Combating Loneliness in the Senior Years
"The quality of being unfrequented and remote; isolation"
- Oxford Dictionary
As Human Beings; We are Social Creatures.
We are not designed to be alone. We are designed to be able to talk to someone, reveal our emotions to someone, and be in the presence of others. And (aside from the brief interlude from normalcy through a global pandemic) the majority of us, as humans, are socially interactive throughout our lives. We go to school as children, work as adults, and make it to the golden time; retirement! And now, social interaction has become different. You have more time than you've ever had to see people, but somehow it is much harder to achieve.
Keeping our mature population feeling connected, socially active and not alone should be a priority for everyone. So we have put together some tips to help you support the elderly in your life!
A few risk factors make social isolation and its side effects more likely in the elderly. These include:
- Divorce or being widowed.
- Adult children living far away or not having any close family.
- Suffering from one or more chronic illnesses.
- Relying on mobility assisting equipment such as a wheelchair or walker.
- Suffering from a loss.
- Limits to transport options.
So, what can we do to help combat this social isolation and lonliness?
Here are a few ideas!
Ever heard the phrase "It's the thought that counts"? This applies here too. Picking up the phone and checking in with your older loved ones can make a huge difference. It lets them know you are thinking of them, you care about them, and you can take the time to check in on them.
If you live close by your loved one, become actively involved in their life. Bring them around for a meal at your house once a week. Take them shopping once a fortnight. Show them you enjoy their company, so they can enjoy yours!
Have they considered a Pet?
Pets offer unconditional love, affection, and companionship. If your older loved one can still care for a pet, it could be a fantastic option to keep them company - and encourage them to get outside! Taking the dog for a walk gets them outside, gives them exercise and keeps them from feeling lonely. Its a win-won-won!
Research Local Programs!
Many communities have programs that facilitate social interaction for seniors. Get on google and see what you can find, and then encourage them to go! Many of these programs also include transportation, so they have few excuses not to get out there and socialise. They also may be eligible for carer support to assist them in their everyday lives, while also offering some company!