The effects of life transitions on the elderly.[ March 17, 2015 ]
Later life holds many lifestyle changes, all of which can have serious effects on each individual. Older people have major life adjustments to adapt to, which can ultimately have consequences and cause a range of issues. Below are a few changes and their potential effects on the older population.
Often this is the first big change that older people face as they move into the next phase of life. While some people willingly choose to retire, others are forced into it, possibly by ill health or by job loss. Appropriate support for this step may be professional counselling to help adjust to the changes mentally, or may involve supporting the person to fill their time with new activities, such as taking up a hobby or volunteering for local charities. There is potential for retirees to become depressed and struggle to adjust to the change in finances and social roles, to the more preparation that can be done for retirement, the better the individual will cope.
Another big adjustment can be relocation, and this may happen on more than one occasion and for various reasons, including reducing upkeep and obtaining a property with specific required amenities. The relocation is considerably more stressful for the individual if they think they have less control over it and that the new environment will be unpredictable. It’s therefore important to make sure the individual is as prepared as possible and is in control of as much as possible.
This affects people’s lives in many different ways, including reducing their social interaction, potentially causing isolation, depression and general poor mental health. The death of a spouse affects men and women in differently, with men having a significant raised level of mortality, with no real change in women’s. Prolonged bereavement causes many psychological issues such as feelings of guilt (both related and unrelated to the death), worthlessness and depression. Sleep disturbance and anxiety are also a common issue. It’s important that the right help is sought, with counselling and support groups (such as widow support groups) offering help with the bereavement transitional period.