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What Primary Psychological Needs Do Aging Adults Have?

It’s just as important to pay as much attention to the psychological needs of an elderly loved one as you do to his or her physical needs. Psychological problems in seniors have the potential to affect behavior, sleep habits, concentration, cognitive functions, and many other aspects of daily life. Below, you’ll find some of the emotional and psychological needs to focus on as you provide care for your loved one.

Personal Connections

The elderly have a basic need to remain connected to family members, friends, and like-minded seniors. This is psychologically beneficial because such connections can minimize issues with depression and loneliness and boost emotional stability. From using social media to stay connected remotely and joining senior-specific groups to planning family activities that allow for easy participation, there are many ways older adults can enjoy and benefit from meaningful personal connections.

A home caregiver can provide your loved one with the companionship and one-on-one attention he or she needs. One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide senior care. Anchorage families can turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties.

Community

Older adults tend to be in a better place emotionally if they’re able to remain active in familiar communities in ways that are meaningful. This may mean recommending the use of a local senior transportation service so your loved one can attend church services, go shopping, or simply visit a local park whenever he or she wishes to do so—which also increases independence, another important psychological need.

Purpose

Maintaining a sense of purpose later in life can include community activities, but it’s a need that can also be met by exploring new or lapsed hobbies, developing new interests, mentoring and doing other meaningful things for others, and setting realistic and achievable personal goals.

Mental Stimulation

An aging brain needs to remain stimulated and engaged to reduce the risk of the type of cognitive decline that can affect behavior and increase susceptibility to depression and other mental health problems. While being more socially involved with friends and family members can certainly be mentally stimulating, this psychological need may also be met by encouraging your loved one to:

• Read and explore other ways to learn
• Play word games or do app-based brain stimulation exercises
• Create photo albums or scrapbooks to inspire recollection of happy life events
• Share personal stories and memories

Safety & Security

Seniors need to feel emotionally safe and secure as they get older, which sometimes involves addressing practical needs related to aging. Easing fears of this nature may involve:

• Mitigating fall risks in the home
• Using a medical alert system to minimize health-related fears
• Installing door monitors if there’s a concern about wandering due to dementia
• Making appropriate home modifications

For many seniors in Anchorage, AK, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.

Expression of Thoughts & Feelings

Just like anyone else, older adults have a psychological need to express their thoughts and feelings. However, it’s sometimes difficult to do this if family caregivers get into the habit of automatically doing things for them or simply going through the motions of providing care. Simple adjustments such as keeping your loved one involved in as many decisions as possible and showing genuine interest in how he or she is feeling can make a big difference psychologically. 

Experienced, compassionate home caregivers understand the importance of attending to seniors’ psychological wellbeing as well as their physical needs. When considering home care, families should make sure their senior loved ones have the resources they need to maintain their independence and remain healthy. Trusted in-home care professionals can assist seniors with daily tasks like cooking, bathing, and exercise, and they can also encourage them to focus on healthier lifestyle habits. Call Home Care Assistance at (907) 770-0907 to learn more about our flexible and customizable senior care plans.