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Understanding the Dilemmas of the Elderly Population

Introduction: Understanding the Dilemmas of the Elderly Population

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The term elderly is often used to refer to people who have reached an advanced age and are typically over the age of 65. However, this definition can vary depending on the cultural and social context, as well as individual health and functional status. It has been observed that the elderly may face a range of dilemmas within society. Some include ageism and discrimination, health challenges, financial insecurity, social isolation and lack of caregiving. According to the report of "Age UK", it has been seen that in the “UK, 1.4 million” seniors experience frequent loneliness (Ageuk.org.uk, 2023). The culture of today has evolved to understand loneliness as a major issue. In order to have a better understanding of the elderly, it is necessary to understand how some of the changes elders go through as they age affect them. There are some of the most significant areas of change that everyone experiences as they age. Everyone experiences physical changes as they grow old, this includes "bone loss", "arthritis", "loss of teeth" and so on. Most people start to detect some type of “visual impairment around the age of 40" including the onset of "cataracts or glaucoma","hearing loss" and "the ability to distinguish different flavours". “Blood vessel alterations” that come with ageing raise the risk of “hypertension” and “coronary heart disease” (Familiesforlife.sg, 2023). Apart from this as everyone grows old, they also face changes in their “financial status”, “accommodation”, "activities,” and “hobbies” as well as in relationships.

Main Body

Beliefs about the elderly

Negative attitudes about ageing and the elderly often referred to as ageism, can have significant consequences for older adults' physical and mental health. Ageism can manifest in many ways, including “negative stereotypes”, “discrimination”, and “prejudice towards older adults”. According to the social clock theory which is a sociological theory, people have a shared sense of the appropriate timing of major life events and transitions (Rod et al. 2020). One consequence of ageism is increased stress and anxiety among older adults. Older adults may pick up on negative attitudes and views about ageing and come to believe that their mental and physical capacities are deteriorating (Nay, & Garratt, 2009). This may have detrimental impacts on one's physical health as well as increasing "stress and worry". "Chronic stress" can be a factor in many health issues, including “high blood pressure”, “heart disease” and “diabetes”. Additionally, “stress” can weaken the “immune system”, making older adults more vulnerable to infections and illnesses. Another consequence of ageism is “social isolation and loneliness”. Older adults feel alone and alienated when they are left out of social events or face discrimination. Apart from this the elderly who feel they are a burden may perceive themselves as being a burden on their families, friends, and society as a whole. This perception leads to “feelings of guilt”, “shame”, and “low self-esteem”, which can contribute to depression and social isolation (Rivero-Jiménez, Conde-Caballero, & Mariano-Juárez, 2020). Feeling like a burden can impact the social needs of “older adults” in many ways. Most of the time they withdraw themselves from “social interaction”, “family interactions” and “social activities or volunteer opportunities”. This also impacted their state of mind as well this is why older adults often avoid self-care activities which leads to untreated health problems.

Recognizing elderly people's needs

The elderly faces several challenges every day that can impact their “physical and mental health”, “financial well-being”, and “overall quality of life”. some of the major problems that the elderly might encounter are-

Health-related challenges: People are increasingly susceptible to "health issues" and "chronic illnesses" as they get older. According to a report by the “World Health Organization”, the most common health conditions among older adults include “hypertension”, “arthritis”, “heart disease”, and “diabetes” (Who.int, 2022). These health conditions also impact daily functioning, “limit mobility”, and increase the risk of falls and injuries. “One-fourth of elderly households reside in subpar housing", which affects their health as well as the magnitude of their heating expenditures (Ageuk.org.uk, 2013). Additionally, older adults may face challenges accessing healthcare services due to barriers such as cost, transportation, and limited availability of specialized services.

Financial strain:Many older adults face financial challenges, including “inadequate retirement savings”, “rising healthcare costs”, and “limited access to affordable housing”. Elderly people do not have enough resources or proper health conditions to work after reaching a certain age and rapidly changing society the living expenses only get upward in the chart. As a result, they feel a lack of retirement savings, which brings anxiety and depression which leads to more severe health conditions. Based on the report it has been seen those older tenants experience poverty at substantially higher rates than homeowners, with “29%” of social tenants living in poverty (Ageuk.org.uk, 2019). This financial strain impacts access to food, housing, and healthcare, along with contributing to stress and anxiety.

Age-related physical difficulties and their resolution

As people age, they often face physical challenges that can limit their mobility and independence. This can be compounded by societal barriers that prevent them from accessing public spaces and resources. Among the physical obstacles that elderly persons in society must overcome-

Accessibility issues in public buildings: Many public structures, such as buildings, parks, and transportation systems, are not designed to accommodate the needs of elderly people (Chu, Donato?Woodger, & Dainton, 2020). This makes it difficult for them to navigate these spaces and participate fully in community life.

Limited opportunities for physical activity:Regular exercise is essential for maintaining physical and mental health in old age (Abdi et al. 2019). However, elderly people often face barriers to engaging in physical activity, such as a lack of access to exercise facilities, safety concerns, and limited mobility.

Social isolation: Social isolation is a significant problem among elderly people, particularly those who are homebound or living in long-term care facilities (Abdi et al. 2019). This leads to depression, anxiety, and other health problems.

Numerous approaches can be used at the societal and policy levels to address these problems. One solution is to influence policies ensuring all new structures are elderly-accessible. This could include designing buildings with features like “wheelchair ramps”, “wide doorways”, and “grab bars in bathrooms” (Tun, Madanian, & Mirza, 2021). Educating people about the needs of the ageing population is also crucial. This can help to raise awareness of the challenges that elderly people face and foster greater understanding and empathy. Communities can organize events, workshops, and other initiatives to help people learn about the challenges and needs of elderly people.

Social and emotional difficulties the elderly person faces and remedy

Age-related social and emotional isolation can have a detrimental effect on an elderly person's health. According to “Age UK”, in “England”, “more than 2 million persons over 75 live alone”, and “over a million senior citizens report going more than a month” without communicating with a friend, neighbour, or family member (Ageuk.org.uk, 2022). The UK government established a “Loneliness Strategy in 2018” as a solution (Ageuk.org.uk, 2022). The majority of elderly individuals experience social isolation for many reasons, including "getting older or less physically active", "losing their position as the family's head", "abandoning their job", "losing spouses and friends", "having a disability or being ill" (Nhs.uk, 2022). Apart from this anxiety is the second most prevalent mental health disorder in older persons, affecting "22% of men and 28% of women who are 65 years or older" (Ageuk.org.uk, 2019). The NHS provides mental health services specifically designed for the elderly, including talking therapies, medication, and community support services as a solution to this problem (Nhs.uk, 2022). Another social challenge that they face is not wanting help from others. Based on the report it can be seen that between the "ages of 75 and 84", "one in five men and women" has some difficulty getting dressed or doing their laundry (Ons.gov.uk, 2018). However, the stigma of loneliness prevents elderly people from asking for assistance, and they frequently feel too proud to do so. These challenges can be mitigated by encouraging intergenerational activities, using technological advancement and promoting age-friendly communities. 


In light of the study's full findings, it can be concluded that in this modern era building a healthy life for the elderly is highly crucial. The help in determining and understanding different challenges faced by the elderly gives a better understanding of the lifestyle of the elderly. It has been seen that there are certain beliefs which are implemented on the elderly as well elderly also implement certain beliefs upon the society which mostly impact their overall lifestyle of them. Most older adults face ageism which includes negative stereotypes, prejudices against older adults as well as discrimination. This kind of thing brings social anxiety and stress to the elderly which leads to different health-related problems. the elderly also face many challenges in their everyday life. Those challenges mainly include physical challenges along with social and emotional challenges. It has been observed that some of the main challenges the elderly face are health-related problems, financial problems and an increasing sense of social isolation and loneliness. Based upon the reports from “NHS”, “Age UK” and “ONS” it has been seen that there is a certain increase in loneliness in the age group of sixty and up. This not only affects the health of the elderly but also affects them mentally by increasing stress and anxiety level. This is why it is recommended to understand the needs of the elderly as well as find solutions through which the challenges the elderly face on an everyday basis can be reduced. 


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