Many seniors feel neglected and isolated because of not having families around them and also finding it hard to stay connected with friends. This leads to isolation and depression in many. This can pose serious health risks to seniors if not addressed.
Living alone is not the same as social isolation. Even if a senior is living is living alone but actively engaging in social activities it would be fine but if a senior is distancing themselves from all social engagements and staying away from friends and family, then it is considered to be social isolation. Seniors who are distancing themselves cut off talking to family and friends and, also staying away from any social engagements.
If you have an elder who is showing signs of social isolation, then you can consider the following to ensure they integrate back into society. Being socially active will keep them happier.
- Give them purpose
Seniors who have hobbies and daily engagements ever feel social isolation. Encourage any activity that they love. It can be anything from art to playing bridge or book clubs or knitting clubs. Volunteering is also a great way to keep them engaged. Encouraging seniors to remain active is a great way to ensure that they don’t fall into the traps of social distancing.
- Ensure they have transportation
One of the biggest reason’s seniors tend to drift away is because they have no safer way to travel. They feel like a burden asking to be driven to places. So instead if a transportation option is given to them, they will automatically be able to attend social activities without being dependent.
- Pets can help
If seniors like pets, it is a great way to engage them all day. Pets make great companions and also set a daily routine. The responsibility of having a pet will keep them engaged with activities all day.
- Take part in the community
If seniors are living in a township or a large community, encourage them to contribute to it. There are also a lot of NGOs and centres that require volunteers and seniors would be the perfect people to volunteer. Attending regular activities where they are wanted and make a difference will improve their social engagements and their mood.
- Create a fitness regime
Exercise is very beneficial for seniors. Exercise releases endorphins and reduces stress. It also promotes a positive body image, makes them feel stronger and more confident. Group exercise programmes help them meet others they can make friends with. Along with healthy eating, exercise will help them stave off several health conditions related to aging.
- Schedule doctor visits
Preventive healthcare is essential in senior years. Routine doctor visits are important and this also makes seniors feel happier if they know they are taken care of and in good health. Having difficulty breathing or reading properly can irritate them in public and make it hard for them to interact with others. By ensuring that this problem is addressed will ensure that the comfortably mingle with others.
- Address issues that cause embarrassment
Incontinence is an issue most seniors face. If seniors are experiencing these issues, then they would feel extremely uncomfortable to leave their homes. Incontinence can be tackled through medication or special clothing. Being aware of their condition and getting it treated at the earliest would be the best approach.
- Organise family and friend’s get-together
Actively encourage family members to meet for brunches or dinners with the elders. This will help them stay connected with the generations of the family and be at ease while communicating with them. You can organise a get-together with their old friends too. Friends always have a way of bringing a smile on to our face.
Do everything you can to help your elders stay socially healthy. Loneliness is preventable and it just needs enough will to do so.