It’s not unusual for adults to face both psychological and social issues as they get older. Some of these issues are biological, while others are mental or related to life changes more likely to affect older adults. Below, you’ll find a discussion of six of the more common psychosocial aspects of aging as well as tips for helping your older loved one address these issues.
It may seem great to have more free time at first, but older adults sometimes have a difficult time adjusting to new routines when they’re retired or not working as many hours due to social security income restrictions. This adjustment could contribute to an increased risk of depression, fewer opportunities to socialize, and similar issues. Options for helping your loved one enjoy retirement include:
• Suggesting hobbies or activities you know he or she finds enjoyable
• Spending more time together or recommending in-home care that primarily involves companionship
• Recommending ways he or she can feel productive and involved, such as volunteering or mentoring
For families living in Fort Worth, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.
2. Loss of a Spouse/Significant Other
Losing a life partner can be a major adjustment for an older adult, especially if the other person was the primary source of companionship, emotional support, and socialization. You may be able to make this aspect of aging more bearable by providing added support and getting more involved in your loved one’s life.
Moving to a new home or downsizing may not seem like a big deal, but it’s sometimes difficult for seniors to adjust to new living environments. Such moves are often made for practical or financial reasons, which is perfectly understandable. If moving to a new home is unavoidable, help your loved one prepare by:
• Pointing out the perks of moving to a smaller home that’s safer and easier to take care of
• Finding a place in the same area so your loved one can maintain a similar routine
• Remaining positive and supportive during the moving process to reduce stress and anxiety
If you believe moving may be too stressful for your loved one, he or she may benefit from in-home care. Another option is to make appropriate adjustments to your loved one’s existing home.
One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide senior care. Fort Worth families can turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties.
4. Sex Life Adjustments
According to the National Institute on Aging, older women often experience vaginal dryness and other age-related changes that can make intercourse difficult, and men sometimes experience erectile dysfunction and similar performance issues as they get older. Regardless of the reasons, a sex life that’s suddenly not enjoyable or nonexistent can have a big psychological and social impact on an older adult. You may be able to help your loved one handle problems of this nature by encouraging him or her to talk to the doctor or work with a therapist specializing in this aspect of senior health.
5. Loss of Social Support
Social support may be lost when friends pass away or move on or when grown children move away or become preoccupied with their own lives. If you’re noticing signs of social withdrawal in your loved one, he or she may benefit from:
• Getting involved in local activities specifically designed for seniors
• Learning how to stay connected with friends and loved ones via online options
• Adopting a pet or exploring classes that allow seniors to gain new skills and interact with people the same age
6. Mental Health Issues
Seniors may also be affected psychologically and socially if they’re living with mental health issues that haven’t been properly diagnosed or treated. Be mindful of signs that suggest your loved one may have mental health issues that need attention, such as:
• Increased confusion, memory loss, or unusual cognitive decline
• Changes in appearance, mood, and/or behavior
• Social withdrawal without a clear explanation
Elder care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. To schedule a free in-home consultation, give us a call at (817) 720-5556 today.