Living in Denial

Happy Eid Mubarak to everyone celebrating today, enjoy the moments and have fun through the holidays. As it is a celebration holiday, I want to assume most people are with families either parents, grandparents or siblings and in a relaxed atmosphere where discussions can flow unhindered. This celebration period can serve as a good and convenient time to get information that is difficult to get from some older adults by engaging them in conversations as it pertains to their wellbeing.

Now on to the main crux of today’s post, some of the older adults around us are living in denial of issues varying from health care, social care and financial assistance. Some are passing through retirement phases and can’t grasp why they must stop work voluntarily or involuntarily. As children or younger adults that have older adults around us, we need to help them successfully transit into ageing gracefully by allowing them to willingly experience these phases at their own pace while helping without fussing over them unnecessarily.

Firstly, topics around health care are paramount to an older adult as he or she advances in age. There are health problems that are generally attributed to old age and these topics must be addressed carefully in order to forestall total denial from our beloved older adults around us. For instance, hearing loss in older adults can be managed effectively if the symptoms are detected in time as we pay attention when talking to them. The repetitive questioning by an older adult during a conversation and the increased tone range at the proximity during conversation easily gives the first symptom but sometimes, when an older adult is asked if he or she heard, they can go on to affirm positively but, there is an impending problem affecting the ears gradually. If this is overlooked, it can lead to complete deafness. However, as concerned family members or friends that want the best for our older adults, we must allow them to feel in charge of their issues by broaching health issues in manners that will not instill fear in them or cause unnecessary agitation. Some older adults can refuse to go for health checks due to fear of hearing negative reports of medical issues affecting them. This can be solved by inviting friends that are health professionals to visit older adults that will engage them in conversations related to their health.

Secondly, some older adults refuse physical assistance and still feel they are strong enough to engage in duties they were used to in their middle ages. Some are forced to do things slowly due to ill health while those that feel strong need to be gradually weaned off their strength, be led to the realization that changes are occurring within the human body and activities engaged in should go in tandem with the intensity of the human body without exerting too much pressure. Old habits die hard is a saying that can be attributed to this denial of growing old as older adults refuse assistance even when the younger ones around them offer to support them. It is, therefore, the duty of younger adults around them whether family or friends to ascertain the specific needs that require support while making them see reasons why secondary assistance is needed as they grow older as well highlighting the benefits of the various assistance given to them in a courteous and loving way. Some of the physical assistance needed are mostly evident in activities of daily living such as eating, dressing, cooking etc.

Thirdly, some older adults prefer to help young people financially although they need the financial assistance more than the young people and, in the process, they are taken for granted and have little finance to take care of themselves. Older adults need all the financial help they can get as there are emergency cases that occur requiring financial support, but some older adults feel they might be a burden to family or friends around them and refuse to ask for help, therefore, living in denial of their financial status. Families especially younger adults should endeavour to desist from taking advantage of older adults as regards their finances rather they should help in making wise decisions in the areas of profitable investment as well as making sure they lack financial support at all times.

As family members or friends that have at least one older adult to care for, there are available measures to assist them to live worthwhile lives as they age. It is the responsibility of younger adults that are in close contact with them to help reduce the rate at which they yield to living in denial by taking care of their overall needs either personally or outsourcing their care needs to professionals. It is pertinent to seek professional support to come to the aid of our older adults as the need for it arises. Also, engaging older adults in meaningful conversations by not acting overbearing making sure that they are still in control of their lives as they continue to live a stress-free life in old age will encourage them to talk freely about their needs to the support system around them.

HoldTheAge with DeeGee

Picture credit – Caribbean360