5 Tips to Help Beat Your Senior Parent’s Loneliness
About 43 percent of adults aged 60 and older in the U.S. experience loneliness. For these seniors, loneliness is a slippery slope since it can have a significant impact on both their physical and emotional health. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help prevent and alleviate the feeling of loneliness in a loved one. This will go a long way in improving the overall well-being of an older adult. So, how can you help your senior parent overcome loneliness?
Here are some tips to help you get started.
Why Seniors May Feel Lonely
As people age, they go through a wide range of changes. These changes can affect your aging parent's lifestyle, something that may make them vulnerable to loneliness. Below are a few reasons why seniors may feel lonely:
- An estimated 28 percent of older adults live alone. Factors such as age and illnesses can contribute to mobility problems. As a result, seniors often feel lonely as they may be stuck at home and unable to do much on their own.
- The death of a spouse, family members and loved ones. This may result in lack of meaningful social connections, effectively contributing to feelings of loneliness.
- Health conditions associated with speaking challenges, hearing loss and cognitive impairment may affect their ability to communicate and connect with others.
- Limited financial resources can make it difficult for seniors to take part in social and recreational activities.
Older adults may isolate themselves if they are worried about being a burden to their friends and family members.
How to Protect Your Parent From the Risks of Loneliness
Now that you know the various factors that may make seniors feel lonely, it is important to learn the steps you can take to help reduce loneliness. Here is what you should do.
1. Visit Often
Visiting and spending quality time with your senior parent regularly is a great way to help them overcome loneliness. Frequent visits will allow you to connect and create meaningful family moments. Your aging parent will appreciate the warmth of your hug, touch of your hand as well as your physical presence. Indeed, the regular physical visits will give the elderly person something to look forward to.
2. Maintain Frequent Contact
If you cannot visit, be sure to stay in regular contact with your aging parent. A simple phone call or letter can help to break a lonely day and have an uplifting effect for your parent. When you call, make sure you talk about something that makes them feel better.
Moreover, you should consider teaching your aging parent how to use technology. Digital technology will enable them to connect with the people they care about. Similarly, video chats will come in handy when it is difficult to find time for in-person visits.
3. Explore Community Resources
Many urban areas have community centers that offer a variety of senior-friendly activities, most of which your aging parent is likely to enjoy. Apart from entertainment, these facilities present a great opportunity for seniors to meet and connect with like-minded peers that they can relate with. Making the most of the resources can help your parent to find great company and make friends, helping to alleviate their loneliness.
4. Encourage an Elderly Parent to Pick up a Hobby
To combat loneliness, encourage your elderly parent to get outside and socialize. For instance, picking up a hobby will enable them to stay active, keep their brain stimulated and meet new people. Depending on their interests, some activities you can suggest include singing, cooking new recipes, meditation, starting a knitting circle and joining a book club.
From time to time, take your aging parent to events they may enjoy. This includes comedy, theatre, concerts and community festivals.
5. Hire Professionals
If you live far away from your elderly parent, consider hiring a home health aide for companionship care. The professional will help the older adult with day-to-day activities like bathing, dressing, cleaning and cooking. A good companion caregiver will also try to develop a personal relationship with your elderly parent, initiate enjoyable conversations, find ways to stimulate their minds and shower them with love. This will help to alleviate the feelings of loneliness.
Combat Your Senior Parent’s Loneliness
This list is by no means exhaustive. There is a lot more that you can do to help your elderly parent deal with loneliness. For instance, you can gift them a pet or encourage them to volunteer in the community. Also, ensure your parent maintains a healthy diet, exercises regularly and gets enough sleep.
At Elite Home Health Care, we are a home health care provider in New York. We are committed to ensuring your senior parent receives compassionate care tailored to their individual needs. This helps allows them to age gracefully in an environment they know and love. Contact us today to learn more.
Written by: Leah Ganz
Leah Ganz, RN, BSN is the Director of Patient Services at Elite Home Health Care. She has an extensive background in homecare and previously worked in various specialties including pediatrics, pain managemnet and internal medicine. She oversees allpatient services across Elite's departments.