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How Do Disabilities Enter Into the Aging Process?

While there may be common patterns in the aging process, everyone experiences this stage of life differently. Most seniors experience some kind of cognitive or physical decline. However, seniors with disabilities may face even more obstacles as they age — and require more specialized support.

The Prevalence of Senior Disabilities

Some seniors experience significant cognitive decline in the form of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Others grapple with physical health issues that affect their mobility. In addition, many seniors have pre-existing health issues that are chronic or related to a past illness or injury.

According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, more than 46% of individuals aged 60 and over, worldwide, have some form of disability. The U.N. estimates that more than 250 millionpeople in this age group experience “severe or moderate disability.”.

These figures make it clear that aging and disability are closely linked. In order to improve the lives of seniors, we must account for specific challenges faced by seniors with disabilities. This process starts by understanding what seniors need for a better quality of life and how to ensure seniors with disabilities can fulfill these needs.

How In-Home Care Can Help Seniors with Disabilities

In 2017, The Journals of Gerontology published a study on the successful aging paradigm and how it applies to seniors with long-term disabilities. The researchers note that many ideas about “successful aging” are focused on preventing injury or disability. However, more emphasis must be placed on improving the lives of seniors with existing disabilities.

Based on input from participants between the ages of 45 and 80, the researchers identified four factors playing a key role in their quality of life. These factors were:

  • Independence
    Always a concern among the elderly, the ability to remain independent allows seniors to feel empowered and in control of their lives.

  • Social connection
    Seniors who are able to engage with friends, family, and their community report a higher level of satisfaction and happiness.

  • Resilience or adaptation
    Seniors who find contentment and pleasure in daily life and adapt to changes in their health reported a higher quality of life.

  • Physical health and health care access
    Maintaining good physical health and having access to quality health care allows seniors to thrive in the other three areas noted above.

Customized In-Home Care

These findings make it clear just how vital it is for seniors to have access to care services tailored to their needs. Aging in place is widely preferred among seniors because it allows them to retain more independence and remain within their communities. The right home care may make this option possible for those with senior disabilities as well.

At Visiting Angels®, we are proud to offer custom home care services focusing on these four areas and provide our clients with improved quality of life. Whether we are assisting clients who are living with a disability, chronic care issue, or simply struggling with the effects of aging, we provide the assistance that makes everyday living more manageable and enjoyable.

To ensure we meet the needs of our clients, we create custom care plans. Each care plan can include daily assistance with tasks such as bathing, walking, meal preparation, grocery shopping, and housekeeping. In addition, we can provide medication reminders and arrange transportation to medical appointments.

Our home care services also include companionship, outings, and assistance with online communication tools to keep seniors more connected. All of this is to promote the day-to-day safety, comfort, and happiness of our clients, whatever their condition.

Caring for an elderly loved one can be a complex and continually evolving task. Professional caregivers can help support seniors with disabilities so they can live more freely and fully.

If you're interested in more information about how in-home care can help your senior loved ones, contact your nearest Visiting Angels office today or call 800-365-4189.
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