Loneliness has always been a problem in the elderly community, and it has only been made worse through the global pandemic over the last couple of years. While all generations began experiencing added loneliness, it became even easier for us to forget about how lonely seniors tend to be.
Concerns Over Loneliness
Almost a third of all seniors experience the feeling of loneliness on a regular basis. While the feeling of social isolation is a negative experience in itself, there are added issues that loneliness can contribute to with seniors.
Some conditions that can be made worse through loneliness include:
- Loss of cognitive function
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Lowered immune system
If you’re concerned that your senior loved one is experiencing regular loneliness, you may be worried about these added risks. Fortunately, there are some ways to help combat social isolation.
Ways to Help Combat Loneliness
If you’re involved in the care of a senior loved one and you want to help combat loneliness, there are some changes you can try implementing into their lives. Let’s look at some of the proven ways to help with loneliness in seniors.
Keeping a Schedule
Having structure in daily life can be a huge benefit for everyone, especially seniors. It may be difficult to maintain a schedule, but even the attempt can help give your senior loved one an added sense of purpose and stability.
Have them set a morning alarm to get out of bed at a reasonable time. Then try to incorporate events or activities throughout the week like shopping, visiting a community center, or taking part in local senior events. Try to include enjoyable social activities to get the best benefit.
Adopt a Pet
There’s a ton of research that shows having a pet connection can help lower the feeling of loneliness in seniors. Animals are able to provide social and emotional connections, offering companionship to your loved ones. If needed, have their caregiver help with the daily needs of the pet so their animal companion is something they can enjoy stress-free.
Not all seniors are open to the idea of using computers for social connections. However, if your loved ones are willing to try, using the digital world for social connections is a great option. Help them learn how to respond to emails or navigate a social media site so they can keep up with their family and friends online.
It may be useful to contract with local non-medical home care services that can provide companionship along with meal preparation, medical reminders and visits, light cleaning and more. You may be restricted on time and you may find these third party services affordable and invaluable.
Loneliness is a concern for many people, but it’s an especially concerning issue for seniors. Looking for ways to combat loneliness in your loved ones can help raise their physical and mental health and let them feel that they have a purpose!