Feelings of isolation and loneliness are very common in seniors, particularly those that live alone. These can have a serious impact on an individual’s mental health and lead them to shut themselves off, so it is absolutely vital that steps are taken to avoid them occurring. Whether you have recently retired and you want to avoid feeling isolated or you have an aging parent who you are worried about, there are lots of effective ways to help avoid feelings of isolation and loneliness and many of these could help in more ways than one. Read on to find out a few of the best solutions.
Socialize regularly with family
The most obvious tip is for seniors to socialize regularly with family. Ideally, this will be something that gets them out of the home and an enjoyable activity that encourages them to be out in society. Additionally, if the individual is struggling with their mental health then it is a good idea to talk this through as a family.
Of course, it is not always possible to spend time with family whether they are busy or if they live far away. While it is not the same as face-to-face contact, regular phone calls and text messages can be a good way to stay connected to seniors. If you have a family text group, for example, then including them in this is a good idea so that they can feel in the loop.
Use the Internet
Following on from this, it is also helpful if seniors know how to use technology and the Internet properly. While this does not provide the same benefits as in-person contact, it can help them to feel connected to the world and they could even find local groups that would allow them to meet up in person. Platforms like social media can be excellent for seniors along with video calling software so that they can socialize without the need to leave the house.
Groups, classes and societies
Leading on from this, there are sure to be local groups, classes and societies that they can join – this is one of the best ways for them to feel engaged and part of society. Book clubs, exercise classes and community groups are perfect for encouraging a senior to get out of the house, meet likeminded people and engage with society.
Join a gym
Similarly, joining a gym is smart for a few reasons. You obviously have the fitness benefits in that you have all of the equipment that you need to stay in shape, but there can also be a social side to the gym that any senior will benefit from. If you are going to the gym at roughly the same time throughout the week, you will begin to get to know people and you can quickly strike up positive relationships in environments like this (although keep in mind that not everyone will want to chat).
Assisted living facilities
Those that struggle with their daily routine and/or have health-related issues should seriously consider moving into assisted living facilities. These places ensure that you are always able to get the care and support that you need while still providing independence, plus you will become part of a community that will certainly help you to avoid feelings of loneliness. Many seniors find that San Diego assisted living facilities can provide a new lease of life because many will have fun activities that enable them to be active and socialize each day while still enjoying a high degree of independence.
Get a dog
Dogs are man’s best friend and can be a great companion if a senior is able to look after it. In addition to companionship, you will also find that a dog can be a great way to be more social as you are sure to meet fellow dog walkers while out and you may have people strike up a conversation with you. Additionally, there is sure to be a dog walking group in the local area, which can be a nice way to get outside, exercise and spend time with fellow animal lovers.
Many seniors find that volunteering helps to give them a sense of purpose along with the social benefits, so this should certainly be considered, especially if they get bored and frustrated simply sitting around the house all day. Organizations are always on the lookout for volunteers and it should not be too challenging to find one that the person feels passionate about and enables them to make a positive difference to the world.
Speak with neighbors
Having positive relationships with neighbors is important because even just a quick catchup in the street can make a world of difference to the mental health of a senior. Not only this, but it is helpful if a senior has a positive relationship with their neighbors so that the neighbor can keep an eye on them and notify their family/emergency services if anything were to happen, such as a fall or if they are worried about their behavior.
Make sure transport is available
It is sometimes overlooked, but it is very easy for a senior to become isolated if they do not have easy access to transport. They may not be able to drive, in which case they may need to use public transport or be able to use a taxi or ride-sharing service if they are unable to get a lift. For those with mobility issues, aids like a mobility scooter can make a huge difference and allow them to get out and about with ease.
It is very easy for seniors to feel isolated and lonely, which can be a huge problem. The above are a few of the best ways that a senior can avoid feeling isolated and could allow them to lead a happy, social and active life, but it is also important that people look out for seniors and that they know who to contact if somebody is suffering from poor mental health and/or independence.