Battling Loneliness as Part of Your Elder Care Plan
Anyone who has caught a rerun of an old “Golden Girls” episode has seen how emotional support, socialization, and bonding can enhance the lives of adults over the age of 60. In this show, four women, including a mother and daughter, live together and use their close friendships to help them through all of the challenges of life. As a family caregiver for your elderly parents, you would like to think that this type of emotional support and encouragement is available for all seniors. Unfortunately, though your parents live in a time when connecting with others anywhere in the world is literally just a few clicks away, experts say that the elderly population is lonelier than ever.
Research shows that nearly half of all elderly adults experience loneliness on a regular basis, and a large percentage of them are living with their spouse or a partner. This means that even if both of your elderly parents are still alive, loneliness could still be part of their reality. Loneliness is detrimental to emotional health, which can dramatically decrease their quality of life and contribute to faster decline.
Making combating your senior loved ones’ loneliness part of your elder care plan is an important way you can boost their wellbeing and give them an improved quality of life. Try some of these tips for helping your parents’ battle loneliness and feel more engaged with the world around them:
- Recognize loneliness. It is easy to think that your parents are not lonely because they have each other and you visit, but the reality is that seeing the same people all the time, particularly when most of the interaction is focused on care activities, does little to ease feelings of loneliness. Take the time to pay attention to your parents so you can detect signs of their need for additional social interaction
- Hire care providers. Even if you are available to provide care for your parents on a daily basis, hiring an elderly home care provider gives them another person to visit with, which offers companionship, conversation, and mental stimulation. This care provider can also help your parents engage more fully by providing transportation to activities
- Support interaction. Help your senior loved ones find ways to get more social interaction on a regular basis. Research organizations within the community to find clubs, groups, educational centers, and other activities specifically geared toward older adults so your aging loved ones can meet new people, participate in fun activities, and get mental stimulation. This not only combats loneliness, it keeps your parents’ minds sharp and lets them enjoy a lifetime of learning
- Learn from them. If you want to be a source of emotional support for your elderly parents, make sure your attention is not always about your care activities. Let them teach you something and truly engage in the process of learning. Ask your parents about something they enjoy and give them the opportunity to teach you about it. Whether it is a skill or a topic, take time with them on a regular basis to bond over the topic.
Get in touch with the elder care agency in your area to find out about hiring an elderly health care services provider and to get more suggestions for how you can help your parents battle their loneliness.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in the New Haven Area, please call and speak to the caring staff at Talem Home Care. Call today at (203) 590-9099.