It is observed that some elders are amazingly capable; they live active lives, drive themselves everywhere however some seniors need a bit of help and care, but when a senior has a special need, the level of care increases considerably. The needs that the elderly have while aging may include financial security, personal security and safety, health care and health challenges, mental health, and self-actualization. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) defines healthy aging as “the process of optimizing opportunities for physical, social and mental health to enable seniors to take an active part in society without discrimination and to enjoy independence and quality of life”.1
It is evident that with the right resources, you can make a secured plan that ensures your loved one’s needs (from healthcare to financials) to be well met throughout their aged years. When an aging adult has some physical concern or any cognitive need, it creates a much level of struggle for them. Here are some of the special needs that are attributed to most of the senior aged population:
- Financial Needs: Limited financial resources and less full time earning opportunities can cause aging years even more challenging.
- Health Concerns: They may bear a lot of health issues; common problems may include:
- Acute or Chronic Illnesses
- Dexterity (arthritis, stroke, neuralgias, etc)
- Decreased visibility (cataracts, retinal obstruction, macular degeneration, and normal aging process)
- Mental capacities (dementia, stroke, Alzheimer’s, etc)
- Physical disabilities (presbycusis, trauma, biological disorders)
- Medical Needs Growing medical needs, medical bills, prescription costs, and of course home healthcare.
- Decision-Making Needs: Developmental, cognitive and physical disabilities may require the seniors to have a decision-maker along their side that can be a family member or a caregiver from a healthcare support organization.
- Social Communication Needs: Social Interaction and Communication can be a challenge for the aging population to deal with.
Having a sustainable financial status is a basic problem and a subtle issue for most aging people. The absence or lack of stable financials creates a traumatic situation and attract several problems other than physical and mental health issues. A financially-handicapped senior citizen, having some dwindling illness, is practically on the road to an early death whereas a financially secured aging citizen with the same level of illness may have a longer life to live because the financial capability can give quick and convenient access to life-giving remedies. It is also observed that elderly who are even sufferings from state-of-mind dysfunctions like severe depression, nervous breakdown, tediousness, and, desolation financial competence can bring a lot of options to rejuvenate and refresh seniors like travels, elderly recreation, social renewal, etc.
A financially unstable senior citizen in the same state of mental degradation cannot afford to do the same and sufferings are on the rise. Financial destitution can be avoided if there had been a deliberately exercised foresight for modest needs and savings. The approach is to build a sustainable wealth of lifetime resources to address the financial requirements of the seniors across the twilight zone. However other than the personal approach towards financial savings, there are a lot of options for the aging population in Canada under Federal Programmes:2
- Old Age Security (OA)
- Guaranteed Income Supplements (GIS)
- Allowance for the Survivor
- Canada Pension Plan (CPP)
Nourishing and healthy life is just like a running well-oiled machine, with its essential parts continuously maintained so that it can perform well or give its maximum productivity, as against its estimated useful life. The inception of sudden serious health problems can be substantially mitigated, if not totally avoided. However, there is a sheer need here that the people aiming to their aging had led a clean, discreet, active, family-based, helpful, and interconnected life at their prime age. However, where these disciplines had not been followed, it is a likelihood that the elderly may have serious health issues. One in four adults experiences some mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and dementia. These health issues can lead adults to stroll away from familiar surroundings.3
The research says that one of the biggest needs, the Canadians, have in their aging years is unexpected medical costs for which they are usually unprepared. Health care costs have been on the rise causing depression for many seniors. The big threatening need for the aging population is for long term care. Three quarters of Canadians have no financial plan to pay for long-term care if they needed it, according to a new poll commissioned by the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA)4. The bills for such care are steep, leading seniors to cash in retirement savings or rely on children/other family members for financial support. Additionally, the seniors have to take care of the prescription-drug costs. While provincial plans cover most prescription drugs for residents 65 or older, those who retire earlier are paying out-of-pocket for these medications.5
Everybody needs support from others in making important or less important decisions regarding different areas of life. In fact, this is conspicuous that we all need the knowledge and expertise of people around us to make every kind of decision possible in life. However, the population in aging years usually needs some more support for Decision Making. As seniors with certain disabilities, they need friends, family members, and professionals to help them understand the situations and choices they face, so they may make their own decisions without affecting their individualization.
SOCIAL COMMUNICATION NEEDS
Older age is considered to be a transitional period where people are not only experiencing changes in physical health but also in social roles (for example, retirement, grown-up children,) that can influence opportunities for social participation. Studies show that social activities are particularly important for the population in aging however they have to deal with this dilemma. Social Communication needs can be addressed through a caregiver either a family member or a professional support staff. Social interactions have a positive correlation with health benefits like reduced risk of mortality, disability, depression, and better cognitive health.