Counseling senior citizens in community

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By Sam George

Currently we are going through a series on the elderly in the Indian American community. We have discussed the aging demography of the community and unique challenges faced by early immigrants. Today we turn to counseling needs among the elderly and challenges faced by them.

Some of these challenges were published in a New York Times artcle, which carried a story of elder abuse in the Indian American community featuring horrifying stories of early immigrants.  As they approach the challenges that come with old age, some seniors hope to return to India someday, while others are relocating to warmer southern states. Some are busy with grandchildren, while many suffer from loneliness. Some are left to fend for themselves while others are in the care of their children or in  nursing homes.

The elderly display distinct emotional and behavioral problems. The most common mental health problem faced by seniors is loneliness and depression, especially after losing one’s spouse and when children are away in another city. Other ailments include dementia, anxiety, cognitive dysfunction, Alzheimers, and other psychological disorders. Seniors also experiences memory loss, poor judgment, irritability, relationship problems, and difficulty completing normal daily activities.

No one likes to lose their independence, and it is human nature to cling to it as long as possible. Elderly parents and children may have to make some difficult choices. Tasks that used to be accomplished with ease now seem difficult or even impossible.

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