather sit down and talk things through. Help your loved one understand that the context isn’t to take control but to protect them from potential harm. Secure Legal Documents: Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is critical to ensuring that a loved one’s financial wishes are withheld in the event that they become incapacitated. Coach them to avoid scams. Respect their wishes.
Not being able to drive: For seniors, losing their license has the same weight as being diagnosed with cancer. Losing a license is often followed by depression and a significant loss in quality of life. If you find yourself in the position of talking to an older loved one about their driving remember the following: Be respectful. Remember that driving is a vital part of independence. Try to understand the difficulty of the transition. Help find alternatives. Research transportation options such as Uber, GoGoGrandparent, JoinPapa, and local government services in the area. Offer rides when possible.
Caring for an elderly family member or loved one can be both emotionally and physically challenging. Making sure your loved one gets the care he/she needs can be a daunting task. The services of an Aging Life Care Manager can relieve your stress by helping you make care giving decisions, navigate the elder care system, and supervise care.
Please call us today 727-842-3344, so we can begin to learn your story and how we can help you plan for your best future.