Help your senior/parent to make friends…you’ll be surprised of the benefits.
You spend a considerable amount of time taking care of your elderly loved ones, and they have each other, so they get plenty of socialization on a daily basis, right? It may seem like since you spend time with your parents on a regular basis and because they live together that loneliness or isolation is not a problem for them. The truth is, however, that even when they spend time with their family members, many seniors still suffer from these negative mental and emotional health issues.
According to studies, loneliness and isolation among seniors is not just about wishing they had more social interaction or being “bored” with life. Instead, it can have serious lasting implications for their lives, including:
• Increased risk of mortality
• Diminished physical health
• Increased rate of cognitive decline
• Greater vulnerability to manipulation or abuse
• Greater instance of long-term illness
Look for opportunities for you to focus on the importance of social interaction in your senior care journey and help your aging loved one find and create meaningful friendships they can enjoy throughout their aging years.
Here are some tips to help you support your parents as they seek out new friendships.
• Talk to them about their interests. You might think that you know your loved ones, but the things that your seniors enjoyed when they were younger may not be the same things that they really enjoy now. Have a talk with them about their interests and the things that they like to do. This can help you to plan activities that they would enjoy and look for groups, organizations, or clubs that would allow her to participate in these activities and find friends who enjoy the same things.
• Hire a care provider. A home care provider can offer a wide range of services to personalize your parents’ care approach and help them to live the highest quality of life possible, but one of the most important can be companionship. Just having this extra person involved in their regular care allows them to get more active, engage in more outings and activities, and enjoy meaningful conversation and recreation together. A care provider also offers reliable transportation that can help your parents get out more often and enjoy more activities with their new friends.
• Volunteer. Giving back to the community by volunteering can be extremely meaningful to your elderly loved ones and support their mental and emotional health. Find volunteer opportunities that your parents can handle in terms of their physical, mental, emotional, and cognitive limitations and encourage them to get out and help others. This is not just a fantastic way to ward off feelings of depression and anxiety and instill a sense of accomplishment and importance, but also to find others who enjoy giving back in the same ways. This can create meaningful friendships based on service, activity, and mutual morals and beliefs.
Compiled from Tom Smith owner of Alpine Home Care, Images from BING