As people age, many start worrying about living alone. What will it be like? Who’ll help if I become ill? What if I feel lonely and isolated? Seniors, especially, worry about maintaining social connections when friends and family pass on or if mobility is lost.
Seniors need social interactions and people in their lives who care. Loneliness and isolation can lead to depression, which is associated with health problems such as diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke, and dementia. Fighting back against loneliness and isolation takes planning and effort.
Consider the following strategies:
Reach out to family & friends
Even if it’s a phone call or computer video calls, virtual connections are still connections. Even a quick text or seeing someone’s face on a screen can improve your well-being. Make contacting someone a regular part of your day, like taking medicine or exercising.
Join a club
Whatever interests you enjoy, such as books, music, card games, cars, or a spiritual community, can offer new ways to interact with others and maybe make new friends. You can also volunteer at a nonprofit organization you support. When you’re alone, you focus too much on yourself and dwell on regrets or worries. When you’re with other people, you turn your focus outward.
Facebook is a great place to chat, keep up with friends’ activities and even play games with others. Some websites offer forums and chat rooms that encourage users to interact with others. Online friendships can supplement real-life relationships.
Get a pet
If you are physically and mentally able to care for it, pets make wonderful companions. They provide many emotional and physical benefits to ward off loneliness.
Sign up for volunteer visits
Local senior centers and Meals on Wheels have visitor programs. These simple interactions and conversations with people will stimulate your brain and make you feel better. They will also give you something to look forward to.
If you can no longer drive, take advantage of driver services through a retirement center or a government-sponsored affordable ride program, so you can get out of your house. The U.S. Administration on Aging can refer you to transportation opportunities in your area. For more information, call 800-677-1116 or go to eldercare.acl.gov.
Helping you through the process
If your parent or loved one needs more help than you can provide, contact Oasis Senior Advisors for assistance. We offer resources for seniors and their families, as well as support and guidance every step of the way, so you can feel confident in your senior housing selection. Deciding to make the move to a long-term care community is an emotional, financial, and physically taxing process, but you don’t have to do it alone.