12 Psychosocial Needs Of The Elderly
12 Psychosocial Needs Of The Elderly
Elderly people are classified as vulnerable in many situations. For obvious reasons, our elderlies cannot do much but very little. They sometimes need someone to hold their hands.
Someday, everybody will get old and nobody wants to reach old age without somebody around to cater to their needs and wants.
Here’s a piece on 12 elderly psychosocial needs of the elderly to help you give them more support and care.
It’s no news that as you grow older, your body becomes weak and vulnerable. Hence, health and safety are priorities and should be treated as such.
Providing health services and medications for the aged should come first before any other thing if you want them to stick around for a longer period of time.
Elderly people need to be taken to the hospital for medications and check-up regularly. They are old, weak and need to be encouraged to treat their bodies with more supplements and natural ingredients.
Elderlies tend to dislike being left out because of assumptions that they cannot do much. My grandparents for one hate it when there is nobody in the house to make some noise. Funny enough, they love the noise of grandkids and people around them. According to my grandma, as you grow old, young blood around you start to mature as well and soon they will have so many responsibilities. Some of them won’t have time to visit you anymore and you become lonely.
Elderlies love it when you acknowledge their presence and give them attention. Providing all the healthcare and medications might not cut it when you are not always there physically once in a while to spend time with them. Nobody likes to be lonely, especially if they were social during their youth.
If you can afford to get a nurse for your elderlies, that would be very nice. If you can only afford a part-time nurse, that is also fine as well. The goal is to have someone around to help look after these elderlies, administer their drugs and if possible arrange their meals.
Trained nurses can also be very valuable in the case of emergencies and first aid. I highly recommend getting a trained nurse for your parents as opposed to just any kind of maid. You can place also place an advert for the post of a trained nurse in your local daily newspaper.
The local paper is preferable for a wider advertisement because you definitely want someone who lives a few meters from your elderlies’ house, or at most someone that lives a few blocks away. Proximity is very important in this kind of job requirement. If your elderly ones cannot place a distress call and the nurse isn’t available within minutes, then there should be a review of the contract.
Everyone needs to be mobile. To move around and satisfy their psychosocial needs, elderlies need to move around as well to get things. A grocery store, grandchild’s birthday party, hospital and church are some of the places they might need to visit.
My Uncles made it a year’s mission to get my grandparents a car for mobility sake. One morning after breakfast, my grandfather complained about being strangely weak and he collapsed soon after. There was no vehicle to transport him to a hospital and my grandmother was confused and frustrated.
She had to call an Uber that showed up 15 minutes later, a lot of time for someone to lose his life. My grandfather recovered but my uncles couldn’t stop thinking about what could have happened in those 15 minutes my grandma waited for Uber.
It became necessary to get my grandparents a car and a driver. It was a joint effort and eventually, we were able to get them a nice car to move around. Mobility is as important for elderly people as it is for we young blood.
5. Family Reunions
My grandparents and elderly parents are excited about reunions. Apparently, it gives them a sense of accomplishment. We often organize these kinds of reunions once in a while. We invite everyone from children to cousins and some family friends. I figured from volunteering at the elderly home that older people love reunions.
I once helped an eighty-two-year-old war veteran by driving him to his platoon reunion. He was ecstatic and all smiles while adjusting his tie in the backseat, he won’t even shut up about how he misses the “guys” and can’t wait to see his friends after 50 years.
He loved his accomplishments and giggled like a little boy going for soccer practice. I realized that being old came with a craving to be appreciated, and anything that would remind you of your youth is absolutely joyful.
6. Close Proximity with Old Friends
Old Mark told me he wished he could be close to his friends. He loved it at the Elderly peoples’ home, but he wanted to be close to his friends that lived at the edge of the ocean, west of the country. He was going to discuss it with his daughter and I guess it went well because the next summer when I signed up for voluntary service, Old Mark wasn’t there anymore.
Old Friends are irreplaceable in anybody’s’ life. The fact that you share history and memories of events from your past makes it very hard to replace old friends. When I drove Old Mark home after his reunion, he confided in me. He told me he felt like the 20-year-old boy that fought in the world war again.
He laughed about his friend that invited him for his 5th marriage in the west, “He hadn’t changed a bit, I am very surprised he made it to eighty-two. If anyone told the boys and me that he would get past fifty, we would have laughed our guts out” he said.
Although we were taught to leave the past and focus on the future, according to Old Mark, there isn’t much of a future when you are eight years old and can’t stand up without a helping hand. The only thing you can do at that time of your life is to reminisce on the past accomplishments and focus on the good memories you shared with your loved ones.
7. Attention Of Their Children
When I turned eighteen, I literally hung out with my friends all day. I had two siblings and my mom was working part-time at a clinic. She definitely had enough time to look after my younger ones, but she would instead call my grandmother who lived about two kilometres away to come help with the kids.
I remember asking my mother why she stressed old granny by making her drive all the way to the house to babysit children that barely have any trouble. I got my answer when grandma showed up, apparently, she stopped at the store and got candy, groceries, potatoes and carrots for dinner. She was so excited to be wanted, I was happy she was around and I know she was excited to be around as well.
In China, not caring for your elderly parents and not giving them the right amount of attention is a crime. Elderlies love to be wanted and needed. The society already makes them feel weak and inferior and the least you can do is invite your grandma to help with the kids or Grandpa to come help hang the Christmas lights.
This brings us back to keeping fit and healthy. It is recommended that people above the age of 65 do some type of exercise to keep the muscles working. Since they are vulnerable to diseases and injuries, it is recommended that they engage in one or two exercises twice a week.
It is also standard practice to have a professional physiotherapist around to monitor these exercises because exercises not done right can cause more harm than good
9. Balanced Diet (As recommended by A Doctor)
There is a reason I love going to stay with my grandparents other than the fact that I love them and enjoy giving them company. The food on the other side of town is absolutely wonderful. My relatives supply my grandparents with enough food to last them for 6 months regularly.
We usually give most of this food to charity because there is always enough to feed us for a long time. However, it took a Doctor to explain that it wasn’t about having all the food in the world, instead, it was about having the right food in the house.
In fact, taking too much food and not the right kinds of food can be dangerous to an older person’s health. Imagine a diabetic patient having spaghetti as breakfast and rice as dinner, that’s a train wreck waiting to happen – a sugar aided system malfunction on a countdown. In essence, it would render any medication being administered to the patient weak or just plain useless.
A dietician was recommended and we took his advice. He put my grandfather on a strict no-carbohydrate diet because he was diabetic. He prescribed lots of vitamin supplements for the two elderly people and more for my grandma since she had an injury from her youth.
Like I said earlier, as you grow older, the body gets weaker. Older people tend to have problems with mobility – moving around from one place to another. According to experts, you lose about 50% of your muscle power once you are 65 or older, and this even depends on how much you worked in your youth.
Most people have broken legs or incidents from their past that inflicted injuries on them. This will inevitably affect them in their old age, this is why doctors will sometimes recommend surgeries just to make sure they remain stable even in their old age.
11. Good Appearance
I am already thinking about how my grandma would smile whenever someone said she didn’t look her age. I found out that unlike we young blood, many elderly people crave the validation we give them, especially when it is in line with their appearance.
New clothes aren’t meant for the younger ones only. Sometimes, buying a nice dinner gown for your elderly loved ones would make them happy. Tell them how beautiful or handsome they look, but don’t lie to them. The joy and happiness I see on the face of my grandmother every time I tell her she looks 20 years younger can’t be traded for anything.
12. Surprise visits And Outing
They love it when you show up, whether you announce or not. This helps to meet their psychosocial needs. Most elderlies love it when you show up without calling. Unplanned holiday trips with the family or picnics also have the same effect. It gets very lonely when the kids move to other cities to continue their lives and you stay back in a big house alone.
Friendly visitors that show up once in a while excites my grandmother. However, would be disappointed that you didn’t announce your visit. Though she loves it, however, she loves to cook and would prepare a banquet for her guests anytime they visited. If she is not able to prepare a feast suitable for 500 warriors who just returned from battle, she would be very disappointed.
You can really help your elderlies enjoy your their remaining time on earth by meeting their psychosocial needs. Peace of mind and a sense of accomplishment is the one thing they always seek. If you have elderly parents and take care of them, or you work as a caregiver for elderly people, we appreciate and love you.