Monday, September 29, 2014

Ways to Help your Senior Avoid Loneliness and Isolation

As seniors age, there are many factors that can affect their socialization. They may have more trouble getting around, friends may have passed away, or they may suffer from conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. All of these changes can impact mental health and lead to feelings of loneliness or depression. There are many ways in which family members and friends can help a senior to stay connected and involved:

  • Plan frequent visits: Coordinate with siblings or other family members to arrange frequent visits with your loved one. It could be for a long weekend, a day, or even just an evening. Taking turns can ensure that everyone gets to spend time with your loved one and no one feels as though they are the only one providing care.
  • Connect via video chat programs: Programs such as Skype or ooVoo can also you to see and talk to your senior via the Internet. When traveling to see them is not an option, this can let them know you care and give them an opportunity to socialize and talk about their day or any concerns they may have.
  • Hire an in-home caregiver: There are many wonderful caregivers who can provide your senior with companionship as well as help with activities of daily living. This can give you the peace of mind of knowing that someone is there to check in on them and provide assistance as needed. Your loved one can look forward to the visits as well.
  • Get a pet: A dog or cat can be a wonderful companion for your senior and help them to stay active. Caring for a pet can give them a sense of purpose and also boost their mood. Just make sure that they are capable of providing adequate care.
  • Get involved with a senior or community group: Find a local senior center or community group that has activities and events for your loved one to get involved in. This can help them to socialize and make friends with similar interests. They can have fun doing things that they enjoy and being in the company of others.
  • Provide transportation: One thing that can prevent your senior from being as social as they would like can be transportation. If they are no longer able to drive, they may not be able to get to various activities or to see their friends. Make arrangements for transportation so that they are able to get out and about.

Providing your loved one with opportunities to spend time with family or friends and get involved in activities that they enjoy can do wonders for their mental health and wellbeing. Recognize the signs of depression as well as hearing and vision loss and remain proactive to ensure that your loved one does not isolate themselves or feel withdrawn from others. There are many ways to help them overcome these challenges and stay active and upbeat.

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