Tips to Fight Loneliness in Seniors
When you think of your aging loved ones, you might picture them enjoying the freedom of retirement, spending time pursuing treasured hobbies, or sharing their wisdom and experiences with grandchildren. An adult’s later years are often full of opportunities to explore lifelong passions and discover new interests.
But we may not realize that some of the lifestyle changes that come with age can impact one’s social life and reduce time spent with others. Seniors may not stay as close with friends or co-workers after retiring, or if they’re no longer safe to drive, they may not be able to attend social gatherings or participate in activities as frequently as they’d like.
Beyond the social aspects, isolation can also impact one’s health, too. Studies have found that isolated individuals tend to have higher rates of heart disease and other chronic illnesses, and can be at greater risk for depression and dementia.
Talking about social isolation can be challenging and emotional, but it’s important to discuss the topic with your loved ones early on before any serious health problems emerge. By having an honest and open conversation with your loved one, you can both address the situation in a positive way.
Keep in mind that seniors may be reluctant to open up about their struggles with isolation. When you do talk with an older adult who you suspect may be dealing with social isolation, approach the subject respectfully, and be sure to acknowledge the difficulties of the situation. Be patient when speaking to your loved one, and know when to stop the conversation if things get tense.
One great option for those who may be feeling isolated are senior living communities. These communities provide physically and mentally stimulating opportunities in an active and supportive community-based living environment.
Senior living communities offer a variety of programs and initiatives to help bring people together and remove social barriers that can often lead to isolation. Residents have ample opportunities to make meaningful connections with others and stay energized and invigorated alongside neighbors.
Here are five ways a move to a senior living community can help reduce feelings of isolation or loneliness:
1. Activities and events – Participating in activities of like interest can help give seniors an easy and accessible way to make meaningful connections with those around them. Most communities also hold regular events throughout the year, which provide seniors an opportunity to engage with their neighbors and spend time with family members.
2. Worry-free living – Residents are able to join friends for a meal while staff take care of the cooking and the dishes! Housekeeping is often included at senior living communities, giving residents the opportunity to relax and enjoy life.
3. Strengthen family bonds – Senior living communities can also help strengthen relationships between older adults and their families. The sense of relief that comes with knowing your loved one is taken care of can help reduce stressful interactions, and free up more time to enjoy each other’s company.
4. Furry friends are invited, too! – Studies have shown that pets can have therapeutic physical, mental and emotional benefits. Many senior living communities will welcome your loved one’s cherished pets, which can lead to frequent opportunities to socialize.
5. Live better – Wellness programming in senior living communities allow freedom for residents to choose a variety of physical, emotional, spiritual and vocational gatherings to promote socialization and boost quality of life.
Having a lot of free time can make for long days. By engaging in different activities in a senior living community, older adults can focus on constructive and positive aspects of life, and avoid feelings of loneliness or isolation.
For additional information on falls and other important senior-focused topics, visit PrestigeCare.com to download a free resource guide designed to help families and aging loved ones live healthy, fulfilled lives.