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The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Quality of Life as an individual’s perception of their position in life in the context of culture and value systems in which they live in relation to their goals, expectations, standards and concerns. This definition boils down to the perception people have of their own lives in relation to their expectations.
Whether defined by culture or value systems, or by one’s own set of personal goals, the perceived quality of life can vary wildly from person to person. This perception of how well one has lived up to one’s life goals tends to be a major topic among geriatric patients and can have a dramatic impact on overall health and wellbeing.
To begin to enhance the quality of life for geriatric patients, it is important to first understand some of the major issues faced and what steps can be taken to improve one’s quality of life. It is important to note that many of these issues are intertwined. They can be experienced in very specific ways, in general ways, and in combination with other issues.
According to the Canadian Psychological Association, depression increases the risk of death in older adults by 2 to 3 times. After a lifetime of work the perception of tasks completed or left incomplete can weigh heavily on the mind. Physical limitations typically compound as life progresses and this can be met with feelings of helplessness.
As the understanding of the medical community grows with regard to depression, there are an increasing number of physicians who support non-medicinal treatments. There is widespread belief that while medications can treat symptoms, non-medicinal treatments can address the root causes that allow depression to flourish.Read more
Pride is one of the main deterrents that prevent the geriatric community from transitioning from independent to community living. In fact, many seniors feel that community living will impact their freedom and signal to world that they are no longer able to take care of themselves.
Because of this it is extremely important to validate their concerns. Moving, by itself, can be a stressful time. But being driven to move by factors outside of one’s control can cause feelings of helplessness despair. For adults who have been independent for many years, the transition to community living can feel like a form of giving up.Read more
Another unfortunate side-effect of aging is that social circles will continually shrink. As members of the geriatric community begin to outlive family members and friends, a steady stream of potential new relationships are needed. Being able to associate with other seniors who are in similar circumstances can help prevent feelings of isolation.
To counter feelings of solitude, many geriatric communities will encourage a wide variety of social events. These events are designed to provide opportunities to grow social circles and keep the focus on maintaining an active lifestyle.Read more
Many studies have been done to find effective treatments for mental health issues such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. While no treatments have been 100% successful in curing these illnesses, there have been promising treatments which have slowed the progression. Much like the non-medicinal treatment of depression, non-medicinal therapy has been shown to have a positive impact on other mental health issues.
Many dementia and Alzheimer’s disease patients have shown positive reactions to treatments which include arts, crafts, music and games. Others have also shown similar symptom abatement through communication and memory exercises. The central ingredient in all of these treatments is some form of creative activity.Read more