Adjusting to the physical and psychological changes that come with aging is in no way easy. You might even have difficulty performing simple tasks that were once merely a part of your daily routine (e.g., walking, showering, eating, etc.).
However, these issues are not impossible to beat. Through proper education and professional guidance, any aging adult can easily maintain their quality of life, even as they enter their senior years.
Here are the top 10 most common aging issues and how to overcome them:
Deciding to Live in a Nursing Home or Not
Are you uncomfortable with the idea of living in a nursing home? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Aging in place has become increasingly popular as more seniors decide to spend their days at home rather than in a controlled facility. In fact, statistics show that around 33.4 million seniors choose to live at home—either independently or with their loved ones.
Deciding whether or not to live in a nursing home is a personal decision that depends on a variety of factors, including a person’s physical and cognitive health, social support system, and financial resources.
For some people, a nursing home may be the best option because it can provide round-the-clock care, assistance with daily activities, and access to medical professionals. However, it can also be expensive and may limit a person’s autonomy and freedom.
On the other hand, living at home with the help of in-home care services or with the support of family members may be preferable for others. It can provide a sense of independence and familiarity, but it also requires arranging for and coordinating care, which can be challenging.
While retiring in the comfort of your own home can be quite liberating, don’t be too quick to dismiss the possibility of living in a senior facility. Senior homes can be quite beneficial to elderly adults with specific needs and requirements. We strongly suggested discussing these matters with your family first to reach an informed decision.
It’s important to consider the individual’s care needs, preferences, and goals before making a decision about nursing home care. Consulting with a geriatric care manager or an elder law attorney can also provide valuable information and guidance.
Rising Number of Physical Conditions and Complications
It’s no secret that the aging body grows more susceptible to various complications. The issues you face could range from minor inconveniences like having blurry eyesight to more serious chronic conditions such as hypertension.
As people age, the risk of developing physical conditions and complications increases. Some common age-related physical conditions include:
Arthritis: This is a common condition that causes inflammation and pain in the joints.
Cardiovascular disease: This includes conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, and stroke, which can lead to heart attack, heart failure, and other serious health problems.
Diabetes: This is a condition that affects the way the body processes sugar and can lead to serious health complications if left untreated.
Osteoporosis: This is a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle, increasing the risk of fractures.
Cancer: The risk of developing cancer increases with age, and older adults are more likely to be diagnosed with certain types of cancer.
Loss of mobility: elderly people are more likely to have mobility issues such as poor balance or difficulty walking, which can increase the risk of falls and fractures.
Geriatric depression: elderly people are more likely to experience depression, which can have negative effects on overall health and well-being.
However, this doesn’t mean you can simply let the diseases take over your body. There are multiple ways for seniors to stay healthy and fend off various complications. These include the following:
- Exercising regularly
- Going on frequent medical checkups
- Sticking to one’s prescription medication plan
- Quitting alcohol and cigarettes
- Following a healthy diet plan
The decline in Mental Health
Too many people overlook senior mental health. In fact, 15% of the general U.S. senior population suffers from mental health issues, and a large percentage of this group goes undiagnosed for several years. Depression and anxiety are real. The tantrums, grumpiness, and moodiness you feel at times are valid, so don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
Fortunately, you can overcome these mental health barriers and challenges through exercises such as meditation. Here’s a simple guide to get you started on the basics:
- Sit down on a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the ground, back slightly reclined, and arms resting on the sides.
- Close your eyes, then slowly clear your mind of all thoughts. Focus solely on your breathing.
- If you find your mind drifting a bit, don’t panic. Instead, slowly bring your focus back to your breathing and let your mind become devoid of thoughts naturally.
- Continue for 10 to 15 minutes.
Inability to Perform Daily Tasks
Reduced mobility and dexterity combined with existing diseases and medical conditions can prevent senior patients from performing various basic movements. Don’t feel bad if you’re no longer able to perform simple tasks such as toileting, eating, showering, or even walking.
One way to resolve this issue is to invest in mobility-aiding devices for seniors. Some options you should consider include:
- Shower Chairs: A shower chair helps reduce the risk of knee pain while showering.
- Commode Toilets: Make it easier to relieve yourself at night by having a bedside commode toilet.
- Non-slip Mats: Make your bathroom less hazardous by attaching non-slip mats to your shower floors.
Lack of Social Interaction
As we mentioned, more than 33 million seniors choose to age in place so they can retain their sense of independence. Yes, this is liberating, but spending all your time alone can be quite lonely—or even depressing. This issue especially applies to widows and widowers.
Do you want to go out more often, meet new people, and reconnect with beloved friends? You can try:
- Joining or forming a club. Look for like-minded peers who share the same interests and hobbies as you do, then form a small club.
- Going out for brunch. Set a weekly schedule where you go out for brunch with your close friends and family.
- Exercising with fellow seniors. There are plenty of seniors who do outdoor exercises either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Join them. This is a great chance to make exercising fun and enjoyable.
- Chatting with the neighbors. Don’t be afraid to chat with the other seniors in your neighborhood. Socializing doesn’t have to be difficult. Chances are, they’re itching to talk to peers as well.
Choosing Between Assisted v.s. Independent Living
If aging in place is your senior lifestyle goal, we strongly recommend looking for a nurse or caregiver to take care of you. They should assist with the following tasks:
- Toileting: Standing up from a toilet bowl by yourself isn’t easy if you suffer from mobility and flexibility issues.
- Showering: Your caregiver doesn’t have to bathe you if you’re still capable of showering independently, but it would be best to have them on standby in case of emergencies.
- Food Preparation: Cooking meals, cleaning the dishes, and even eating solid foods aren’t tasks that seniors with dexterity and stamina issues can easily accomplish by themselves.
- Medication Intake: At least 40% of the general senior population are non-compliant when it comes to prescription drugs. If you feel you’re becoming more forgetful, then you need a caregiver to remind you of your daily meds.
Running Out of Retirement Funds
Financial experts recommend having at least 80% of your annual pre-retirement income readily available for withdrawal every year. The question now is how far into the future should you set aside money for. 49% of the general U.S. senior population is concerned that they might outlive their retirement fund. After all, there’s no way to tell how long you’re going to live.
A good solution here is to continue generating income through investments or business assets post-retirement. For example, you can invest your money in stocks. Statistics show that the stock market has a conservative annual return of 10% to 12%. The dividends you generate should be enough to replenish your retirement funds annually for the rest of your life.
Susceptibility to Sexually Transmitted Diseases
A common misconception about seniors is that they don’t engage in sexual activity anymore. They might have lower libido levels, but they’re definitely interested in sex. In fact, reports show that more than 40% of seniors aged 65 to 80 still have sexual intercourse. What’s alarming, however, is that a whopping 90% of men above 40 refuse to use a condom.
The lack of protection and frequent engagement in sexual activities combined with the senior body’s fragile immune system makes the elderly more at risk of different sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
It’s okay to remain sexually active as you age. In fact, it’s a good sign. What’s not acceptable is engaging in unprotected sex—especially if you have multiple sexual partners.
Increased Risk of Accidents
Lack of mobility reduced muscle strength, and sensual impairment all leave seniors at risk of various accidents. What’s worse is that even a minor fall can have serious, fatal effects on some elderly adults.
The best approach here is to make your home more senior-friendly. You can do so by:
- Installing night lights in your hallways and corridors
- Reducing the height of the steps on your staircases
- Installing nonslip mats on your bathroom floors
- Investing in various mobility-aiding devices
- Living in a one-floor home or apartment
Fear of Losing Independence
We know how scary it can be to give up your independence. In fact, reports show that the one thing seniors all across the globe fear more than death is giving up their independence. Nobody wants to lose control of their lives.
However, keep in mind that seeking help would make your senior life a lot easier, simpler, and most importantly, safer. You don’t even have to hire a stranger to look after you. We’re sure you have at least one or two relatives who would be happy to help with your day-to-day tasks—make sure to compensate them for their work if you feel it’s needed, of course.
Although, don’t be too quick to dismiss the help of a professional caregiver as well. You might benefit from these trained experts.
Living with a close relative nearby is definitely more comforting than hiring a stranger. However, professional caregivers have the necessary training and experience to aid senior clients with specific conditions and ailments.
What are the top 10 aging issues?
- Cognitive decline and dementia
- Physical decline and loss of mobility
- Loss of independence
- Increased risk of chronic diseases
- Social isolation and loneliness
- Financial insecurity
- Loss of vision and hearing
- Sleep disorders
- Skin changes and age-related skin problems
- Increased risk of falls and fractures.
Aging is scary. One minute you’re playing hooky with your buddies, and the next, you’re taking maintenance medicine to keep your blood pressure levels at bay. Mental stress combined with physical complications in the senior body is definitely not easy to deal with.
However, you don’t have to overcome these challenges alone. Don’t make the mistake of dismissing the help of the people around you. Trust us, the pains and stress of aging would seem a lot lighter if you were surrounded by friends, family, and relatives who genuinely want to help you.
Overall, the key to maintaining a quality of life well into your senior years is assistance. Consult with your family doctor regularly, get someone to take care of you, indulge in your hobbies, try traveling with friends, and do not ever forego spending time with the people who matter to you the most.
What are some of the most common issues you encounter as you enter your senior years? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below!