Preparing And Planning For The Final Years Of Life
This era is blessed with longevity and many elderly people are healthy and productive beyond 65 years of age. With advanced planning and an awareness of age-related issues, living till 80 and beyond is very common nowadays.
Why Ageing Is Ignored
Accepting the fact that at some point in time, the ageing process will catch up with each one of us is an important aspect of ageing. But being prepared for the final years is a herculean task, as families are busy with their daily routine and choose to ignore aspects of ageing, until a crisis or medical emergency knocks at the door.
With the sudden need for intensive medical care, hospitalization or acute long-term care, the decisions and actions taken in haste and emotional trauma result in depletion of assets and the responsibility for oversight and care becomes a major issue for the family.
Facing Unexpected Difficulties
Longevity is also resulting in people outliving their savings and investments. With unanticipated inflation and other exigencies, elders are at a loss to make ends meet. Culturally, India is blessed with family norms that require the elders to be cared for, by their children and families, but this is not always practical, for various reasons.
The realization that health can deteriorate over a period of time or emergency situations can occur suddenly resulting in a disability and dependency on others, comes as a rude shock. And being unable to handle simple activities of daily living like dressing, bathing, toileting, ambulating, managing expenses and meals proves to be unacceptable for the elderly.
Being There For Your Loved Ones
Living arrangements may need drastic changes as round the clock supervision may be required. Care giver resources are very expensive and trained caregivers providing care with empathy along with dignity is rare! There is a lack of resources to guide and help families to plan for the contingency of their loved ones losing their independence and requiring full-time care.
Therefore, helping them prepare and to be ready, along with being able to step in, at the appropriate time is important. Additionally, encouraging preventive measures in various aspects of health care and elder living, requires great tact and understanding.
Facilitating socialization within neighbourhoods and offering varied activities to keep elders engaged and promote cognitive, emotional and physical well-being are major challenges for our society with its varied culture and language restrictions.