This is a guest post by Rebecca Matthews

There is no doubt about the fact that the senior citizen segment of the world’s population is the fastest growing group. In developed countries, this demographic trend has been happening for decades since better quality of life extends life expectancy. This trend is also manifestly happening now in developing countries around the world.

With fast changing social trends and economic pressures, today’s senior citizens face a number of lifestyle challenges as they try to adapt with both their personal life transitions and external changes. Although third age has always been a challenging period in life, today’s societies are making it increasingly more difficult.  The statistical fact that the population of elderly individuals is estimated to double up in the next two decades is definietely an attention call to look deeper into the problem and to find better solutions for health care and govermental policies. It is a well-known fact that just like the first stage of life, i.e. the toddler stage, the last stage of life, i.e. the senior citizen stage also calls for intensive care and support not just by dedicated professionals but by all members of society.

Today, a large percentage of the senior citizens are facing health related or nutrition-related issues and problems. It’s not easy. Many times, these senior citizens aren’t able to deal with the challenges by themselves and they need help from adults and youngsters. Don’t forget that the biggest problem experienced by elderly people is that they feel their physical and mental health deteriorating at a very fast rate. Worst still is the feeling of helplessness which comes with knowing, or perceiving, that there is nothing they can do to reverse it or put an end to it.

Loneliness is another big issue with the elderly ones since the feeling of not having a role in society is compounded with the loss of friends and spouses and with the fact that children and grandchildren dedicate less and less time for them. Loneliness not only deteriorates mental and physical health but also promotes fear of having accidents, or worse still, dying when no one is around. We can help our own elderly ones – perhaps parents or grandparents – by first visiting them more often and making sure they spend less time in solitude. Senior medical alert systems and assisted living arrangements are some important things to consider in order to secure a somewhat comfortable and healthy lifestyle to our ageing loved ones.

Another one of the many challenges of senior living is financial instability. They always have to be careful about their expenditure because they are solely reliant on retirement savings and social benefits, if any, for inflow of cash to sustain their lifestyle and daily living expenditure. A lot of times, these sources do not prove to be adequate for meeting all their expenses, especially in today’s growing economic pressures, and hence they often struggle to make ends meet at times.

Yet another common problem faced by senior citizen would be boredom which is also an effect of the loneliness problem. Because of the so-called ‘generation gap’, youngsters and even adults do not necessarily find it appealing to speak to them or spend quality time with them. Hence senior citizens end up feeling extremely lonely and they also get bogged down by boredom because they have plenty of time on their hands but nothing gainful to spend it on. An important remedy to this which some good elderly homes put into practice is giving them tasks and responsibilities which are meaningful to them and which give them a sense of being useful and productive.

In conclusion, it can be said that senior citizens live an increasingly tough life transition because of the numerous challenges that come part and parcel of growing old. However, these challenges can easily be overcome if their family members or dear ones show them more love and attention and spend more quality with them in addition to supporting them financially when necessary.

Post submitted by Rebecca Matthews for

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