Your elderly father passed away several months ago and your aging mother now lives alone in the house you grew up in. But lately mom always seems lonely and depressed, and she’s isolated herself from family members and friends. In fact, mom’s feelings of loneliness have reached the point that you’re now worried about her health and wellbeing. What should you do? There are several proven ways to help an elderly parent overcome feelings of loneliness and isolation, starting with these.
How Loneliness Affects Seniors
Studies have found that social isolation and loneliness may affect over 40% of at-home seniors. As a result, those negative emotions oftentimes cause these secondary health problems:
- An increased risk for falls
- Depression and even suicidal thoughts
- Poor eating habits and malnutrition
- Substance abuse
- Trouble sleeping or full-blown insomnia
- An increased risk for dementia
- A greater likelihood to be hospitalized
Researchers have even linked chronic loneliness to an increased mortality rate in the elderly population. When it comes to your mom, these issues are all reasons for concern.
Why Do Seniors Get Lonely?
Here are some risk factors for seniors to become socially withdrawn:
- Poor vision or hearing loss
- Loss of a spouse or other close relative
- Low self-esteem
- Not feeling needed anymore
- Declining health that leads to being homebound
In the case of your mom, her negative emotions started when dad passed away. Using her situation as an example, now it’s time to explore positive ways for seniors to not feel lonely.
Helping Mom Feel Happy Again
First, sit down with mom and gently explain your concerns about her unhealthy behavior. Mention that you fully understand why she feels that way, and that you’d like to help. Once she agrees, here are several ways to make her feel happy again:
Learn a New Hobby
Hobbies are a great way to connect with others, boost self-esteem and stay focused on positive things. Help your mom find a new hobby, like gardening, scrapbooking, or even traveling to exotic places.
Get a Pet
Taking care of a new pet benefits seniors in so many ways, including feeling needed, having a set routine and a reason to get up every morning. Walking a pet is also a great way to socialize and exercise. Depending on mom’s mobility, a dog, cat, bird or even some pet fish might be just what “the doctor ordered”.
Helping others by volunteering in the community does wonders for a senior’s self-worth. Volunteer opportunities for seniors are available at local hospitals, cancer centers, libraries, churches or the community playhouse.
Take a Class
It’s never too late to learn new things, so help mom enroll in a class at the local community college, senior center or online. She could learn to play a new musical instrument, golf, write creatively, or study another topic of interest. Keeping her mind sharp by taking a class might also prevent the onset of dementia.
Join a Gym
Exercise provides so many benefits to older adults, like boosting their immune system, improving balance and coordination, reducing stress and promoting a better night’s sleep. Taking a chair aerobics or Yoga class at the local gym will also help mom meet new people.
Use Social Media
Notably for homebound seniors, using social media to reconnect with old friends, or meet new ones, has been shown to promote a healthier outlook on life, sharpen their mind and stimulate newfound interests.
Hire a Companion Caregiver
You can also hire a companion caregiver from a licensed home care agency to keep mom company when you’re not able to. They can also help transport her to the activities listed above, use social media or care for a new pet.
Family Trusted Companion Care for At-Home Seniors
Helping an aging in place senior deal with feelings of loneliness can be challenging when you have your own busy schedule or live far away. When you need some assistance, contact First In Care. As a fully licensed and insured home care agency, our family trusted caregivers provide seniors with the companionship they deserve so they can continue aging comfortably in place right where they want to be.
While serving as an extended family in the home, our highly trained and carefully screened aides can perform other duties like light housekeeping, meals, personal hygiene, medication reminders and transportation. And, all our compassionate services can be individually combined in an affordable package to put your mind at ease! To schedule a FREE, in-home assessment for a senior in Manatee County, FL, today, please visit: www.firstincare.com now.