Loneliness is a health risk for seniors

senior loneliness 040219.jpgYour senior may give the curmudgeonly impression that they like being alone with no one to bother them. That may be true, but socializing is still vital for physical and mental health. Chronic conditions and cognitive issues can be exacerbated by extended isolation.

So how can you help a senior loved one break out of an isolated rut? The first step is to determine what barriers they are facing.

  • Difficulty hearing in a social setting – One of the first things to happen when a senior starts to lose their hearing is the ability to make out conversations in a noisy environment. This can make group activities and even lunches with friends more difficult.
  • Transportation – Seniors who no longer have the ability to drive may not have a way to pursue social events in which they are interested. Friends who used to visit may be in the same boat.
  • Friends have passed on – Sadly, many seniors have seen those in their social groups pass on. They don’t relish the idea of trying to get to know new people.
  • Too challenging to meet new people or try new things. Seniors know who they are, what they like and don’t like. For some, that makes it difficult to take a risk on a new friend, activity or setting.
  • They don’t feel like they are presentable – Seniors can be just as self-conscious as anyone else. If they feel as though their grooming or wardrobe is not up to par, they may prefer to stay home alone.

Although you may have to do some cajoling to get them back out of their shell, seniors benefit from staying active and having a sense of community. Here are some ideas for overcoming challenges and getting your senior back into the world as much as is possible.

  • Find a new club or activity – Local senior centers, religious organizations, libraries and restaurants offer activities, social hours and “morning coffee” for seniors.
  • Reconnect with old friends – Talk to your senior about people they have lost touch with over the years which they may like to see again. Internet searches and social media have made it easy to find old friends and even rekindle a friendship.
  • Try technology – Your senior loved one may have limited tech abilities, but the chance to video chat with children and grandchildren can be a great motivator for learning a new skill! Set up a tablet and a service and then make it easy for your senior to touch an icon and reach your app of choice. Installing a few games or a video streaming service can help them get more comfortable with the technology.
  • Find transportation – If your senior loved one has an activity or meeting they miss and would like to attend, get them there. If public transit isn't an option, try a driving service such as Uber or Lyft. Or, have your home health caregiver schedule their visits around weekly or monthly events and they can offer seniors transportation as part of their services.
  • Make an appointment at the beauty or barber shop – Where else can you get lively conversation, one-on-one attention and a confidence boost at the same time?
  • Offer to host – Would your senior like to have a few visitors over for coffee and cards? Offer to help them cook, clean and prepare for company.

If your senior is feeling alone or if you are concerned about their physical or mental wellbeing, Belvedere Home Care can help! In addition to our range of healthcare services, we offer companionship, personal care, transportation and light housekeeping. We can provide company and help your senior feel confident and prepared for activities or guests!

Contact us today to set up your home health care consultation: (518) 694-9400 Option 4 or info@belvedereservices.com.