May is Older Americans Month!
by Meghan Elliott, RN, Director of Nursing
and Sarah Schubert, LPN, MDS
The GRAND of Dublin
Aging is something no one can escape. While society frequently reinforces an anti-aging atmosphere, there are many reasons to celebrate and embrace the changes that occur throughout the aging process. Many physiological changes occur during this process, but very important mental aspects change as well. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 15% of those aged 60 or over suffer from dementia and depression; it is important to note that the majority of aging Americans do not. For those aged 65+, a lot of reflection tends to occur. These individuals look at their past and present relationships, and think about what they have accomplished or not accomplished throughout their life. This is a great time to interact with our “older” family members and friends as the insight they have is immeasurable.
Open a Dialogue and Ask Questions
This is also a critical time to focus on what that family member or friend may desire in terms of end of life care, or how they envision spending their final days, months, or years. Please take the time to ask your loved one their thoughts and feelings about alternate living arrangements, medical procedures they would want performed and those they would not. Also ask about a plan B, what if that preferred plan isn’t possible, then what? These questions are vital to the comfort and security our older population has when faced with a new or chronic health problem that requires treatment. These types of discussions are critical not only in a medical scenario, but they are also important ways to connect with that individual and appreciate their perspective on life. You may be incredibly surprised by the answers your loved ones will give you. Open, honest, frank discussions about life lessons, goals, failures and successes from the older population can mold and shape how WE live our lives. Those of us in healthcare want to take the time to thank our elderly population. You teach and guide us more than we could ever educate you. Happy Older Americans Month! Your wisdom is appreciated.