As our loved ones age, we like to think we know what they need. There will be a home with simple accommodations to care for, basic healthcare, possible home healthcare, and eventually palliative care. Leading up to that time, though, our loved ones need the best quality life possible for as long as possible. Part of providing this is making sure we prevent them from becoming isolated.
Isolation is one of the leading causes of depression in seniors, and can even lead to greater health risks in the future. There are many ways we can help our loved ones stay healthy, social, and active longer, and avoid becoming isolated.
Assist with and Organize Transportation.
Many seniors begin feeling isolated because they don’t have any means of transportation, or they are medically unable to use that form of transportation. Help your aging loved one get to doctor appointments, and see what transportation is available for seniors in your area. Just getting them out of the house is very helpful, no matter the reason.
Encourage Them to be Social.
Seniors need to have friends and family in their lives. This gives them a sense of purpose, a sense of community. A social life helps them to feel like they belong, and less like they are being forced to experience life alone. It helps to let neighbors know what their condition is so they can check on your loved ones from time to time, and they feel as though they are still a part of the community.
Encourage Exercise and Hobbies.
Exercise, hobbies and clubs, and even religious services help many seniors form their own communities. These types of organized, scheduled activities give seniors times to look forward to.
Make Technology Available.
It is a proven fact that technology can contribute to making us feel more isolated, but giving our aging loved ones access to some technology can also give them their needed access to family members who are far away and can’t visit as often. Social media, Skype, and email are wonderful and simple advancements in technology that can make seniors feel involved and not so far away from the rest of the world.