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Senior Lifestyles: What concerns seniors today?

As we age, some things get easier, and, as many of us have learned with age, some things are far more challenging than we ever imagined.

Here are the top ten concerns that most seniors face, and, as you might guess, having enough money to deal with retirement is a major factor related to most them.

1. Health care and related costs

Like it or not, as we age, most of us require more medical care. From screenings to flu shots, and with hospital stays, doctor visits and prescription prices rising, health care is the No. 1 concern for most seniors.

2. Age-related disease 

Major health concerns in today’s world include dementia and primarily Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, macular degeneration, and osteoporosis. Each of these and more threaten a person’s day-to-day ability to fully function.

Existing health issues usually continue to progress with age and we lose even more functionality. It’s a very good idea to understand the impact — current and future — and how to cope with your existing health problems so you can prepare for them.

3. Physical aging

As we age, we cannot move as quickly or see as clearly as we once did. For many, bones weaken and are more easily broken. Diet and exercise become more important as we age.

4. Personal assistance

Activities like driving and tasks such as lifting groceries or cleaning the house become more difficult as we get older.

For some, assistance by a spouse or care provider may be needed.  Finding good, affordable help is a challenge, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or inquire among your friends what agencies or people they recommend.

5. Financial security

For most seniors, being on a fixed income in the face of the rising cost of living often means cutting back on some of the things we used to do, or in too many cases, having to make difficult choices as to what bills to pay or what medicines to buy.

6. Loneliness

Aging doesn’t just affect us, it impacts our friends too. 

Loss of a spouse or a longtime friend whether to Alzheimer’s disease or death contributes to isolation and loneliness. Spending time with remaining friends and family members is important, and often a pet can be a wonderful companion.

7. Financial scams and predators

Seniors have become a favorite target of unscrupulous people who try to sell unnecessary goods or services to those they see as vulnerable. Having your financial decisions reviewed by someone you trust or if you have a reliable friend or family member, it’s always wise to have them review any financial decisions you’re about to make before you do so.

8. Abuse or neglect

Understaffing at nursing homes and assisted living facilities is an ongoing problem and concern.  Poor hiring practices of personnel can lead to abuse or neglect of the residents. Be sure you or someone you trust carefully screens a facility.

You can ask a care or case manager for a recommendation, interview residents and ask to see the most recent state review of the facility.

9. Transportation

Our reflexes tend to slow as we age and our vision can become less clear which makes driving unsafe for us and others. Contact your local senior center to find out what transportation is available specifically for seniors and others with special needs.

10. The challenge of technology

We live in a world of computers, smart phones and social media. If you aren’t up to speed on these in today’s world of technology it can be a major problem.

Look for free classes on computer use at your local colleges or library.  When all else fails, ask your 14-year old grandchild to teach you what you need to know to stay connected in this digital world.

Ron Kauffman is a consultant and expert speaker on issues of aging. He is the author of “Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease.” He may be contacted at 828-696-9799 or at drron561@gmail.com.