Loneliness is not only a negative emotion to feel, but can negatively impact health. For the elderly, excessive loneliness is associated with an increased risk of dementia.
Preventing loneliness seems like a big task, but even small actions can make a big difference. Consider a few of these ideas for combating loneliness in seniors.
Scheduled Family Time
It can be easy to get distracted by daily life and forget to prioritize quality time with family. For seniors, spending time with their families is a rewarding experience. Schedule a consistent time for the whole family to get together and spend time with older family members. Play a game, watch a movie, or learn something new together to find new things to talk about.
Register for a Class
Don’t underestimate a senior’s ability to learn new things. Many community centers offer classes exclusively for senior citizens or offer discounted rates for their regular adult classes. Consider fitness or art classes like pilates or pottery. You can even sign up with your loved one and possibly discover a new passion you both can share.
Can’t commit to a weekly class? Many places offer one time classes with a discount for other classes available in the future. So if your loved one is skeptical, encourage them to give it one chance before dismissing the idea completely.
Senior Pet Programs
For the right person, pets can reduce overall stress and anxiety levels, promoting better help for their caretakers. Assuming the senior in your life is still able to care for themselves, many local shelters offer discounted adoption fees and assistance for seniors looking to care for senior dogs and cats.
As an alternative, robotic or stuffed toy pets can provide a sense of companionship for the elderly without the cost and responsibility of a real pet.
Take Advantage of New (And Old) Ways of Communicating
With more options of staying connected than ever, using services like Zoom, Facetime, or a regular phone call can keep your loved ones close. Make time for a weekly call in some form to catch them up on what has been happening in your world and ask them about their own. It can give you insight on what could be missing from their routine.
For something more low tech, consider having family members, including yourself, send letters to your loved one. Getting fun mail is much more exciting than getting bills, so don’t underestimate the power of a brief note.
Caregivers and friends may not always be available to be with their loved ones when they’re feeling lonely. Companionship services offer a chance for the elderly to play games, watch shows, and talk with new people. Companions can also drive their clients to special events and appointments. A home companion, even if they are only with a senior for a little bit of time per week, can bring a sense of companionship they can look forward to on a regular basis. Best of all, it is an affordable option that keeps seniors living independently longer.
Want to know more about the perks of companionship services for seniors in your life? Learn more about what we offer here.