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Senior Citizens

Who is considered to be elderly?

A person is usually considered to be elderly when they reach the age of 65.  This is the age that the U.S. government says a person becomes a “senior citizen,” which is another term used for an elderly person.

Do senior citizens work?

As senior citizens age, many begin to retire from their jobs and start volunteering or taking part-time jobs as hobbies. However, many seniors find that their medical problems or aging body are no longer able to keep up with the work.  This causes many seniors to lose their regular paycheck and instead have to live on a smaller, “fixed income” from their savings or from a Social Security check, making it harder to afford necessary items such as food, shelter, or medicine. 

What are some of the challenges that the elderly face?

With an older age, often comes an increased need for health care.  Medical issues such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and bone fractures are more common in the elderly and can become very expensive to treat.  With limited incomes, sometimes seniors must face the difficult choice of whether to pay for their food or their medicine. Many seniors also begin to experience a loss of independence in their lives.  Physical disabilities or medical issues may prevent an elderly person from being able to safely live in and maintain their homes on their own. And even if they can stay in their home, they may no longer have the eyesight or muscle control to safely drive a car.  This means they have to rely on others to bring them groceries or to take them places. Seniors who have lost a spouse and are living on their own, may begin to feel lonely and isolated. Without access to transportation, they may have few opportunities for social interaction.  Also, as technology continues to advance, seniors may not know how to use common tools such as social media or email to stay in touch with friends and family.

How can you make a difference for elderly people?

You can help a senior who is homebound by making them a special meal or offering to do their grocery shopping for them.  For seniors that have physical disabilities, taking on yard work such as raking leaves or shoveling snow can be extremely helpful. One of the easiest and yet most important things you can do to improve the life of a senior who is living at home or in a nursing home facility is to just spend a little time visiting and talking with them regularly!

Learn More

14 Ways to help Seniors Avoid Social Isolation(PDF) Books on this topic(PDF) Books on this topic part 2(PDF) Service Project Ideas

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