An ongoing connection with others to establish meaningful relationships with a community and others is important. Engaging in social activities seems to be a natural occurrence in younger years but older adults living alone face unique social challenges, some leading to health issues. it is important to identify the sources and address them to avoid social isolation. Understand the reasons for isolation and start to realize how to address concerns with a loved one.
How Social Isolation Occurs
Often one who is elderly feels they are not respected, understood or of value. They may be unable to participate in activities or suddenly feel they are no longer important, the hub of the family or have lost a spouse or close friend. The aging process may prevent them from participating in activities at the level to which they are accustomed. Suddenly, depression sets in due to isolation, either by choice or by these circumstances. As a result, increased falls, higher mortality rates, dementia, and recurrent hospitalizations are seen in older adults who are isolated.
Tips to Avoid Isolation
Help a loved one understand the changes they are experiencing and attempt to make the changing process both simple and natural. Encourage starting the day with a smile. When one is experiencing chronic loneliness, they feel threatened and often mistrustful of others. This may activate a biological defense mechanism, according to Steve Cole, Ph.D. The following are tips to help you navigate your loved one through the journey of loneliness.
- Be present – Keep in mind the elderly become more isolated as time passes. Caring for them is extremely important but not always possible due to work, family and other responsibilities of family members. If family is not available to help, try enlisting other friends, church members or a private caregiver.
- Give compliments – Compliments and positive comments make a lasting impression. Always be positive and encouraging when with your loved one. Happiness is contagious.
- Encourage a healthy lifestyle – If conditions allow, encourage daily activity. Exercise elevates moods with the additional benefit of strengthening the body.
- Be affectionate. We all crave love and affection. Hugging or holding hands lowers stress and promotes well-being. Incorporate a friendly hug into greetings and farewells. If your loved one is not the touchy-feely type, a simple pat on the shoulder might do the trick.
- Transportation –Seniors often stay at home due to a lack of transportation. Remove transportation barriers by explaining other options. Church groups, car-pooling, public transportation, and Uber-type opportunities could be the answer to a transport dilemma.
About Care Home Care
Bridge to Better Living understands the importance of quality of life. We listen to our clients and families to understand their social situations. Transition Consultants become one-on-one assistants to each Senior. Bridge to Better Living always offers expert guidance and assistance. YOU are important to us. Contact Bridge to Better Living today. We will be with you every step of the journey.