Ministry to the Elderly
Human beings have always dreamt of a long and happy life. Thanks to the progress in medicine and, hygiene and nutrition, the dream of a long life has become a widespread reality. But the dream of longer life often does not translate into a happy reality. In a globalizing trend to identify value primarily in terms of economics, old age easily is seen as a lack of productivity. At the emotional and social level, studies have shown that the main consequences of ageing are the feeling of being lonely, being a burden to people and being financially insecure and dependant. No one can stem the tide of youth, for old age catches up with everyone. It is a global phenomena and one that needs to be addressed. The aspect of elderly care gathers greater significance in the light of the fact that families are becoming nuclear and want to stay that way. Caring for the elderly is always a challenge and the older the person is, the more difficult it becomes. The sense of responsibility increases manifold. Sickness and ailments is something which seems to follow them and inevitably there are crises, which arise suddenly. In this paper we shall discuss some of the problems faced by the elderly people, the depressions and loneliness they undergo and to minister to them.
I. Problems Faced by the Elderly
Some of the problems faced by the Elderly people are:
I.1 Health Problems
Elderly people have limited regenerative abilities and are more prone to disease, syndromes, and sickness. As the population ages seniors, or the elderly, are much more likely to suffer mobility health, Illness and disability; chronic or severe pain; cognitive decline; damage to body image due to surgery or disease.1
I.2 Depression in Elderly People
Elderly people are more likely to blame their depression on events or social circumstances. But while the death of a partner or friends, or coping with a chronic illness, are important contributory factors, there are real biological changes that account for depression.2 Depression often occurs after a stroke, and getting it treated may be critical to restoring normal abilities. Depression is much more common in the years after retirement,3 when people may struggle to adjust to a new role and routine in life.4
Left alone, depression not only prevents older adults from enjoying life like they could be, it also takes a heavy toll on health. Although depression in the elderly is a common problem, only a small percentage gets the help they need. There are many reasons depression in older adults is so often overlooked: Some assume seniors have good reason to be down or that depression is just part of aging. Elderly adults are often isolated, with few around to notice their distress. Physicians are more likely to ignore depression in older patients, concentrating instead on physical complaints. Finally, many depressed seniors are reluctant to talk about their feelings or ask for help.5
1.2 Social Isolation and Loneliness
Social isolation and loneliness tend to increase as people age and as family and friend networks become smaller. Social contacts usually decrease after retirement and may continue to decline with the deaths of family members and friends and changes in residence following widowhood, mobility difficulties and ill health. Social isolation is defined as being separated from one's environment to the point of having few satisfying and rewarding relationships. Loneliness, on the other hand, is one's feeling of dissatisfaction with social contacts in terms of quantity of contacts, quality of relationships or both.6
1.3 Factors Related to Loneliness
Loneliness appears to be more prevalent among people who are widowed, regardless of gender or the presence of adult children. Loneliness following widowhood also appears greater, the longer the person was married. Those widowed for less than five years were more likely to be lonely than those widowed for a longer period.7...
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