No one likes to think that a family member is feeling isolated and alone. The emotional aspects of elderly loneliness are tough for the senior and those who love them. But what many people aren’t aware of are the health dangers associated with elderly loneliness.
Research shows the effects of isolation on seniors can be significant. Depression is common among older adults who live alone. Isolated seniors are also more likely to have high blood pressure, greater incidences of diabetes, a quicker cognitive decline, and even a shorter life.
If you are concerned an older adult in your family might be suffering from isolation and loneliness, we have a few tips that can help.
Helping a Senior Stay Connected
1. Help the senior explore transportation options
Often when a senior becomes isolated it is due to a lack of transportation. Once they give up driving, finding ways to get around town may be difficult and expensive.
One suggestion that may help your family member get out and about is to call your local agency on aging and ask for transportation referrals. These offices usually keep a list of senior-friendly options. Some even have partnerships with transportation companies that offer special rates for older adults.
2. Investigate local senior organizations and activities
Local senior centers are a great avenue for connecting with peers. Most offer a wide range of activities that are free or of minimal cost. Activities often include wellness programs, crafts, games, and special events. Many senior centers also offer lunch or dinner.
Other options for keeping a senior connected with their community might be joining a senior group at their church or synagogue, participating in a senior wellness program at a local fitness center, or volunteering at a local nonprofit agency. Moving to a senior living community is another option for improving quality of life and preventing isolation during retirement.
3. Consider an adult day center
Adult day centers are another way to help seniors socialize. One advantage of these centers is the ability to accommodate older adults with chronic health conditions and those who have dementia. This gives a senior with health limitations the chance to enjoy activities and games with peers in a safe environment.
Many adult day programs also offer transportation to and from a senior’s home. That makes it much more convenient for the older adult and their family.
4. Use social media to connect
Social media isn’t just for young adults. A Pew Research Center report found that 62% of adults over the age of 65 use Facebook. Some Facebook data even shows that older adults are one of the fastest growing demographic groups on the platform.
If your senior loved one isn’t already on Facebook, you might want to help them sign on. It can help them stay in touch with friends and family near and far. Just be sure to show them how to set up strong passwords and privacy settings.
5. Engage in frequent video chats
Talking on the phone is one way to connect with a senior who lives alone. But connecting via video chat allows you to see one another almost face-to-face. That can make a big difference to a lonely older adult. It also gives family members an opportunity to visually assess how their loved one is doing. Skype and FaceTime are two easy avenues for engaging via technology.
Searching for Senior Living Communities
If you think an older adult in your family would benefit from the social atmosphere of a senior living community, let us help you connect with a few local options. The advice of our experienced, local care advisors is always free for families. Call us at 800-304-8061 to learn more!
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