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Aging Issues and Challenges the Elderly Face

Individuals in the contemporary world are living much longer and therefore, many of them experience aging and the issues associated with it. The improved living conditions and good health services are the reasons for this. Nevertheless, the aged are facing challenges in society and they need more attention to make life easier. The elderly need support from the young population for them to age with honor; some of them need more care while remaining self-reliant. An interview was conducted to determine the change and challenges that the elderly face as they grow older. An analysis is needed on the aging challenges ranging from health issues, caregiving, retirement, and its preparation.

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Lifestyle

From the interview, when the interviewee was asked to explain about the changes that occurred in her adult life regarding leisure, eating habits, working and workout, her response was amazing. She takes that her lifestyle has improved greatly as she got older. She began engaging in swimming daily together with the husband and changed her eating habits by taking in more vitamins so that she stays healthy in her aging process. The response of the interviewee relates to the lessons learned in the course and other studies. The teachings from the course and study reveal that for senior individuals to improve their wellbeing, they must make up their minds to live a healthy lifestyle (Valle et al. 1560). This is done by abandoning harmful habits but instead focus on eating nutritious meals, engaging in simple forms of exercise like going for daily walks and swimming and get enough sleep. The elders are also to find ways of staying happy every day as this promotes a physical outlook and improves both psychological and physical health. All this and many other changes in lifestyle are aimed at ensuring that older adults are healthy and live comfortably. The changes were applied in the life of the interviewee and this guarantees a good elderly life for them.

Health

Aging is associated with changes in health conditions that are common in old age and include arthritis, depression, cataracts, high blood pressure, neck pain, and many others. Individuals have a possibility of experiencing more than one condition at the same time especially when preventive care is not put in place. According to the interviewee, she resolved to take care of herself and the family as she grew older. This is the response she gave when she was asked about changes in her health in terms of having chronic illnesses like high blood pressure, her frequency of seeing the doctor, and whether she had to take medicine. She explains that she with the family kept using natural medicine as a way of mitigating risks of sicknesses and for preventive care. She goes to visit the doctor more often to add up to her preventive care and not as a result of her having any problems, she also reveals to be eating as healthy as possible.

There are some variations in the older individuals that are a result of genetic inheritance but many are due to their environments; both physical and social. These environments have a strong impact on their healthy behaviors; for example, eating habits, engaging in consistent physical exercises, and abstaining from drugs. These habits influenced by the physical and social environment have a direct contribution to one’s physical and mental health. Supportive environments allow individuals to engage in what is profitable to them (Caldeira et al. 7). There has to be a commitment to making healthy aging to be a possibility; this can be done through raising awareness on the importance of it and develop actions to articulate policies that support the capabilities of the elderly (Sluggett et al. 26). The health systems also need to be made in such a way that they align with the requirements of older populations to enhance their intrinsic capabilities.

Mental Abilities

The older people get the great change experienced in their mental abilities. In the case of the interviewee, she claims that her mental ability has not experienced many changes. What she experienced in life is her perception about life as it grew more beautiful as a result of her raising her kids to be beautiful humans. However, from the course, some changes occur to mental ability during the aging process. The processing speed of the brain changes in terms of how fast it processes information and offers feedback. The processing speed decreases in adulthood and becomes significantly low when people get older and so they take much time to take in information and then give appropriate answers; some struggle with complex tasks.

The ability to remember also gets affected due to the difficulty of encoding and promptly retrieving information. Older persons also experience a change in concentrating and focusing on a specific thing. They have selective attention whereby they choose to concentrate on specific things even though some other things exist (Schmidt-Hertha et al. 210). They also lose the ability to multitask and instead remain concentrated on a thing for a longer time. They get easily distracted and need more effort to concentrate in busy situations. To prevent some problems with mental abilities, one can take actions that can help in maintaining the functioning of the brain like getting enough sleep and engaging in regular physical activities. It is also important to be cautious while taking medications since some affect brain function. Significant considerations are to be made so that one makes some practical accommodation to the aging brain by giving the elderly more time to contemplate complex decisions and make an effort to avoid busy situations.

Memory and Problem-solving

The interview conducted reveals that there is a relationship between aging, intelligence, and problem-solving. The interviewee was consulted about her thinking on her smartness with age, her memory, and her problem-solving abilities. She said that she got smarter as she grew older, she felt that in life she had beautiful experiences and she has no struggles with daily problems. Her memory is good since she remembers all the beautiful things in her life and has been able to handle problems with precision. Older individuals have been seen serving in high positions in governments, this means that they have good decision-making abilities (Clark et al. 138). Some decisions tend to be easier for them due to their experiences in life; they know a lot of things. They do not think hard about decisions they ever made before since they already know what needs to be done based on experience; they have more skill in making decisions.

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The elderly also tend to make sound decisions since they can regulate their emotions since as age advances, emotion regulation improves. When dealing with decision-making, aging is not a disadvantage since it needs experience and emotional competence that advances with age. Successful aging is associated with sustaining the capability to solve daily problems. For this to be possible, an individual needs complex behavior needed for self-governance. Middle-aged adults can practically handle everyday problems; this is evident in the life of the interviewee (Li et al. 6). This is as a result of their experience and crystallized abilities that are important tools in problem-solving.

These two aspects were present in the life of the interviewee that is why she claimed that she did not face any struggles while solving problems even though her kids were hurting due to those very problems. Although individuals tend to lose the ability to remember things, memory delay can happen at any age. The respondent reduced memory loss in her life by maintaining good health habits. She used to do regular exercises, eat healthy food, and use natural medicine. Studies reveal that memory lapse can be prevented by engaging in good overall health habits through healthy eating, working out, and seeking medical advice. Mental functioning can also be increased by continuous learning, taking care of one’s health, and making use of the brain only when it is needful.

Support Systems

The respondent was also questioned about the support systems in her family and basic information about the family. She had been married for forty years with three kids who were currently young adults, she had no grandchildren. She meets up with her children regularly at least once a month and she is always excited to see them (Rew et al., 1228). Whenever they meet, the children are always ready to offer help to their mother. She states that she is confident that her kids will give her the best care she would need when she gets older; all the kids will be more than willing to take care of her. When it comes to caregiving, she says it will depend on the living condition to know the most suitable child to live with but all the children will be involved in the care.

Her responses directly relate to the issues learned during the course regarding family support and aging. Many seniors are lonely and they have a sense of being separated from society and families. Adult children invest in their personal lives and they end up forgetting about their parents, yet their parents need support from them. This makes more of them receive services from aging care providers but that cannot replace family support; it is very important. Family support is important, since when seniors can communicate and walk, only family members can understand them. Assistance from family also helps them to feel they are still belonging to the family and this helps in preventing depression. The interviewee states that she is certain of receiving full family support when she gets older. This means that she will retain her sense of belonging and depression will be far from her.

Family members such as the children of the interviewee can offer support in different ways. They can visit their older ones daily and spend time with them, updating them with the latest happenings and news. They can also keep visiting as much as they can and then bring along their children and partners; this helps in making them feel still recognized as a part of one’s life. The respondent made good relations with her family and this is key in encouraging future support. Aging can lead to poor relationships in a family, since the older people needing care are largely taken care of by their family (Kendig et al. 18). The more they live the more they impose burdens on their families in terms of physical and financial support. Family disputes arising from who is supposed to give what kind of care to the elderly result in poor relations. When the respondent is disabled, care from her family will make her remain at home, since she will receive full support from her family. Receiving support from family is a matter of how individuals relate in that family and it is the best service that can be given to seniors needing help.

Retirement

One of the key features that determine successful aging is saving up for the future. This means that individuals need to invest in their retirement years to conquer worries about financial life as they become older. The interviewee says that she invested in real estate together with her husband as a means of securing her future and that of her children. Their investment was meant at creating comfort for the kids. She did not worry about her future financial status since she had done a great job in saving. She claims that assisted living will be unnecessary for her since she has children to take care of her. Planning and preparing for retirement is important for everyone expecting to live long. During planning, the focus is on finances and the individual; personal planning dictates the level of satisfaction one will experience during retirement. Individuals need to identify how they would like their retirement to look for them to thoroughly plan (Sahadeo 68). Retirement planning helps an individual to avoid depending on children, serves as a contribution to the family, helps in handling complications like health emergencies, and in fulfilling one’s aspirations. Preparing for retirement helps in leading a stress-free life during old age.

Just as in the life of the respondent, there are steps that one has to take to show that they are preparing for retirement. One needs to first determine the investable age, estimate the expenses, make a decision on the asset to invest in and then start investing as early as possible; the money saved for retirement is not to be used at any other thing. The interviewee decided to invest in real estate and that is where her retirement benefits will be coming from. The funds from the retirement will be used to meet her physical and health needs in case they are; this means she will not become a burden to her children.

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Government Support

In addition to social security and Medicare support, older people still need support financially from the government. The interviewee feels that the elderly especially those unable to work have to receive support from the government since the two supports are not enough for them. Governments, therefore, have to be responsible and offer long-term financial support to them. The government can develop pension schemes for its citizens and pay for the pension for those who are incapable of working. Government agencies can be actively involved in funding organizations that offer care services for the aged. Governmental institutions provide various payments and support to the elderly community using ordinary programs accessible to the aged. The programs include the following; pension, assisting in paying for rent and disability charges, offering residential services to the aged, and providing medical benefits. The government also can provide public housing for the aged who have no homes and also offer support in terms of giving care both at homes, in the community, and hospitals. The government also can offer support to those providing support by making payments for them and offering them support services.

Governmental institutions can also offer various services including offering financial counseling, supporting consumer organizations, giving retirement assistance to farmers, and making available information relating to government programs. States can also provide welfare and health services for older adults. From this information and that from the respondent, it is clear that the government has a big role to play in offering support to the elderly (Ogura and Mihajlo 335). In as much as older people may be receiving help from other individuals and institutions, that is not enough for them to have a comfortable life. The government, therefore, has to make support for the elderly its responsibility to offer required services.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Being Elderly

As one gets older to an age of about fifty years and above, they tend to have the best experiences and worst experiences as a result of their age. As people age, they tend to have physical and emotional changes in their lives. Not everything about growing old is bad; the aging process has both advantages and disadvantages. Physical changes are the initial ones to be seen; wrinkles can develop, bones shrink and become more vulnerable to breakage and the heart slows down. Aging people develop health conditions like hearing loss and this can be prevented by avoiding loud noise. Generally, the experience of aging varies from person to person, to some it is positive and to others it is difficult. The aged may suffer emotionally when they face retirement and lose a spouse or a member of the family and this is the major cause of loneliness and anxiety; these are some of the disadvantages of getting old (Wahl et al. 13). From the interviewee, the worst thing about aging to her is that her children are getting older making them not be kids anymore.

There are also advantages of aging as seen by the elderly in the society. They are the happiest people since they have developed in their perspectives and can cope with different circumstances. They also experience the joy of being grandparents and that it offers them a chance to pursue their dreams. The opportunities of participating in voluntary activities are many, they gain more wisdom during the process and have a guaranteed income especially for those who planned for their retirement. When people grow old, they also attain a sense of accomplishment and gain a positive attitude towards life (Turner et al. 109). The interviewee states that the best thing that happened to her was seeing her kids doing well and growing into mature people.

Aging is an important stage in everyone’s life and therefore, it needs preparation. People can start by making up investments for the future and then developing positive relationships with family members. As people age, most of them usually need care services from different individuals but help received from the family is the most important one. Children, therefore, need to be there and support their parents when they grow old, this will instill in them a sense of belonging. To know more about what the elderly grow through, one can interview them concerning the same; this helps in offering the best support services.

References

Caldeira, Clara, et al. “Senior care for aging in place: balancing assistance and independence.” Proceedings of the 2017 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing. 2017.

Clark, Robert L., Robert G. Hammond, and Christelle Khalaf. “Planning for retirement? The importance of time preferences.” Journal of Labor Research Vol 40.2, 2019, pp. 127-150.

Kendig, Hal. “Australian developments in ageing: Issues and history.” Ageing in Australia. Springer, New York, NY, 2017, pp. 13-27.

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Li, Junxin, Michael V. Vitiello, and Nalaka S. Gooneratne. “Sleep in normal aging.” Sleep medicine clinics Vol 13.1, 2018, pp. 1-11.

Ogura, Seiritsu, and Mihajlo Michael Jakovljevic. “Global population aging-health care, social and economic consequences.” Frontiers in public health Vol 6, 2018, pp. 335.

Rew, Jehyeok, et al. “Skin aging estimation scheme based on lifestyle and dermoscopy image analysis.” Applied Sciences Vol 9.6, 2019, pp. 1228.

Sahadeo, Christine. “Planning for Retirement.” Financial Literacy and Money Script. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2018, pp. 67-79.

Schmidt-Hertha, Bernhard, Marvin Formosa, and António Fragoso. “Active ageing, social inclusion and wellbeing: Benefits of learning in later life.” European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults Vol 10.3, 2019, pp. 207-213.

Sluggett, Janet K., et al. “Medication management policy, practice and research in Australian residential aged care: current and future directions.” Pharmacological research Vol 116, 2017, pp. 20-28.

Turner, James E., Vitor A. Lira, and Patricia C. Brum. “New insights into the benefits of physical activity and exercise for aging and chronic disease.” 2017.

Valle Gottlieb, Maria Gabriela, et al. “Impact of human aging and modern lifestyle on gut microbiota.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition Vol 58.9, 2018, pp. 1557-1564.

Wahl, Devin, et al. “Aging, lifestyle and dementia.” Neurobiology of disease Vol 130, pp. 2019, pp. 104481.

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