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Dealing with Loneliness in the Elderly.

Loneliness is something we can help elderly family and friends overcome.  Depending upon when you spot loneliness behavior in your elderly parent will determine how they react to your attempt to bring them into a more activities. They may well be in a depressive state if they are isolated and one of the symptoms of this is a lack of desire to socialize.  Consequently they may not be keen to make the effort, but you have to recognize the importance of breaking them out of this vicious circle. Here are some tips to help you and your elderly family members facing loneliness:

  • Phone Calls.  It sounds obvious, but in our own busy life it’s easy to neglect a very simple action.  A daily phone call if you live far away from your parent can make the world of difference.
  • Local Groups.  There are groups in most communities which he or she could join.  There might be day centers, lunch clubs, book groups, hobby clubs such as knitting or historical interest, or groups which provide outings for the elderly.
  • Pets.  If your parent is able to look after a pet this can provide a much-loved companion as well as a sense of responsibility which can help your parent feel more positive and in control.
  • Get involved. Work with local senior care businesses to develop “check-in” or weekly events/activities that your aging parents to participate in.
  • The Internet.  Getting your parent online can be a great way of beating isolation as well as providing excellent mental stimulation.  Find discussion boards relating to hobbies and passions and they’ll soon be interacting with other people who share their interests.
  • Letter writing (yes, we said letter writing).  Corresponding through a pen pal or in the name of worthy causes such as Amnesty International can break isolation and develop a sense of usefulness.
  • Adult Education.  You’re never too old to learn something new!  Not only does adult education provide intellectual activity, it also offers a great opportunity for social interaction.

Loneliness is something our aging parents and elderly community members can overcome. We can help them by simply talking to them and determining the best type of social interaction that best fits their needs. And remember, loneliness is when you are unhappy to be alone. Solitude is when you are happy to be alone. There is nothing wrong with solitude, wanting to, or enjoying being alone. Alone time can be useful and enjoyable.

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