Loneliness is a growing concern among seniors today, especially since the pandemic.
We are social creatures and our connection to others enables us to survive and thrive. As we get older we find ourselves alone a lot more than when we were younger and this leaves us vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness. Being lonely can bring on health issues such as cognitive decline, depression, physical decline, and disease.
About 28 percent of older adults in the United States live alone and this accounts for about 13.8 million people. Social isolation does not always mean that you are lonely but in the transition to this, some people feel lonely even if they are surrounded by family and friends most of the time.
When older adults find themselves unexpectedly alone due to the death of a spouse, separation from family or friends, lack of transportation, and retirement they are at greater risk of being isolated and depressed. On the other hand older adults that engage in meaningful and productive activities tend to live longer. They have a sense of purpose and these activities boost their moods and improve their cognitive abilities.
The CDC has requested that all older adults stay home and have limited or no visitors since March of 2020. This group of people have the highest risk of severe illness with Covid-19. Although these restrictions help seniors stay safe during the pandemic it has also isolated them from their normal activities.
Before the pandemic started, many older adults living alone had active social lives, they visited community centers and had interactions with friends and family. They routinely went grocery shopping, chatted with the mail carrier, had conversations with neighbors, and went for walks around the neighborhood. These activities added much-needed socialization to their daily routine. Now more than ever it is important to reach out to our senior adults be it virtual or in-person to offer daily interaction. Even a 15-minute phone call each day can mitigate the loneliness a senior feels.
Here are a few suggestions to help your senior adult not feel so isolated.
Video Chat Resources – This is better than just a phone call. When a senior is able to see the faces of loved ones it is golden to them. Live video chat has never been easier and most have free options
- Facetime (Apple devices only)
- Whatsapp (mobile phones)
- Facebook Messenger
- Google Hangouts (Google users)
Love U.S. national parks then you will love what Google Arts & Culture has put together.
- Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
- Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, HI
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
- Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
- Dry Tortugas National Park, FL
- Monterey Bay Aquarium Online
- San Diego Zoo Live Cams
Does your senior like art museums? Here are some museums that have video tours.
- The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
- Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
- Musee d’Orsay, Paris
- Nat’l Gallery of Art, Washington DC
- Guggenheim, New York
- British Museum, London
- Palace of Versailles
Does your senior miss the theater and music? These suggestions can help keep your older adult entertained.
- The Metropolitan Opera
- Vancouver Symphony
- Berlin Philharmonic
- Royal Opera House
- Broadway HD
- Living Room Concerts
Does your senior love vacations but has been restricted due to the pandemic? Roadscharlors.org has some great online travel options for you, from adventures afloat to outdoor options.
As we age it brings on changes that contribute to a more solitary life.
When we get older one issue we face is our social circles begin to shrink. Retirement gives us more free time for hobbies and relaxation, but it also takes away most of our daily interactions. Family members may live quite a distance away from each other, so visits may become more of a challenge due to age-related conditions.
Many older adults that live with chronic medical conditions face logistical challenges when it comes to traveling or even leaving the house for simple errands. It is hard for some older adults to maintain meaningful relationships due to incontinence, mobility issues, or other medical conditions. Unfortunately, these seniors experience a decline in relationships whether self-imposed or forces outside of their control.
Ways to reduce loneliness in your aging adult.
If your senior loved one is feeling isolated and lonely there are steps we can take to help them feel more connected. Family members and caregivers have to be willing to get up and make it happen. They have to listen to what the senior is saying and observe how the senior is acting and feeling. Engage in the conversation, ask them to tell you more about what they are feeling or tell you more about what is going on. This will help you discover what is really going on. Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to get the information you need to help correct the situation. When you find out the root cause to the problem, you can make a plan to engage the senior in what interests them more often. This will minimize their feeling of isolation and loneliness. Sometimes they just need a little nudge to open up so you can discover the real reason they have these feelings and help in any way you can.
Your senior adult has wisdom and knowledge so let them teach you. They have gained a lot of knowledge throughout their lives so allow them to pass along some hard-earned wisdom to you. You need to let the senior guide the lesson plan. Be interested in what they have to say and let them know you are listening. This will be a great bonding experience and it will restore the balance of the parent/child relationship that they long for.
Dwell at Home is here to help.
Dwell at Home is bringing in-home senior care into the palm of your hand with a mobile application that values convenience, personalized mentorship, and trust. You can download the app in the Apple App store today by clicking here!
Dwell at Home is not a licensed medical professional and all information provided is provided “as is” with no warranties. You should consult a licensed physician for any questions related to your health. Dwell at Home makes no guarantee about any application or third party web site mentioned in any article on this web site.