Life passes us by quickly and before we know it, our children have grown up and we have gotten older. Becoming an elderly person means having many additional needs that need to be addressed that aren’t a part of being a younger person. This is where we get into “Geriatric care.” Geriatric care is defined as the medical care of elderly or geriatric individuals. This kind of care doesn’t just mean medical needs, but also addresses other components of elderly people’s lives, such as mental health and social lives. Seniors need to feel like they are a part of a community just like any other human being or any age. Think about children who are in a kindergarten classroom, they are a part of a larger community: their class. And if you take it one-step further, their school. Elderly people want to have that sense of belonging as well. When older people live in a community residence with many other seniors, they feel connected to this center. That satisfies their social needs. Social needs are important, but also essential is that the seniors who are being cared for maintain their mental health.
As people age there can be anxiety about getting older. What will happen to their adult children, as they grow older? How about their grandchildren? Seniors can experience depression if their family doesn’t visit them as much as they would like them to. As for the children of the elderly person, it can be a lot to take in when your mother or father gets older. They might want to talk about their issues surrounding aging with their own counselor, and wonder “where can I find a therapist near me? We all have busy lives, but talking about our life challenges makes them feel less stressful. When a loved one develops Alzheimer’s, for example, the stress on the family can be extreme. This is situation that a psychologist can help one talk through. If your father is suffering from this disease, you can talk to your therapist about how to process your feelings about this. It could evoke a lot of emotions within you seeing your father in a state different from what you’re used to.
Our bodies age over the course of time. It would be great if we looked youthful and lived forever, but unfortunately that isn’t reality. We all age and that is a part of life. But, just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean your life has to end. Geriatric care focuses on maintaining wellness for seniors. When you take into account the social, psychological and health of a elderly person, they can lead a happy life.
Sarah Fader is the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, a non-profit organization that encourages individuals with mental illness to share their personal stories. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Quartz, Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, and Good Day New York.
Sarah is a native New Yorker who enjoys naps, talking to strangers, and caring for her two small humans and two average-sized cats. Like six million other Americans, Sarah lives with panic disorder. Through Stigma Fighters, Sarah hopes to change the world, one mental health stigma at a time.