Social isolation among seniors can lead to many detrimental health issues including dementia, increased falls, re-hospitalization, and early mortality. Unfortunately, isolation among seniors is alarmingly common and these feelings of loneliness can pose many health risks.
Here are tips to promote social health and a more active lifestyle:
- Schedule hearing and vision testing - Social situations may be avoided when there is embarrassment or difficulty communicating.
- Schedule outings and transportation - Getting out and making independent choices promotes social health. Lack of adequate transportation is a primary cause of isolation for seniors. Arrange for transportation from family, friends, public systems or by contacting a Home Care company and hiring a caregiver to provide shopping, errands, appointments and social outings.
- Engage in hobbies and former passions - Maintaining hobbies and other interests promote a sense of purpose and help to reduce feeling lonely or isolated. Senior centers and places of worship have great scheduled activities that form social connections.
- Provide a pet - There are numerous health benefits from interacting with pets. Studies have shown that pet owners have more motivation for constructive use of time, require less medication than non-pet owners and have less depression. If the senior isn't capable of caring for a pet, there are pet therapy volunteers who will bring their pets in for interaction and enjoyment.
- Maintain gardening - Tending a garden or houseplants has shown to offer therapeutic advantages and help satisfy our nurturing desire. Assist your loved one with planting something and provide gardening supplies for the activity.
- Set up and assist with social media - Using the internet, email and other sites like Facebook help to keep seniors connected with family and friends. Skype and FaceTime is also extremely beneficial in keeping your loved one from isolation and feelings of loneliness.
- Get to know the neighbors - Meet the neighbors who are within a close proximity and let them know if they see anything out of the ordinary to contact you. Introduce your loved one and let them know that someone is close by to offer peace of mind with assistance.
- Encourage social dining - Sharing a meal not only increases social health but promotes better nutrition. Whether it's with a church group, the local senior center, or with family or a friend, dining with others is crucial for positive health.
- Don't forget the hug - Hugging helps lower stress and promotes feelings of well-being. At the very least provide your loved one with a friendly hug as you're greeting or farewell.
- Provide extra support to those who have recently lost a spouse - It is crucial to offer support by spending more time with them in the weeks after their loss. This helps to encourage a healthy grieving process rather than depression and isolation.
If you are a family caregiver caring for a loved one, remember to take care of yourself. Many family caregivers are 50+ and caregiving can trigger many social and health risks for the caregiver. Family caregivers often work by themselves, and more than half say they have less time for friends and family. Often they don't call the doctor when they are sick, and have little or not time to exercise or eat well. If you know a family caregiver, look for ways to make their life easier. Consider hiring respite care from a Home Care company. Respite care is temporary care, it can be a few hours or several days of care, that relieves the family caregiver from their duties and allows them time for focusing on their needs.
If you are finding it difficult to juggle it all....work, family, errands and other demands, consult Atlanta's most trusted source for quality Home Care, Easy Living Services, Inc. We offer flexible care plans designed to guarantee personal care and attention to your loved one at home. Call us to learn more, 770-442-8664