Fighting Back Against Loneliness and Social Isolation with Aging
Two major challenges that many seniors face are loneliness and social isolation. Older adults often live on their own and may not have close friends or family nearby who can visit regularly. They may struggle with poor vision, hearing, mobility, or health which makes it harder to get out and about by themselves. In turn, this may leave them feeling depressed, frustrated, and disconnected from others.
Taking steps to identify those at risk and helping them to build connections and stay active and engaged is essential. Remember that not everyone who lives alone is lonely or socially isolated. They may live by themselves but still regularly go out and meet up with friends, volunteer in the community, talk with family, and maintain a strong sense of purpose. However, there are plenty of people who don’t have this kind of lifestyle.
Talk About It
Talk to your loved one about their day. Find out what they did and what some things they want to do are. Are they spending much of their time inside and alone? What are some of the challenges to them getting out and interacting with others?
Look for ways you can help, such as:
- Teach them to use technology and connect over Zoom, FaceTime, Google Duo, Skype, or another video conferencing platform.
- Schedule regular times to call or video chat just to check in and catch up. Talking to them for just a few minutes a day can make a difference and give them something to look forward to.
- Getting them assistive devices such as hearing aids, a magnifier, or a walker or cane so they can stay more involved and know what is going on.
- Coordinate visits from friends, family, community groups, or an in-home caregiver. Having someone to talk to, eat a meal with, or socialize with can reduce loneliness and isolation.
- Arrange for transportation to help an aging parent get to the store, appointments, get-togethers with friends, church services, and recreational activities. Having a reliable ride can allow them to do more things independently and participate in things they enjoy.
- Help them adopt a pet if they are willing and able to care for it. Dogs and cats can be wonderful companions and give seniors a greater sense of purpose. They can also be a great conversation starter to meet neighbors when out for walks.
- Partner with an in-home care provider who can visit regularly, provide companionship, assist with activities around the house, escort on errands, and much more.
Loneliness and social isolation can take a toll on seniors’ physical, mental, and emotional health. Make a conscious effort to ensure that your aging parents have regular interactions with others, are able to participate in activities they enjoy, are having their daily needs met, and are able to build meaningful connections. If they could benefit from a non-medical caregiver in Knoxville TN to offer consistent support aligned with their needs and keep them company throughout the week, contact Always Best Care to schedule a free consultation.