Aging is a natural process among all living organisms, as we age there certain changes that take place. Some of the physical changes are loss of energy which can result in slowing down which impacts mobility while doing things like walking. Memory also decreases, so it would be hard to remember and recall things. Another problem with the elderly is chronic illnesses. There are also social changes that take place as we grow older. Many of the elderly are not actively involved in work since they have retired or do not have the ability to work. Some of their colleagues and friends have moved to different locations and are not in touch. Some have lost their spouses, for some the children have moved to different locations. So we have much fewer people that we interact which leads to loneliness.
As you age the social connections reduces and you are not able to interact in a meaningful way with the people around you. It is enjoyable to share thoughts and feeling with someone you have something common. Not being unable to express yourself can lead to depression. Sharing an old incident or an old joke will definitely very satisfying, but as you grow older you do not have that type of company.
The symptoms of depression in the elderly are lack of energy, change in appetite, unable to sleep well aches and pains in the body, feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or helplessness, loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed. Some have difficulty concentrating or making decisions. These could lead to the inability to function independently and even result in suicide. It is important to take the necessary action early. Treatment for depression in older adults may include medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. In addition, social support, exercise, and healthy lifestyle choices can also be beneficial in managing depression in older adults. It is important for the care givers of the elderly to take appropriate action if they see any of these symptoms.
Some of the ways to reduce the effects of social isolation are to engage in exercises like going for a walk preferably together with a few other people. Encourage them to develop hobbies, or join clubs or volunteer in some work. Help them to use social media so that they could keep in touch with others. Encourage them to take care of pets. Having some activity that they can do will help them reduce the effects of loneliness.
According to the United Nations, the number of people aged 60 and above is expected to double by 2050 and triple by 2100. In 2020, the global population of people aged 60 and above was around 703 million, which accounted for 9.1% of the world’s population. By 2050, the global population of people aged 60 and above is projected to reach 1.5 billion, which will account for 16% of the world’s population. So the persons born before the 1990’s will be senior citizens by 2050. All those born before 2040 will be turn to be senior citizen by the turn of the century. With the numbers increasing so will the problems like anxiety and depression will increase. There is a need to focus on our senior citizens.
So it is important to realize that as the number of our senior citizens increase so will the problems like anxiety and depression among them. We need to take steps to mitigate the problem. Let’s take care of senior citizens before we become seniors.