It’s no secret that we live in a rapidly-changing world. New technology offers opportunities for improved efficiency, but it often leaves the older generation confused and unable to adapt. Introduce COVID into this fast-paced environment and you have a whole new set of issues facing seniors today.
Below we’ll list the top 10 issues facing seniors today in no particular order of priority. These are issues that we hear frequently in talking with our clients. We hope that outlining and clarifying these issues helps yourself to better prepare for getting older, or helps you better take care of your loved ones who are getting older.
Top 10 Issues Facing Seniors
#1 Rising Healthcare Costs
As we age, we require more frequent visits to our doctors. We also seem to have more doctors. It seems there’s a specialist for every organ in the body, resulting in more time and money spent on healthcare. Because we’re spending more time at the doctor as we age, the rising cost of healthcare can be a significant expense. Current projections state that the population will be spending approximately 6.5% more on healthcare this year.
There are many health conditions or diseases that can rear their ugly head as we get older. These would include things like dementia, Alzheimers, macular degeneration, osteoporosis, and more. All of these tend to affect seniors more than others. My dad recently passed due to dementia and that is a terrible disease. Thankfully, the Alzheimers Association is actively working on cures or solutions to lessen the effects of dementia on our seniors.
#3 Physical Aging
I once had a wise man tell me, “Getting old ain’t for sissies.” And while that may not be the most subtle way to put it, he has a point. As we get older, our bones and organs don’t work as well as they should. I’m getting older and have noticed some of these effects of the physical aging that can appear from nowhere. One morning this past week, I had a severe case of tendonitis in my right ankle. Not sure how it happened, but it did. So as we get older, we have to be aware of those upcoming changes.
#4 Activities of Daily Living
As we age, we’re not able to do all the things that we once could do quickly and easily. Maybe we can’t drive to the grocery store because our driving skills have declined. Maybe we’re not able to keep our house clean like we once did. It could be a result of physical aging issues like we mentioned above, but could also be due to a lack of energy as you age.
Thankfully, there are many quality home healthcare agencies that are able to help with activities of daily living. They’ll take you to the grocery store or the doctor’s office, perform light house cleaning, help you with meal prep, and more. Take advantage of those services if they are available to you.
#5 Financial Security
I’ll sarcastically say congratulations to those of you who are currently receiving Social Security benefits. Congress was so “gracious” this year to approve a 5.9% cost of living increase for Social Security benefits. Unfortunately, they’ve also increased Medicare premiums by 14.5%. So technically you’re losing money, hence my sarcasm.
We also are dealing a 7% inflation which has caused significant increases in many goods and services. Grocery bills are higher than they’ve ever been. Meat and vegetables are costing 6.5% more than they were last year, dairy products are up 3.5%, and bread costs have increased 5.5% to 6%. These rising costs can create a significant amount of financial stress to add to all the other issues facing seniors.
As we age, we lose friends and acquaintances due to illness or other unfortunate circumstances. Couple that with the COVID quarantining over the last few years, and that can cause some serious loneliness issues for seniors. My dad would often sit and read the obituaries in the newspaper every day. Personally, reading the obituaries seems a little depressing to me. But due to quarantine, that was his only way of knowing which of his friends had passed.
Life is built upon relationships. Even in today’s atmosphere, go and enjoy time with your family. Don’t let anybody interfere with your relationships. And be sure to spend time with the seniors in your family. You might be all they have at this point.
#7 Financial Predators
Believe it or not, there are people out there that want to take advantage of you financially. I’m sure you’ve all received many calls regarding your car warranty. It seems like I get them daily. There are many scams being used by financial predators to take advantage of people, especially seniors.
I recently read a news report about a lady who was contacted via telephone about bail money for her grandson. The caller identified himself as an attorney and said that he needed $8,000 to bail her grandson from jail. She knew that her grandson was not old enough to be in jail — he was only 5 or 6 years old. So the local authorities established a trap operation and was able to catch the financial predator.
If you don’t get anything else from this blog, PLEASE DO NOT GIVE YOUR FINANCIAL INFORMATION TO ANYONE OVER THE PHONE! Your bank is not going to call you asking for financial information. The IRS is not going to call you asking for financial information. No reputable company is going to ask for that information over the phone. They already have that information and don’t need you to provide it on the phone.
#8 Abuse and Neglect
As I’m sure you’re aware, COVID has created many shortages in the medical field. Hospitals are short-staffed in addition to nursing homes and assisted living facilities. In the case of the nursing homes and assisted living facilities, those shortages can cause abuse and neglect of patients that need frequent care.
Many nursing home or assisted living patients need to be turned several times a day to prevent bed sores from developing. This seems to be the number one elder abuse claim in our country today. So how do you prevent this from happening to your loved ones who are in a nursing home or assisted living facility?
The best advice I can give is to visit often, but at different times. Don’t visit at the same time on the same days of the week. Maybe visit at breakfast on one day, then lunch on another. And don’t tell the nursing home when you’re coming. Visit when they’re not expecting. This will keep them on their heels. Also, don’t take no for an answer. Don’t let these facilities tell you that you can’t visit due to COVID.
Here’s a comparable example of why you need to visit at random times. My wife called me the other day and said the cleaning service was coming to our house tomorrow. As soon as she realized they were coming, what does she do? She starts cleaning the house! The same thing happens at these nursing homes when they know you’re coming. So you’ll need to surprise them on occasion to make sure they’re doing their job and taking care of your loved ones.
When I turned 16 years old, I couldn’t wait to hit the road! And I’ve enjoyed driving and taking road trips ever since. I would be very depressed if suddenly I was unable to drive somewhere that I wanted to go. But when we get older, our vision declines (especially at night) and our reaction time is slower.
As a result, seniors are not able to travel as frequently as they once could. This will then usually cause them to worry about how they are going to get to the doctor or the grocery store. This is a big stressor and one of the biggest issues facing seniors today. Taking the car keys from your parents or grandparents can be tough, but it is often times the safest option. Just be sure they have alternate transportation options to get them where they need to go.
#10 Changing Social Climate
Adjusting to technologies is really tough for seniors. Things like telemedicine and concierge medical services are changing the way healthcare is conducted. I personally am not a huge fan of telemedicine. I like to be in front of my doctor when I’m talking to him. I’m sure most of our seniors feel the same way.
On the other hand, concierge medical services can be a huge benefit to seniors. We have several of those services that are now available in our town, and I expect more to come. It basically works like it did way back before everyone had cars. The doctor comes to your house instead of you driving to his or her office. This can be a great thing for seniors who have limited transportation.
Contact Us So We Can Help
Based on conversations with our clients, that is the most comprehensive list of the issues facing seniors today. If you are currently a senior or will be soon, we hope that this information was helpful so that you can better plan for the future. If you are responsible for your loved ones who are aging, we hope that this gives you the necessary insight to better provide for them.
If you have any further questions, please complete this form or give us a call at (229) 226-8183. We’ll be happy to help you with any aspects of elder care or estate planning.
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