Seniors have a number of issues that need to be addressed outside of the general population. Vulnerability, at any age, can differ and there are specific ways that senior vulnerability may be different. Depending on your geographic area, the major concerns affecting seniors today are:
- Financial insecurity
- Social Isolation
- Unaffordable and/or inadequate housing
- Poor physical and/or mental health
- No access to transportation
- Physically limited by their mobility
- Not enough food
Not enough money to:
- Purchase healthy food
- Afford an appropriate and safe place to live
- Cover medical and/or dental costs
- Pay for utilities
- Have any recreational activities at all
The effects of being isolated socially are the same, no matter which age group: it increases your risks of mental and physical health problems. Many seniors have no social network at all though not all of the elderly consider themselves vulnerable because of this. They live alone and are happy being solitary.
Many communities do not offer enough housing for seniors. The general breakdown for housing is that it be suitable in size, well maintained and does not cost more than 30% of your income.
Many seniors have health issues, however, what makes them vulnerable is their lack of access to health care. Not all areas have accessible services that are available to everyone. Because of isolation, many seniors go unnoticed and their illnesses are never addressed.
For those with mobility problems, this is even worse. Being mobile and active is one of the main components of a healthy lifestyle, particularly as we become older.
At the same time, not all seniors have access to proper transportation. Specialists tend to be clustered in the larger centres and those in more remote communities may not have available transportation to take them there. They may also have mobility issues or emotional problems such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, which also has to be taken care of while travelling, especially longer distances. Something as simple as going to the grocery store can be a huge problem for those who can’t walk very far and have no resources to pay to have things delivered.
Lack of Food
Food security is almost always related to income security, especially in remote areas. Without access to healthy food, senior’s health, both mental and physical, deteriorates. It is the same for areas without access to or lack of fresh water. Dehydration can lead to mental confusion and breakdown.
Though there are other areas in which senior vulnerability may be an issue, these are the most important ones that can be addressed. Community and senior centres are able to help with some issues. Every senior as well as their caregivers, if they have one, should have a list made up of all resources available for seniors in their city or town. Check out some great ideas on senior health and success.
If you aren’t sure if you are at risk or an aging parent, download our free Vulnerability Index to get some good insights.