Loneliness and isolation are challenging at any age. But it is particularly concerning when the people suffering are seniors with limited resources. Some risk factors that contribute to social isolation in seniors according to Hadar Swersky are:
- lack of interaction with family and friends
- poor health
- limited financial resources
- lack of community involvement
- little help with routine activities such as meal preparation and shopping
- lack of emotional support
- restricted transportation
- low support with routine activities
- living alone
- inadequate physical and leisure activities
When you look at the list of factors that can cause seniors to become isolated, there are several ways you can have a positive impact. Thus, whether you have a senior friend or loved one in your life, or you are looking to volunteer and help a local senior, check out these simple ideas:
- Encourage any kind of physical activity. It could be swimming, walking, or chair yoga for seniors. Anything that helps to keep them moving as best they can.
- Visit as often as you can and bring along friends, kids, and pets on occasion for some diverse friendship.
- Try to ease social opportunities. Connect them to senior resources in their place. Explore hobby groups such as card games, art, quilting, bingo, bible study.
- Chat about current events and activities in your life. Share your feelings, thoughts and inquire about theirs.
- Take them on an outing. Use public transit for unique stimulation and visit a library, museum, park, or seniors center. Even taking them to the grocery store can be a way to keep them feeling like they are a part of daily life.
- Bring them to your home for tea or a meal. Even a short visit to someone else’s house can be inspiring.
- If you are not actively involved with a senior family member, you can find a senior in your neighborhood and essentially, adopt them. You can offer interaction, time, and transportation, and you can help connect them to the resources they need to improve their well-being.
- Participate in an anonymous gift-giving program that helps spread cheer to lonely and/ or financially-challenged seniors and sends the message that they are remembered over the holidays.
- Virtual interactions are a perfect way to stay connected with others across distances or in spite of circumstances that may stop you from going out to socialize. Some older adults can feel intimidated by new technology, but there are quite a few easy to use applications available with the simple touch of a button on your smartphone or computer.
- Having a furry friend around the house is a great way to help fight social isolation and loneliness. While they may not be able to have a conversation with you, pets are great at keeping their humans company. If you plan to go this route, carry out your research: You will want to choose a pet that matches your energy level, lifestyle, and mobility. Keep in mind the animal’s diet, activity needs and temperament before committing to ensure the endeavor will be a help, not an obstruction.
By following these tips, Hadar Swersky says that a lonely aged person can lead a normal life and will no more feel lonely.