As we get older, we struggle with many health and social problems. Weakened mobility, death of loved ones, children growing up, health problems, withdrawal from social and working life – these are just the most significant social issues affecting elderly people in their daily lives.
How can we help our elderly loved ones? What are the most significant barriers to social inclusion for the elderly? Today we are discussing the most significant old age problems, social issues affecting the elderly and barriers to social inclusion for elderly people.
Psychological and social old age problems – social issues affecting elderly
Social discrimination against older people involves mainly indifference and distance from younger people. More and more, respect solely for age is disappearing and in its place comes respect for the individual. Research shows that there are negative perceptions of old age, most often combined with anxiety caused by the cult of youth. However, these are not the only social issues affecting elderly people. In addition, physical condition, limited psycho-motor abilities and withdrawal from active participation in social life stand in their way. The marginalisation of the elderly population is progressing gradually. It begins with withdrawal from social roles and narrowing of interpersonal contacts, this is compounded by limited access to many goods, services, and institutions, increasing isolation, passivity, and indifference up to almost complete withdrawal from social activity.
Elderly people are quick to identify with the negative stereotypes of old age. They become lost, helpless, and unable to keep up with the rapid pace of change. The above-mentioned factors contribute to the incidence of loneliness among older people. Solitude is not the same as loneliness. Loneliness is an outline of the situation in which solitude can take place. Aloneness is a concept usually associated with a free choice or experience resulting from some circumstance, whereas loneliness is more associated with a situation. As a result, it takes on a negative meaning. The experience of loneliness brings with it feelings of sadness, longing, regret and lack of fulfilment.
Here are the main causes of old age problems of loneliness, such as loneliness and withdrawal:
- socio-cultural and moral distance,
- narrowing social circles,
- death of loved ones,
- lack of understanding by loved ones,
- non-acceptance and fear of a harsh reality,
- health problems limiting mobility,
- increasing aggression and mood swings.
Adaptation problems — one of the most important social issues affecting the elderly
Elderly people are facing more and more adversities related to the ageing process and everyday problems on their own. Sometimes adult children are a source of anguish instead of support. Elder abuse is becoming a serious problem.
However, the problem does not only occur within the family. Sometimes it is the elderly people themselves who are the main authors of their troubles, especially when they are unable to accept help and the passage of time. Sources of adjustment problems include material difficulties, lack of support from institutions, disinterest in this social group or inability to come to terms with a difficult situation. Adaptation problems are one of the most important social issues affecting the elderly, and what they are exactly you will read below.
The most common adaptation problems in elderly people:
- Sudden changes versus strong emotions caused by confusion, embarrassment,
- Changing socio-economic and moral conditions,
- Older people are losing their way in the face of rapid change,
- Information overload and changing living conditions.
- Mass culture has a strong influence on modern people.
Key barriers to social inclusion for the elderly
Loneliness among older adults is a major public health problem that can be linked to processes of social participation and identity, so it is worth exploring the most important barriers to social inclusion for elderly people.
Here are the barriers to social inclusion for elderly people:
- loss of contact with friends,
- loss of contact with relatives,
- lack of a supportive community,
- lack of acceptable social opportunities.
How to support elderly people to overcome social difficulties?
According to the information above, the most important social issues affecting elderly people are loneliness, health problems, lack of mental support and physical limitations that do not allow them to participate in social life. As you can see, old age problems are significant and not easy to exclude immediately. However, there is one way to help elderly people face social barriers.
That way is to find someone who is experienced in caring for old people and will be able to provide physical, mental and transport support. And that someone is, of course, an experienced live-in carer. Such a person would support your loved ones with daily chores such as cleaning and cooking, monitor the senior’s health, provide a safe means of transport and, most importantly, ensure round-the-clock companionship. By hiring a live-in care professional, you ensure that your loved one feels part of the community and forgets about loneliness.