One of the most crucial indicators for long-term health success, especially for elders, is our relationship with our family and friends. Although this last year has been very tough for all of us, especially those of us following safety recommendations about social distancing and COVID-compliance, it is important to remember that our family support system and our relationships with our friends is one of the most positive forces that we can have in our lives.
Elderhood in and of itself I can be a sensitive subject. As we get older and we begin to slow down and enjoy the finer things in life, our health issues which may have been minor in our younger years can tend to grow more serious. Minor health issues such as being overweight, or smoking, or drinking maybe a little bit too much, can manifest in our later years as more serious and life-changing issues like High Blood pressure and heart disease. Adjusting to new health needs and overall life changes can be intimidating and nerve-wracking, especially for those who haven’t exactly paid the most attention to their health in their youth and middle age.
One of the most helpful things for elders adjusting to new health concerns or a new way of life focused on long-term health is to lean on friends and family for support. Having a support system in place provides a social net for feedback and genuine advice on life changes, and it also provides us with a stable and supportive framework for health concerns that may be challenging to address on our own.
At Senior Steps, our geriatric care managers work very closely with all of our clients. As part of our assessment of new clients, and as part of our continued care advocacy, we focus on the whole picture of health. This includes our clients, social networks, relationships, and family connections. Oftentimes, being able to work with a caring family member of one of clients makes our clients’ health issues much easier to manage. And having a strong relationship with family is a strong indicator of long-term health and functional living.