Inequality in the Face of Aging
Being over 75 years old often involves dealing with various disabilities, such as loss of hearing, cognitive abilities and mobility. In addition, it often means losing loved ones one by one.
Although some seniors manage to maintain their independence and a good social network despite these challenges, others find themselves isolated in their own homes or confined to an unfamiliar nursing home. This can greatly affect their ability to adapt and their joie de vivre.
Main Challenges of Aging
Challenges related to old age can affect all areas of life. The more challenges accumulate, the more important it is for individuals to be surrounded by people they trust and avoid putting themselves in vulnerable situations.
Here are some examples:
More susceptible to viruses and illnesses; more frequent and more serious falls; difficulty in accessing health care services; occasional or multiple hospital stays and long periods of convalescence.
Successive traumas and losses; increased stress about responsibilities; the taboo of sexuality; resilience and coping skills put to the test.
Death of loved ones, family, and friends; no children or extended family; loss of a beloved pet; increasing difficulty in connecting and finding a social group that fits their needs.
Leaving a familiar living environment for a retirement or nursing home; change of neighbourhood or city; difficulties adapting.
Loss of driving license; impaired mobility (walker, wheelchair); need for help with transportation; fewer outings.
Hearing, speech, and other problems that interfere with communication (especially for people from immigrant backgrounds due to language and cultural barriers).
Slowing of reasoning; occasional memory problems; confusion; Alzheimer’s or other memory disorders (dramatic increase in number of cases of dementia).
50% of seniors live on less than $20,000 per year. This leads to difficulties in finding housing, feeding oneself, and taking care of oneself properly.
An Extended Family to Recreate a Social Network
At Little Brothers, we affectionately refer to the isolated seniors who become part of our extended family as “our Great Friends”. We have enormous respect for these elders and this nickname expresses the love and affection we have for them.