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World Senior Citizen Day: Top 5 Problems Faced By The Elderly

Every year on 21 August, World Senior Citizen Day is celebrated across the world. It is celebrated to show heartfelt gratitude to older people who have contributed to society and recognise the services that they continue to give throughout their lives.

It also intends to encourage the older people to participate to the fullest and thereby, find acceptance and assistance they need to continue to lead their independent lives with dignity.

Their skill, knowledge, and experience contribute so much to the family and society. They are pioneers in the field of science, psychology, medicine, civil rights and so much more, yet they are ignored in many ways.

Here are the top 5 problems faced by the elderly.

1. Social isolation and loneliness

Senior citizens have fewer opportunities for social engagement than younger age groups. They feel lonely when their children move away to another place, friend or spouse passes away, and retire from jobs and soon they become housebound. According to a report by the Changing Needs and Rights of Older People in India, almost every second elderly person suffers from loneliness.

2. Elderly abuse

It is a harsh reality that many elderly people are abused. It is estimated that between 9 per cent and 50 per cent elderly people have gone through verbal, physical, and financial abuse [1] . They are neglected by their relatives or children, which in serious cases increases their chances of dying.

3. Financial insecurity

Elderly people who have retired from their jobs or those who are poor have fewer job opportunities. After retirement, most seniors lived on a fixed income, and the constantly increasing cost of living can pose many financial restrictions. Besides, if they are experiencing health problems, there comes in extra medical expenses that make it much more difficult for them [2] .

4. Physical and mental health problems

Ageing affects the body as it weakens the muscles, bones, hearing, and eyesight and mobility often become limited. According to the National Council on Aging, about 92 per cent of seniors suffer from at least one chronic disease and 77 per cent suffer from two. These chronic diseases include heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.

In addition, mental health problems affect a large number of elderly people. These mental health problems include Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and depression. It is said that approximately 47.5 million people worldwide have dementia, which is predicted to triple nearly by 2050. Over 15 per cent of adults above the age of 60 suffer from a mental disorder, according to the World Health Organization.

5. Malnutrition

Malnutrition in elderly people above the age of 65, often goes undiagnosed and can lead to health issues, such as a weakened immune system and muscle weakness. The causes of malnutrition stem from depression, dietary restrictions, health problems (seniors suffering from dementia may forget to eat), limited income, and alcoholism [3] .

View Article References
  1. [1] Kumar, P., & Patra, S. (2019). A study on elder abuse in an urban resettlement colony of Delhi.Journal of family medicine and primary care,8(2), 621.
  2. [2] Tucker-Seeley, R. D., Li, Y., Subramanian, S. V., & Sorensen, G. (2009). Financial hardship and mortality among older adults using the 1996-2004 Health and Retirement Study.Annals of epidemiology,19(12), 850–857.
  3. [3] Ramic, E., Pranjic, N., Batic-Mujanovic, O., Karic, E., Alibasic, E., & Alic, A. (2011). The effect of loneliness on malnutrition in elderly population.Medical Archives,65(2), 92.

Read more about: old people health problems
Story first published: Wednesday, August 21, 2019, 16:00 [IST]
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