Top 9 Most Important Issues Affecting Seniors and the Elderly

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Updated:

Seniors and the elderly deal with a unique set of challenges. The most important issues for older adults have to do with health, finances, emotional needs, and abuse.

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Growing older comes with its unique challenges. Changes to physical and cognitive capabilities along with social opportunities may lead seniors down a dark path of impairment, isolation, and depression. Fortunately, it is possible for caregivers to create a safe environment that allows seniors to overcome everyday obstacles.

Problems That Many Seniors Have to Deal With

Here are the 9 most important issues facing seniors:

1. Disease

Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, macular degeneration, and cataracts are just some of the health issues that threaten a senior’s day-to-day functioning capabilities. It is a well-known fact that these issues tend to become worse with age. It is important to learn more about coping with health issues before they happen to be mentally prepared.

2. Difficulty with Everyday Tasks

A person’s mobility naturally declines as they age and this can make it harder to complete everyday tasks. The unfortunate consequence is that the person is unable to be social, pursue interests, or even take part in activities they enjoy. Additional support is required to allow seniors to live independently through programs and products that focus on fitness, balance, safety, and ensure that they keep thriving as an individual.

3. Transportation

Our reflexes tend to slow as we age and our vision can become less reliable, which may lead us to give up driving for our safety and that of others. However, this has the unfortunate consequence of limiting the senior’s freedom and can make tasks of social interaction and doctor’s appointments more difficult. The lack of reliable transportation can lead to poorer quality of life, isolation, and an earlier death. Fortunately, government transportation programs are usually locally available to seniors.

4. Loneliness

We tend to become more isolated as we grow older. Family and friends are usually harder to see and isolation can become a real and serious issue. This is particularly true during this pandemic. The isolation of seniors can result in several detrimental factors such as anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, physical health decline, increased risk of falls, and a higher risk of mortality.

5. Health Care Costs

We need more healthcare, the older we get. It is important to be screened for various diseases and natural aging conditions to catch any health issues in their beginning stages. While doctor visits multiply, medical costs rise too, which can impact your retirement budget. To make matters worse, Medicare doesn’t even cover the cost of long-term care such as nursing home care or even mental health services.

6. Financial Security

Most seniors live on a fixed income once they retire, which, together with the constantly increasing cost of living can pose many financial restrictions. Seniors may no longer afford the same lifestyle they were previously accustomed to while they were still working. Furthermore, opportunities might not be available even for seniors who are able and willing to work past their retirement age.

7. Financial Predators

The unfortunate reality is that there are some unscrupulous individuals looking to prey on vulnerable seniors. They will try selling unnecessary goods or services to those they consider vulnerable. Fortunately, you can protect yourself from scams by sharing financial decisions with someone you trust. You may have to hire a financial advisor, but you can still depend on a trusted family member for good advice.

8. Elder Abuse

It is almost impossible to determine the exact number of seniors affected by elder abuse since only a handful ever report it. Still, it is estimated that at least 10% of seniors in the U.S. [1] have suffered from at least 1 form of abuse, which amounts to hundreds of thousands of cases annually. Sadly, some seniors are victims of abuse committed by their own relatives. Such abuse involves sexual or physical violence, emotional or psychological abuse, neglect, and/or financial exploitation.

9. Social Climate

One of the biggest social hurdles that older adults face is adjusting to technological changes. Computers, smart phones, and the Internet offer numerous ways for seniors to stay in communication, but learning how to use these technologies poses a challenge for many. Fortunately, local libraries offer free computer classes that seniors can take advantage of to become computer literate.

Final Thoughts

Our hope, as we age, is that our lives will become easier and without the stresses of our younger years. In many cases, that’s exactly how life unfolds. However, for many seniors, there are certain concerns and challenges that become more immediate and important that have been discussed here. Fortunately, it is possible for all these issues to be overcome by the compassionate support provided by enlisted caregivers and family members. Elders are important to our society as a whole, so we should work hard to help them navigate these issues and assist with solutions to these issues.

References
1: https://www.justice.gov/file/1098056/download

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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