by Guest Author: Andrea Gibbs
content manager at SpringHive web agency
Social isolation can become a problem as we seniors age.
Aging is a process—an inevitable one. In many ways, it can be a blessing; in others, it can be quite the bane. One thing that aging does not have to mean is an end to social interaction or enjoyment of life.
Seeing your senior loved one isolated and alone is one of the worst things that can happen to them. However, if you don't do anything about it now, social isolation could take a huge toll on the health and well-being of your seniors.
Social isolation is a problem for hundreds of thousands of senior citizens. And, there is a lot we can do about this.
Did you know social isolation for seniors is a strong risk factor for behavioral and psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, emotional distress, paranoia, and even dementai?
That’s why you must continue trying to connect with your loved one by reaching out to them. You can personally talk to them, invite their friends, or even help them connect with friends online if they are not comfortable doing so themselves.
Take a look at what else you can do to bring some more Joy back to their lives:
Being socially active and staying in touch with friends is one of the keys to enjoying happy and healthy senior years. It can also help maintain senior independence and encourage a sense of purpose. However, because of various barriers and challenges brought by aging, many seniors go through life without having much connection with people they once knew.
Seniors often start to become more and more isolated. And, the depression and loneliness that isolation brings becomes a new and unnecessary part of their lives.
As someone who takes care of your elderly loved ones on a regular basis, one of your roles is to help them keep active socially. You can make their lives much more fun by helping them maintain social ties.
In today’s post, we aim to provide you with some useful tips that can help you help your seniors stay connected with friends.
Here are 9 tips that you can use to make sure that your loved ones stay socially connected:
Nowadays, with the Internet widely accessible and social networking sites like Facebook getting popular, seniors are no longer limited to meet-ups or phone calls with one another.
Us seniors can now use technologies like Skype or Google Hangouts to call relatives, share pictures and videos, message each other and even play games.
Digital technology can be a major help when it comes to social isolation and seniors. The new technology is almost like a miraculous God send.
However, many seniors are still not very comfortable using these new devices and may not understand their benefits. You can sit down with your loved ones and personally teach them how to use these technologies. It is a gift they will always cherish.
Text messaging or calling may be convenient, but there is just no way they can replace the power of actually writing a letter.
A personal and handwritten letter means so much more to your senior loved ones than something that can be easily lost between a million other messages.
The feel and look of a handwritten letter, written just for them, can not only warm their heart, it can relieve the horrible feeling of isolation.
So, encourage your loved one to start writing letters again. They may not be as enthusiastic about this as they used to be, but as their correspondence grows, they will begin looking forward again to each letter they receive and write.
And, each time they read and write their letters, another lonely day of isolation will disappear.
By volunteering, your aged loved ones can get in touch with others and engage in different activities they would not have done otherwise. This bonus motivation can make their lives more interesting and meaningful.
This is another way to banish social isolation and bring a source of joy to your loved ones.
If your loved one has missed the opportunity to attend many parties and events in the past, you can help them make up for it by organizing their own celebrations.
Even if it is a simple lunch or dinner with a few friends, this can give them a chance to be socially active and see old friends they have not seen in a while. You can also ask some of their old friends to attend this event.
Sometimes social isolation for our seniors can be so easy to reduce and eliminate. We just have to take a little time to set things up.
Social isolation is one of the worst things that often happens to seniors, especially if they had previously enjoyed being active in their youth.
A lack of association can cause a lot of anxiety, sadness, and frustration in older people. So, it is important to help our favorite seniors continue doing the things they love doing or participate in new activities.
If you are able to take up or coordinate a new hobby, that is excellent. If not, you can encourage seniors to join a group of people at the library, senior center, or other places that offer similar activities and meet new people who may have enjoyed doing the same thing in their younger days.
Getting out of the house, into almost any activity with others, is so often the best remedy when it comes to the social isolation that too many seniors face after retirement.
For many seniors, staying socially connected could be as simple as enrolling in an online class or taking some online courses on the topic of interest.
For example, if they had once taken drawing classes or enjoyed drawing, they can take an online course on this topic.
Your loved one will be able to learn a new skill, do something they enjoy, and make friends with other people who are in the same situation as they are.
Just because we are older does not mean it is time for us to rot. Even if we are very old, there are still things that interest us. Things we would like to do. And, we should do them!
Religious activities and congregations can be a great source of socializing for your loved ones. This is especially true for seniors because a large part of most congregations are senior citizens.
Many people who find it hard to leave their houses avoid religious gatherings out of fear that they might appear too old-fashioned and irrelevant. Just the opposite. Seniors dominate many congregations.
Your loved one is likely to enjoy the activities at the religious gatherings more than anything else because it may have been a part of their daily lives for years. They may not be able to attend services regularly as they used to, but attending them once in a while can still make a big difference.
The feeling of social isolation will melt away as they look forward to seeing new friends again and again.
If your loved one has friends who live far away and whom they haven’t seen in a long time, you can ask their friends to visit them. If they can't drive on their own, present yourself as their driver.
This will give them the opportunity to meet up with old friends again, catch up with what they have been up to, and take a mental vacation from their everyday reality.
Do you want to see excitement and Joy fill your favorite seniors faces? Get them together with some old friends. And, if you can, listen to how they talk. It’s a blast!
Obviously, this won’t be possible for everyone, but if it is doable for you, don’t miss out on the chance!
Playing games with family and friends, even online with strangers, may not be your cup of tea, but it is something that many seniors will love to do. And, there are few things that will remove the feeling of social isolation as well as playing games with others.
With the advanced technology, everyone, no matter how old, can now play games with their children, grandchildren, and friends who live a long distance away.
If your senior loved ones were used to playing games like chess, checkers, or cards with their friends back in the day, they might want to continue doing it today. You can teach them how to play these games using the Internet and help them play with friends they have lost contact with.
You have the power to help your loved one get out of social isolation.
If you notice that a senior loved one has stopped going outside and interacting with other people, it is time for you to take action. Consider the tips described above.
You may not be able to do them all. That’s OK. Even just implementing just one of these 9 tips can help your senior loved one get back on track and start enjoying each day of their life again.
Keep Connected, and Keep Having Fun! ~ We Love Our Granny .com
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