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Transcript of The Elderly
"People are living longer — and spending more years in retirement. Those two facts are putting additional strain on both Social Security and Medicare finances." (Greenblatt) Quick Facts: Needs of the elderly: Physical deterioration is a normal aspect of aging; muscles and bones weaken, internal organs decay, and mental functioning declines.
There are myriad medical conditions that can affect an elderly person, but the most common include:
arthritis, hypertension, hearing and visual impairments, heart disease, orthopedic impairments, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and dementia.
Unfortunately, with many of these conditions comes loss of physical mobility and independence. Thus, older adults often depend on others like family members, nurses, doctors, and nursing homes.
Elderly health care involves constant medical check-ups, prescriptions, medicines, and often surgeries.
Undernourishment is also one of the main health issues affecting older adults who frequently "lack the money [and, or] knowledge about proper nutrition...poor teeth...and lack of incentive to cook." (Zastrow, 463).
Dementia affects many aged people, too, a fact that is worrisome as most of them loose the basic abilities like independence, memory, sense of personal identification, and self-control.
The fact that the majority of the illnesses affecting the senior community are chronic, make elderly health care even more straining on them and society. Health Needs Many older people live in poverty today: "9% of older Whites are poor, 23.7% [of] older African Americans, and 19.5% of older Hispanics" (Zastrow, 459).
The costs of health care are high; In fact, "medical expenses of an older person average more than four times those of a young adult" (Zastrow, 458).
"The percent of older adults who receive Social Security is 95%; for 18% of them, Social Security is their only income" (Zastrow, 459).
"95% of older adults do not live in nursing homes or in any other kind of institution" but rather in their own home (Zastrow, 462).
Many times the financial problems of the elderly become their children's responsibility. "Nearly 10 million adult children over age 50 in the United States provide care or financial help to their aging parents" (Greenblatt).
And [The American Association of Retired Persons] "AARP estimates that caregivers spend an average of $2,400 a year of their own money to care for parents. Caregivers who put in more than 40 hours a week spend more: an average of $3,888" (Fetterman).
Lastly, it is a reality that most people reach old age without substantial savings or assets to last them for long term care. Emotional Needs The most important thing to know is that you CAN help.
Simple things like love, company, understanding, and information are more than enough for you to help an older person feel happy:
If there is an elderly person in your life, appreciate them and show them your love by being there to listen, more so than to talk.
Be willing to offer help and be considerate of the limitations of someone old.
Reach out to those in your community serving the elderly; inform yourself on the programs and services available for them; this way you can introduce your family member or loved one to these opportunities.
Furthermore, help the elderly person in your life stay physically active and healthy by taking a walk with them to the park, or visiting his or her doctor constantly.
Do not wait for them to ask for your support, be there always, in anyway possible.
Also, plan for the future. Understand that these issues will be impacting you at some point in life. Start saving or secure a retirement plan. Be active, live a healthy life, too. How to contribute Greenblatt, Alan. "Aging Baby Boomers." CQ Researcher 19 Oct. 2007: 865-88. Web. 25 Sept. 2012.
Greenblatt, Alan. "Aging Population." CQ Researcher 15 July 2011: 577-600. Web. 25 Sept. 2012.
Mooney, Lisa. “How to Care for the Emotional Needs of the Elderly.” Livestrong.com. Demand Media Inc. 12 May 2011. Web. 25 Sep. 2012.
Zastrow, Charles. Introductin to Social Work and Social Welfare. 10th ed. Belmont: Brook/Cole, Cengage Learning, 2010. Print. Resources I have worked with the elderly in two occasions: a nursing home and at-home-assistance.
I learned that working with older adults is a very difficult job that requires patience, primarily, but also empathy, skill, and amiability.
It is through this experience that I understand the needs of the elderly.
Furthermore, I—like the majority of you—have elderly family, especially my grandmother who I see most often; and through her I see reflected many of the problems that come with aging. Often, she seems depressed, isolated, tired, and is particularly sensitive. My Experience "For the next 18 years, a member of the baby boom generation — the 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 — will reach 65 every eight seconds." (Greenblatt) It is essential for us to understand the immense role the elderly play in today's society; therefore, let us explore the issues affecting them and how we relate to this population. Emotional Needs Financial Problems Financial Problems The issues affecting this population can be categorized into three main factors: Healthcare Requirements As people enter old age, many changes happen that can affect them emotionally:
The loss of family and friends is a common grievance among older adults, especially the loss of a spouse.
The current importance that society places on youth can make older people fill segregated and inconsequential.
Facing retirement is also a factor that creates insecurities and feelings of uselessness.
Depression is common among the elderly population, too, for various reasons, some of the above listed, and just the realization that life is coming to an end.
Loneliness affects older adults as well; many times family members live far or simply the visits are not as often.
The most important aspect of emotional stability in the elderly should be the feeling of self-actualization; for them to feel they have accomplished all their goals, and that they have many more to complete still, thus life continues to have purpose.