Men’s Health Week for Seniors in Home CareJune 17, 2021
Men’s Health Week for Seniors in Home Care: It’s a startling fact for seniors living at home that is treated as mundane: women in the US live an average of 5 years longer than men. While some of the reasons women live longer are biological. Others are preventable health conditions based on behaviors that can change. That’s why the Men’s Health Network established Men’s Health Week for the week of June 14th-20th. The week helps raise men’s health awareness. It also highlights the unique health challenges that men face, especially elderly men in home care.
Health Challenges for Elderly Men at Home
There are some health issues that elderly men face that are similar or the same as those for women; heart disease, cancer, stroke, and Alzheimer’s affect men and women at a similar rate. But there are other issues that disproportionately affect men, especially older men, including:
- Prostate issues. Prostate cancer is the second leading cancer among men, and the fourth largest overall.
- Workplace accidents. Older adults who are still in the workforce are even more susceptible to workplace accidents
- COPD and lung cancer affect men at a higher rate because men are more likely to be smokers than women.
- Men die from suicide at a rate of more than 3 times more than women.
Since men are less likely to get annual care, less likely to seek treatment for what seem like minor ailments; and more likely to ignore their mental health concerns than women they have more health problems.
How Men’s Health Week Can Help Seniors at Home
Taking action during Men’s Health Week can take a few different forms. It’s one thing to work to support the overall goal of improving men’s health nationally, but it’s equally important for elderly men to take responsibility for improving their own health.
- Wear BLUE Day. June 18th, the Friday before Father’s Day, wear blue in support of men’s health.
- Encourage men to schedule a physical. One of the biggest causes of health disparities between men and women is the lower likelihood of men to get annual physicals or regular medical care.
- Get some help around the house.
How Elderly Men Can Improve Their Health
Elderly men who live at home face a unique set of challenges to both their physical and mental health. In part because of lifestyle factors typical to most elderly men. However, there are several things seniors can do to improve their health, including:
- Decades of physical labor has left many elderly men with lingering aches and pains that stop them from getting enough exercise as they get older. As with many other physical ailments, men were discouraged from seeking treatment, being told instead that the pain was a sign of toughness. But what good is toughness if you can’t play with your grandchildren? Seeing a physical therapist who can help restore mobility and strength can make a huge difference. An at-home caregiver can help remind you to do recommended rehabilitative exercises.
- Eat healthy. As a result of the way many households divided labor around the home, many elderly men never learned how to cook themselves a healthy meal, the odd grilled pork chop notwithstanding. That leaves many men living at home to [Note: unfinished thought here.]. Having an in-home care aide come in to prepare healthy meals can make a huge difference to overall health
How Elderly Men Can Improve Their Mental Health
Finally, but importantly, talk to a mental health professional. The stigmas around mental health are slowly breaking down for younger generations of men and boys. In many ways they remain firmly in place for the elderly. Talking to a mental health professional can be a lifesaving thing, and yet many still refuse to take even this most basic step. When talking to an elderly loved one about this topic, it’s important to keep a few things in mind.
- Many elderly people fear medications like antidepressants, in part because early versions of these medications had drastic side effects and thus were only used for extreme cases.
- Some feel that the field of psychotherapy is somehow a scam, or that therapists “aren’t real doctors.”
- Men have long been given the message that they’re supposed to be strong, to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, to go out into the world and slay dragons. So the idea of needing this kind of support may make them feel like a failure.
In dealing with these objections, emphasize that there have been vast improvements in both the medicines used and the overall field of mental health treatment. And while it may be difficult to help them understand that issues of depression, anxiety and other mental health challenges are not signs of weakness, it’s a worthwhile conversation, even if it doesn’t immediately work. One easy way to improve overall mental health of your elderly loved one is to help them avoid isolation with an at-home caregiver.
Home Care Powered by AUAF Can Help Senior Men Improve Their Overall Health
At-home caregivers from Home Care Powered by AUAF provide the highest quality at-home care possible so you can focus on your health during Men’s Health Month. Especially during Men’s Health Week for Seniors in Home Care. Whether it’s light housekeeping that saves your energy or having healthy meals prepared for you, the professionals at Home Care Powered by AUAF are here to help. Call us at 773-274-9262, or contact us to get started today.
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