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Seniors’ Top 10 Fears and How You Can Help

This month we’re celebrating Canadian seniors who have contributed so much to the health and vibrancy of communities across Ontario.

While all of us live with the stresses of daily life, our seniors have additional fears specific to getting older.

Fear can have a debilitating effect on a person’s emotional state, sometimes leading to a decline in physical health. In light of this, it’s important to understand the issues and identify possible solutions.

Seniors have worries concerning all aspects of life, including psychological, physical, financial and social. There’s a consensus among experts that having to leave one’s home, health and finances are the issues most prevalent on seniors’ minds. Here are the top 10:

  1. Loss of independence
  2. Declining health
  3. Lack of money for retirement/long-term care
  4. Not being able to live at home
  5. Death of a spouse or other family member
  6. Inability to manage activities of daily living
  7. Not being able to drive
  8. Isolation or loneliness
  9. Strangers caring for them
  10. Falling or getting hurt

Facing an uncertain future is difficult for all of us, but it is more deeply felt with increasing age as one’s health declines. Loss of independence ranks so high among seniors because it signals a stark, marked change from the life they once knew. In addition, not being able to accomplish the tasks a person used to perform easily is, naturally, ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­upsetting. Seniors may mourn the loss of their “former selves” when having to adapt to a new identity as someone no longer in charge of their own life.

Here’s what you can do

If your loved one(s) have financial fears, ask them in a gentle, diplomatic way if they might be willing to seek professional financial advice and if you can accompany them to the appointment. A specialist can offer peace of mind by providing financial direction and a positive path forward.

Include your loved one(s) in discussions that will affect them, rather than imposing what you think is the right solution. Be open to dialogue and try to empathize with the thoughts and feelings they’re expressing – or, in some cases, with the things they’re not willing to express. Imagine how you might react at their age when facing the same issues. Ask yourself, “How would I like to be treated in the same situation?” Most of all, communication is key.

As we pay tribute to the seniors among us, let’s remember that we’ll be in their shoes one day and lend a helping hand where we can.

Here are some resources to turn to for free support:

Credit Canada

211 Ontario

Canadian Red Cross

Canadian Mental Health Association

Ontario Ministry of Seniors Affairs

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