What is senior loneliness?
Senior loneliness is a feeling of isolation, disconnection, and exclusion that comes with the aging process. It can result in low self-esteem, distorted thinking, depression and even cause health issues.
As people grow older, they are more likely to experience loneliness due to lack of contact with family members, friends, or routine social activity.
Who’s at risk for senior loneliness?
Older adults are at risk for isolation when they are not part of an active social network.
What needs to be done is to find new ways to keep our loved ones in the company of other people and provide them with social interaction and some sort of structured activity.
What are the consequences of not addressing senior loneliness?
We can’t assume that this problem is going to go away by itself. We really need to do something about it now, because it could lead to more serious consequences if ignored.
Studies have shown that loneliness leads to increased risk of social isolation, disease that can lead to early death and decreased quality of life. One reason is that seniors who live alone also have a diminishing sense of control and independence which may lead them to give up on themselves and withdraw from others and their lives.
Therefore, it is very important to keep an eye on the effects senior loneliness has on health and emotional well-being. Consider providing companionship for seniors or your loved ones.
How can caregivers help their aging parents/grandparents live a life free from isolation and loneliness?
One way we can do this is by providing them with a companion who will be there for them and spend time with them on a regular basis, so they don’t feel lonely anymore.
In addition to providing companionship a caregiver can help your loved one run errands, read to them, accompany them on visits and even help them to participate in volunteer activities.
That way your loved one is kept safe and at the same time gets out of the vicious pull of loneliness and isolation.
And here are some great suggestions to keep your loved one busy and involved.
Suggested Activities for Seniors
Senior citizen functions: There are events being planned all the time. In fact, most local communities have senior centers that provide a social outlet for senior citizens. Make full use of this free resource.
Volunteering: There are so many excellent volunteer opportunities that can be easily managed by older adults. At church or other religious institutions, with civic, cultural and arts groups. Not only do seniors get the gratification of doing something good for others, they stay engaged in a healthy way and also get to meet people which is a sure cure for loneliness.
Spend Time with Grandchildren, Other Relatives or Friends: Older adults can set aside specific times in the day or week to spend some quality time with family and friends. Set up a timetable and make sure your loved ones keep those commitments. It could be as simple as just having a special treat at a local eatery or if home bound connecting through a video call.
Board Games: Even a simple kid’s game like snakes and ladders can be a lot of fun. Your loved one can even try their hand at learning some new games they have never tried before.
Reading, Music, Watching TV: When a companion reads aloud to your loved one or actively listens to music together, or watches TV, it no longer is an isolated activity.
These are just a few great ways for your loved ones to get out and meet people who will welcome them with open arms or spend some quality time in the comfort of their own home.
With the help of family and friends, caregivers can help lessen the negative effects and improve the mental health of their seniors.
Companionship will definitely make your loved one feel better and lessen their loneliness. A companion caregiver will be able to:
– Offer to take them out for a walk or events and gatherings
– Join them in an activity such as playing games, reading, or watching TV
– Listen when they need someone to talk to and
– Encourage them to speak about their feelings
You can have a companion come in on a part-time basis or opt for live-in care based on your loved one’s needs.