Our senior citizenship is growing!! As the life span rate continues to grow higher, more and more people are living longer. Many of the senior citizens will find themselves in a long-term care facility. In many instances some may be there for quite a few years. In addition, many do not have any visitors even from there family. Hence they will be alone throughout each year including their Birthdays and the Holidays.
Adopting a senior citizen is very challenging. Elder people who have no children or spouse who can take care of them, can have a very difficult time aging. In very specific situations you can adopt a person older than you. According to the national guardianship organization:
“Guardianship is a legal process, utilized when a person can no longer make or communicate safe or sound decisions about his/her person and/or property or has become susceptible to fraud or undue influence.”
There are more seniors in Canada than children. The proportion of those aged 65 and older climbed to 16.9 per cent of Canada’s population, exceeding the share of those under 15 years old at 16.6 per cent. By 2030 in less than a decade seniors will number over 9.5 million and make up 23 percent of Canadians. The aging of the population is due to the first baby boomers turning 65 over the last five years, as well as the increasing life expectancy of Canadians and a low fertility rate.
As more people are getting older, they need more health care, more home care, and that puts increasing demands on government spending. Decline in health, malnutrition, lack of shelter, fear, depression, isolation, boredom, and financial incapacity are the most common problems that senior citizens all over the world face today. The main problem for older people is isolation. Aging alone can lead to mental decline. Working together as a community and with our older adults, we can minimize isolation and all of the bad effects it can have on quality of life for older adults. Social isolation affects the cognitive and psychological health of seniors. It is associated with higher levels of depression and suicide. The older people only need someone to sit with them, give them some time. It is really difficult to sit alone whole day in old age home, it can cause a lot of mental issues. According to research, 1 in 4 seniors lives with a mental health problem (e.g. depression, anxiety or dementia).
Factors increasing the risk of isolation in older people:
- Having no children or contact with family
- Living alone
- Being age 80 or above
- Lifelong health problems(depression, anxiety)
- Change in family structures, younger ones migrating for work and leaving the older people behind alone
- Lack of affordable and accessible transportation options
- Loss of sense of community
- Age related disability(dementia, Alzheimer)
- Low income seniors
Seniors living in health care facilities have been diagnosed with depression more because of no family connections and being isolated. So, the link between mental health and social isolation cannot be ignored.
The idea of “Adopt-a-Senior”, can be taken as pairing up an elderly person with a college student or teenager in the community who will visit and spend time with them. There are many organizations that are working for the seniors to be adopted and making their aging life easier. You can either take the custody of them by following proper legal process or you can visit the seniors where they are living in old age homes and care centers. In the past, it was more about the older person having someone move into their house. But it could work the opposite way, too, having someone live with a family. One can offer much-needed time and assistance, such as helping a resident organize a closet, writing cards or notes, or recording a resident’s life story; all tasks that can help families with the responsibilities of caregiving, providing them peace of mind. Public Health Agency in Canada has made age-friendly communities to help seniors age actively. You can even adopt a senior for Christmas and make their Christmas wonderful.