COMBATING LONELINESS AND ISOLATION IN AGING PARENTS
As seniors age, they often become more comfortable and content staying home. It’s a familiar place and has everything they like and need. However, this can also lead to issues with loneliness and isolation which can take a toll on their mental and physical health. It’s good for seniors to stay active and socialize with others. Think about how different your day would be if you spent most of your time at home alone; it would probably become pretty boring and lonely after a while.
Coordinate different activities. Talk to your aging parent about what they like to do and want to do. Try to find local resources such as senior centers or programs where they can socialize and do different activities. You don’t have to pack their schedule with something every hour of every day, but getting them out of the house a few times a week can be good for their health. Get them involved in things they enjoy where they can socialize with peers, learn new skills, or teach others how to do something they like.
If your senior no longer drives, try to coordinate transportation so they’re not stuck at home. Ask a neighbor or friend if they can drive sometimes, coordinate with other family members, or look into a transportation service in your area for seniors. This will give your loved one the opportunity to get out and about more often.
Set a visitation schedule. Collaborate with family to determine who will visit and when. Try to arrange something fairly consistent so your loved one has something to look forward to and there is regular communication. If you’re too far away to visit very often, set up Skype or another online platformand help your loved one learn how to use it. Then you can do video calls and share quality time together even though you’re apart.
Ask for help. You don’t have to be the only one visiting your senior. Talk to family friends and neighbors. Coordinate with people your loved one enjoys spending time with. Having different people visit can keep things interesting and give your senior more to talk about. It can also help to balance time spent at home versus out and about in the community. You can have peace of mind knowing they’re not alone all the time and someone is stopping by to check in when you can’t.
Partnering with an in-home caregiver like Always Best Care can also be a wonderful opportunity. Not only can they offer companionship, they can support your senior with daily tasks and help them to stay organized and active. It’s a great way to know their needs are being met and someone is there to engage in meaningful conversation and give them the necessary level of support.
Get a pet. If your loved one is still fairly independent and active, consider getting them a pet. It can provide them with a greater sense of purpose and a loving companion. Pets will take as much attention and love as they can get and the bond can be mutual. Just make sure that your senior is up for the responsibilities of caring for a dog, cat, or other animal. If they’re not ready for one of their own, you may be able to coordinate visits from someone who has a pet.
Find out how an in-home care provider can help you to better meet the needs of your senior and help prevent isolation and loneliness.