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Solutions for Lonely Elderly: Addressing Senior Isolation

As we age, we often become wiser, and with that wisdom comes the recognition that time spent with friends and family is invaluable. However, making time for socializing can be challenging for seniors, especially if they’re dealing with physical limitations that affect mobility. This can lead to senior loneliness, which can have not only mental health implications, but also physical health concerns as well. It can also put pressure on you, their closest family member, to provide companionship. While your loved one undoubtedly benefits from spending time with you, if you have a lonely elderly family member, there are ways to keep them happy and social without having to be their sole outlet. 

Who is At-Risk of Being Lonely Elderly? 

According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM), one-third of adults aged 45 and older feel lonely. At age 65 and older, a quarter of adults are considered socially isolated – they have a limited sense of belonging in the community and minimal social contact. From losing friends to hearing loss, older adults are more likely to lose this social contact. 

Loneliness can have major effects on someone’s mental health, which in turn can affect them physically. The National Institute on Aging (NIH) reports that social isolation can lead to higher risks of heart disease, obesity, anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and an overall weakened immune system. Many families turn to senior care to help provide for their senior family members to combat this rising loneliness in older adults. 

Why Companionship Is Essential for Seniors  

For many families, figuring out how to help lonely parents requires significant time not only in the care itself, but also in navigating the logistics of a changing situation. The best way to combat loneliness is to ensure someone is there to routinely visit and check on older adults, especially if they live alone. There are many benefits to companionship, including preventing all of the health risks listed above. Having people to rely on and talk to leads to overall happiness and a better quality of life. Companionship creates positive relationships and can make the later years of someone’s life some of their best. 

How to Help Lonely Elderly Family Members 

Supporting elderly family members requires both practical assistance and emotional understanding. Companionship and listening attentively to their stories and concerns is the best way to prevent loneliness and encourage comfort. Here are a few ways you can help your family member feel supported: 

  • Assist them in finding a community beyond the home. As we age, we may overlook the interests and hobbies we once cherished. Whether it’s a senior choir group or a bird-watching club, help your family member discover a new community of like-minded people. 
  • Find a hobby that you both enjoy and seek it out together. For instance, if you both love reading, head to the library or bookstore together to grab some new books.  
  • Ask other family and friends to visit. The larger a social network is for a senior, the better for their mental health. Not only will they stay engaged, but they’ll appreciate the love and support immensely.  
  • Plan activities outside the house. While socializing inside is great, many older adults often struggle with mobility and getting out of the house. Go for a walk, stop by a coffee shop, or enjoy local live music! 
  • Meal prep together. If your loved one struggles to cook, why not make a day out of it? Help cook delicious meals that will set them up for the week to come. 

Seek Companion Care Assistance 

Not everyone lives close to their elderly relatives to care for them or they don’t have the capabilities to make frequent enough visits to check in and visit. FirstLight Home Care provides companion care services for seniors looking for companionship.  

Here’s what our caregivers can assist with:  

  • Provide non-medical support, such as helping to prepare meals, with mobility, medication reminders, bathing, dressing and more. 
  • A friendly face to talk to and build a positive relationship with.  
  • Help elders maintain relationships with their current contacts, assisting with phone calls and visits while still maintaining their independence. 
  • Provide transportation to take older adults on activities, from a trip to the botanical garden to a doctor’s appointment. 

Our companion care services can enrich the lives of lonely elderly family members, allowing them to maintain their existing routines and get more social. We have many different FirstLight Home Care locations ready to help you and your family. Reach out to your local office, and they can help you find a caregiver to provide companionship and support for your elderly loved ones.

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