Breaking Down the 7 Dimensions of Senior Health and Wellness A Guest Post by Gabrielle Baglino
Breaking down and understanding the dimensions of senior health and wellness enables each of us to live our life to what we define as our fullest. While dreams might change as time passes, there are ways to maintain optimum health to pursue them as you grow older.
Understanding this basic human aspiration highlights the need for contributing to senior health and wellness. Seniors should never feel limited in capacity due to their health. As a society, we can ensure this by investing in the seven dimensions of senior health and wellness.
1. Maintaining Identity
Senior citizens can easily feel lost for a few years as they transition into retirement. With so much of their lives spent accomplishing their goals, a sense of identity loss can be experienced upon leaving their careers.
To prevent this, seniors should be empowered to share their stories as this encourages them to keep building new chapters of their life. It’s important for seniors to realize that the road ahead still has a lot to explore, both in the world, they live in and within themselves as individuals.
2. Accessible Healthcare
With age, healthcare becomes a central focus for sustaining a lifestyle. Several health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis, back pain, or dementia can make the regular day-to-day more difficult. Chronic conditions such as kidney disease or heart disease can also lower the quality of life as old age sets in.
Having healthcare facilities within the neighborhood and caretakers that are always accessible limits the need for always reaching outside of the community for assistance. Additionally, the community should invest in health drives, screenings, and education that enables seniors to take care of themselves rather than always relying on the system to care for them.
3. Sense of Safety
Age can bring a growing sense of vulnerability. A foremost cause is the worsening of medical conditions. Situational changes such as falls can also be significantly detrimental to the quality of life for a senior.
Additionally, the elderly are at a higher risk of physical, mental, and financial abuse. This occurs due to the need to rely on someone else for basic care and assistance.
Community supervision helps to circumvent a large portion of these concerns. Regular visits from caregivers, family supervision when possible, and socialization with other seniors can help to manage hidden concerns. Enabling the elderly to contact concerned authorities can also encourage them to reach out if they ever feel threatened.
4. Mental Health
With the loneliness, isolation, and dependence age brings, mental health concerns among the elderly often go under the radar. Another view to consider is the overlapping nature of their physical and mental health concerns.
Limiting their isolation is one of the first steps toward fostering a healthier mental ecosystem for them to thrive in. Having someone to talk to regularly and engaging them within a community helps to provide a sense of belonging.
Within the community, their mental health concerns will also receive attention earlier. Senior mental and physical wellbeing are so deeply intertwined that early intervention for mental health concerns boosts physical health as well.
5. Financial Security
Significant changes in financial dynamics occur when moving into the retirement phase. With fewer finances coming in through active earnings, a higher reliance is placed on savings and pensions. These retirement incomes are barely adequate at best for a majority of seniors.
This lack of active income exposes the elderly to significant vulnerability to financial schemes that could exhaust their limited resources. Families and even close acquaintances might look for ways to divert these financial sources toward insurances and get-rich-quick schemes.
Financial independence is a vital asset for anyone. Empowering seniors with knowledge on how to use their money effectively limits their reliance on others to make their financial decisions.
Senior financial advisors — that keep seniors’ health expenses in mind — should work with the elderly to help them understand their financial needs better. For example, they can explain the difference between stocks vs. bonds, or private equity vs. venture capital, and they can help tailor costs and also evaluate risks in areas where seniors do wish to spend their money.
6. Community Ties
With age often comes a decline in social capital due to retirement, illness, separation from family, and death. Additionally, factors such as depression, physical health constraints, dementia, and challenges with mobility can also impact a senior citizen’s ability to form social ties. These limitations can prevent seniors from reaching out for assistance.
Research supports the significant benefits of community ties, especially among the elderly. Social ties contribute to both physical and emotional wellbeing. The impetus to participate in society helps build trust and reliability, curbing loneliness. It helps keep seniors mobile and also encourages them to take care of their health to be able to contribute back to their societies.
7. Defining Purpose
With retirement, adult children moving out, and the unfortunate losses of friends, life’s essence might seem to be slipping away. Seniors should be encouraged to find renewed purpose during this transitional time.
Undoing the misconception that life ends when you retire is often the first step. Seniors should be advised to explore new meaning in their lives. Counseling sessions and therapy can be highly effective in unlocking their potential.
In a lot of cases, finding a new purpose may involve giving back to the community they live in.
Among the elderly, most of the attention tends to be focused on their physical health, while a lot of what they need to thrive independently is neglected. Senior health and wellness are achievable through small investments in their continued health and wellbeing.
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