Learn tips to help you cope with both aging and loss.
What types of issues seem to affect seniors the most?
- A profound sense of lost independence frequently occurs when seniors lose their ability to drive or they are restricted in their driving privileges due to age-related decline.
- As we age, we are more likely to be confronted with the painful experience of losing friends and loved ones who have been our main supports through life. This is made even more difficult when the death of a same-aged peer or spouse serves as a reminder of our own mortality and contributes to a sense of being alone.
- Many seniors experience frustration and anger when routine physical activities, such as taking care of their yards or doing household chores, become harder to accomplish and they need to rely on others for assistance. Even basic activities like walking and moving can require more effort and can sometimes be painful.
What can I do to better cope with aging?
Coping with these losses is challenging and can easily become overwhelming if we don’t take action to take care of ourselves.
- Maintaining a sense of connection is probably the best way to help seniors deal with the emotional toll that losses bring with them. Since many seniors find their social network shrinking as they age, it’s helpful to keep an open mind to establishing new relationships. This can be done in a variety of ways. Some seniors become actively involved in hobbies and they meet people through clubs or places where people with the same hobby tend to visit. In addition, many take advantage of the resources and social activities that take place in their local senior center.
- Maintaining good health through regular visits to your physician is essential. Your Primary Care Physician can guide you towards safe activities that are enjoyable and that help you maintain good physical health. Your doctor is also a good person to talk with about ways to maintain regular sleep and a healthy diet.
- Many seniors report to us that volunteering helps them cope with losses because it brings a renewed sense of productivity and meaning to their lives, which buffers them as they struggle with loss. Helping others through volunteering also provides a distraction from life’s difficulties and provides opportunities to socialize and meet new people.
- Try to remain active and don’t be afraid to reach out for the human connection that brings the emotional support that helps all of us meet life’s challenges.
For More Information
To learn more about Sharp's senior health services, to register for a class or to find a Sharp-affiliated physician, search for San Diego doctors or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about senior health, read the Senior Health News archive.