When elderly people are isolated from friends and family and have no real outlet for socializing, they can struggle with feelings of loneliness.
Often, seniors find that they are battling sadness and empty feelings that threaten to overwhelm them. Loneliness often strikes hardest during holidays, but it can happen to elderly adults weekly or even daily.
Studies show that chronic loneliness can have serious effects on a person’s health. They can suffer from insomnia, eating disorders, depression, alcoholism, and a weakened immune system. It has even been linked to a higher risk of developing chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. Studies show that loneliness can actually impair an elderly person’s health similar to chronic stress.
The best thing about loneliness is that it is preventable. Here are 5 ways to prevent loneliness in aging parents.
Make time for quality visits. An elderly parent wants interaction with friends and family above all. Even for those with a very busy schedule, it needs to be a priority to show up and engage in conversation. Family members should encourage others to do the same thing.
Adopt a pet. Companion animals are a wonderful way for elderly people to avoid feeling lonely. The dog or cat should match well with the elderly person’s lifestyle. Adopting an older pet is a wonderful way to rescue animals that might otherwise never have a home.
Arrange to attend activities. From the movie theater to a dinner with friends to bingo at the senior center, an elderly person should have several social events on their schedule. If mobility or transportation is a problem, an elderly care service will be able to provide an assistant to help.
Enjoy the neighborhood. No matter where they live, seniors can spend tie in the community getting to know people and places. An elderly care assistant can accompany them on walks and into local shops and stores as needed. Visiting parks, attending local yard sales and interacting with people nearby can make seniors feel more connected.
Hire a home care assistant. When it comes to elderly care services, there are a number of options for having a professional provide companionship and company. The assistant can take care of many tasks and duties around the home, and also engage the aging person in conversation, watch movies together, prepare meals and enjoy hobbies together.
Unfortunately, loneliness and isolation among elderly adults are increasingly more commonplace. Family caregivers that don’t want to see their elderly parents suffer from loneliness and the negative health issues as a result. It’s not hard to implement some or all of these proven strategies to combat loneliness. Especially, hiring elderly care services for regular visits can have a big impact on whether or not a senior suffers from loneliness.