It’s easy to say that ageing is indeed a part of life. And we know that taking good care of our health, from eating well to staying active contributes to overall health and early detection.
But how do we evaluate and identify any problems as we ourselves and our loved ones age?
I’ve identified four barriers that can prevent someone from ageing well and subsequently not truly enjoying their retirement years.
1 Physical Isolation (Among Elders) Can Stem From
- Geographic isolation – If living in a city away from their families, are there other friends or family that can assist them with tasks or even include them in family social events.
- Lack of transportation – Elders who always drove, may not easily transition from to public or shared transportation or smoothly and as a result opt to stay home instead of venture out to activities.
- Poor physical health/Mobility issues – Without support, negotiating out of the home can overwhelming and staying at home is simply the easier, but not necessarily the better choice.
- Inadequate housing –
2 Social Isolation (Among Elders) Can Stem From:
- A lack of information about programs & services – Yes everything is on the internet, but not every elder is comfortable using the internet. And without an support group, it’s easy not to be informed.
- Limited participation in recreational, social & community activities – Having peers at any stage in life is important.
- Inadequate home care and home support – Home care and home support will vary as to what is required. For some elders, just having someone drop in for a cup of tea is perfect.
- Weak support networks (family, social, and community) – It can be difficult to tap into a community network, if there are not family members to facilitate. And many families, particularly families with young children are often overwhelmed with their own issues.
3 Spiritual Isolation (Among Elders) Flows From:
- A loss of meaning and purpose – When I chat with my clients about retiring, I remind them that it’s not only the financial side that requires thought and planning, but you need to ask yourself: what will you do aside from travelling, golfing and volunteering.
In my client roster, there have been some wonderful new career choices from becoming an artist to supporting work in developing countries.
- A loss of “belonging” and a lack of connection – It’s easy to forget that our elders have opinions on important issues, news events and other value-based discussions
- An inability to observe religious and spiritual events – As we age, things that perhaps had less meaning when we were younger take on a new importance. Having the opportunity to share meaningful moments is critical.
4 Mental And Emotional Isolation (Among Elders) Can Stem From:
- Low self-esteem, Depression, Cognitive problems – These can all lead to mental and emotional isolation. And these types of clinical problems are not easily identified and often go missed by busy family members.
- Difficulties accepting ageing and Ageism – Getting dismissed because of age is very hurtful. It’s difficult enough for most of us to accept that we are getting older, but when family members are dismissive or fail to make accommodations it can lead to other problems.
- Communication problems – Not hearing well, or being able to speak as quickly or as loudly as everyone else sometimes means being left out of the conversation. And if it’s difficult communicating, then the next step is to stop communicating altogether.
Generations Family Wealth places a focus on all family members. We want to be able to assist just not our clients, but their sons, daughters and parents as they transition through life.
If you have a question on elder care… or on any issue for that matter, I want to be your first call. If I don’t have the answer readily, I will reach out to my resource team to find it for you.