The number of people aged 65 years and over in the population is increasing. In 2019, the number of people aged 60 years and over reached one billion people. This number will rise to 1.4 billion people by 2030, and will reach 2.1 billion people by 2050, according to UNICEF. So some ask: What kind of world do we want older people to live in by then?
How will the elderly live in a world that guarantees them a decent life in which they enjoy family security and economic security, and also continue their work and contribute to society?
It is difficult for most people to talk about aging in a culture that automatically equates aging with disability and is often subject to stigma and discrimination.
Ashton Applewhite, author of “This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Age Discrimination,” says: “We live in a deep culture of age and ability that trumps everything except the negatives of getting older. We don’t talk about that for humanitarian reasons and culturally ingrained reasons.” “.
In a report published by the American “Fox” website, by writer Anna North, she reviewed several questions that help in how to prepare and prepare to care for elderly loved ones, especially since many millennials and Generation Z will soon face difficult decisions about caring for their elderly parents, which are:
How does your living situation benefit you?
Older adults are “independent, and they have their own notions of how they want to live,” said Maria P. Aranda, director of the Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging at the University of Southern California.
This type of open-ended question can start a conversation about whether older people live at home, with their family, or elsewhere, and can open the door to talk about the future. You can follow up with questions like: Are you comfortable? Are your needs met?
Where would you like to live if you needed more help?
Having the conversation proactively before someone becomes seriously ill can help family members prepare to respect your loved one’s wishes.
For example, according to one AARP survey, the majority of people over the age of 50 want to “stay home,” staying in their homes as long as possible rather than moving to an assisted living facility or nursing home. In other families, the older person may want – or need – to move in with his adult children or other relatives.
Multigenerational living is increasing in the United States, with 20% of women and 15% of men over the age of 65 living in multigenerational homes, and an increasing number of families are even pooling their resources with an older relative to buy a home together.
What should I know about your money?
If seniors are open to sharing information, it would be helpful to know their net worth, whether they own any property such as real estate, and whether they owe any debts. If you need to manage their finances, you will need to know what creditors must pay.
This conversation can be very difficult, as the older person may worry that his son is trying to control him, or even search for information about the inheritance. So you can enlist the help of a third party to help have this conversation.
Solidarity between generations
For her part, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, called for the creation of a new and strong “spirit of intergenerational solidarity,” as a means to unleash progress towards protecting human rights “at every stage of life… I hope that all future generations will be able to enjoy the equality and human rights that we enjoy.” We demand it for the elderly.”
Addressing the Working Group on Aging at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, she said that the journey to strengthen the rights of older people to be able to actively participate and contribute to sustainable development “needs to be guided by the voices and lived experiences of older people.”
Bachelet explained that the basic rights of the elderly need to be protected today more than ever, but the existing legal guarantees make this group of people in fact “invisible.” She added: “Today more than ever, older people need stronger protection to fully enjoy their human rights.”
An urgent need for action
The High Commissioner said that promoting the human rights of older persons is therefore “an urgent necessity that we must all strive to achieve.” For a long time, their rights have suffered from “inadequate protection,” and these rights continue to be ignored and neglected in national politics.
“At the international level, they are simply forgotten,” she stressed, noting that her office had conducted several studies pointing to protection gaps. She said that her report submitted last year to the Human Rights Council on discrimination and ageism produced conclusions that were “not surprising.”
She stressed that the current framework for older persons was “totally inadequate,” while international engagement was “far from systematic” or coherent. She said that none of the United Nations human rights treaties currently contained any specific provision on discrimination on the basis of age or ageism.
Promoting mental health for older people
The challenges that come with aging and reaching old age may harm a person’s mental health. To avoid this, Jelena Kekmanovic – founder and director of the Arlington Institute for Behavioral Therapy and professor of psychology at Georgetown University – presents in a report published by the American newspaper “The Washington Post” 4 ways to enhance mental health among the elderly, which are:
1- Review your life path
It is a given that as a person grows older, he tends to recall memories and events that occurred in the past.
Dr. Herbert Rappaport, an American psychiatrist, says: “In my work with elderly patients, we often deal with the question, ‘What was the purpose of life?’ It is crucial to help them create their life stories and see how this leads to a sense of peace and acceptance of everything that comes next.” “.
There is a strategy that helps to confront these tendencies, by deliberately remembering positive situations and times in your life, as well as remembering as much tangible and sensory information as possible, according to Dr. Rappaport.
2- Find meaning for your life
Most common advice in psychology and self-development urges us to discover meaning in life. But psychologist Joelle Voss – author of the book “Meaning in Life: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Practitioners” – fears that this may put more pressure on people, and may become A source of guilt and shame. A person feels that he has failed because he was unable to find meaning in his life. Instead, she suggests that people engage in the meaningful activities they have been doing.
The writer says that she has found, through her practical experience in the field of psychology, that the pandemic has helped many people gain clarity of vision about the most important matters in their lives.
This is mostly due to a lack of focus on oneself through communication with others and improving the relationship with God through worship and interest in spiritual concepts or nature.
3- Accept the limitations that come with age
There is a misconception that we often hear on people’s lips, saying that acceptance means surrender or abandonment of the goal, but in reality it means exactly the opposite. Here, it is a continuous process of confronting the limitations imposed by aging using courage and wisdom.
In this regard, Karsten Wrosch, professor of psychology at Concordia University in Canada, believes that “one of the best factors that indicate successful aging is the ability to be free from goals that cannot be achieved.”
“While determination and perseverance may be more important for younger people, older people who are in good mental health are letting go of things they can no longer do and turning toward purposeful things they can still do,” he says.
4- Deal with anxiety about death
Rachel Menzies, a doctoral researcher in clinical psychology at the University of Sydney, says: Many studies indicate that people who have severe anxiety about death suffer from psychological problems and disorders.
She adds: “Anxiety about death usually subsides during the later stages of a person’s life, but for some elderly people, this anxiety may rise and can increase and cause them to feel depressed and anxious.”
To combat death anxiety, Menzies suggests reading obituary ads or watching movies that include death, especially if the person has previously avoided watching those scenes.
She also advises visiting cemeteries, nursing homes, and other things that help you think about death as a “natural part of life.”