Most self-sufficient seniors like to stay busy, active and socially engaged. In fact, numerous studies have found that the more socially engaged an elderly person is, the more likely they are to enjoy a higher quality of life. But when a life-changing event like the COVID-19 pandemic comes along, the resulting social distancing orders and travel bans can put a real damper on your senior’s social calendar. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to ensure that your loved one gets the social interaction they so desperately need.
How Socializing Benefits Seniors
Older adults who don’t regularly socialize are typically less happy and healthy than those who do. In fact, recent studies have found that seniors who stay socially active have a lower risk for developing these health problems:
- Loneliness and depression
- Low self-esteem
- Being overweight
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
Research also indicates that seniors who stay socially engaged typically enjoy more independent lifestyles well into their 70s and 80s.
Helping Your Senior Stay Connected
Helping an elderly loved one stay socially active during the coronavirus lockdowns can be challenging. Here are several ways to keep your senior engaged and entertained:
Help your senior get set up on a video chat platform like Skype, Facetime or Google Hangouts and then use it to stay in touch with them. Also show them how to use a phone app like Marco Polo to communicate with their grandkids. Being able to see and hear loved ones at the same time is a great morale-booster. If they are a person of faith, their place of worship probably offers virtual services right now to keep them connected with fellow members.
Hobbies and crafts are good for an aging adult’s mental acuity and emotional wellbeing, so show your senior how to explore some new ones by using YouTube and other websites. If they’ve always wanted to learn how to draw or paint, a good online learning platform for aspiring artists is Skillshare. If your loved one already has some hobbies, show them how to join member groups on Facebook so they can chat with others who share their interests.
Call Them on the Phone
One of the easiest ways to keep the lines of communication open and catch up on the day’s events is simply by calling your senior on the phone. If nothing else, a quick phone conversation will restore your peace of mind and give you a chance to find out if they need anything- like groceries or medications. If your loved one is hard of hearing, try to find them some good hearing aids or use test messaging to stay in touch.
Get Them a Pet
House pets like dogs and cats provide many health benefits to aging adults, including regular exercise companionship, a renewed sense of purpose and the chance to meet new people. If your loved one is otherwise healthy enough to care for a pet, be sure to choose one with the right temperament.
While sheltering in place you can still locate a loveable pet through an online pet adoption service. Be sure to discuss with your senior the importance of wearing protective gear like a cloth face covering when taking their new “furry friend” out in public.
Hire an In-Home Companion
When you’re short on time you can also hire your senior an in-home companion from a licensed home care agency. A companionship caregiver will be able to keep them socially engaged and active when you’re not able to be there.
We Love Keeping Seniors Active & Socially Engaged!
Keeping an elderly loved one socially engaged while you’re both sheltering in place is no easy task. When you need assistance contact First In Care. Once you do, we’ll be happy to send one of our highly trained companionship caregivers to your loved one’s home so they can continue aging comfortably in place right where they want to be. As a fully licensed and insured home care agency, our compassionate caregivers will serve as an extended family in your senior’s home while restoring your peace of mind.
In addition to companionship, our carefully screened aides can also perform duties like light housework, personal hygiene, meals, medication reminders and transportation. And, all our family trusted services can be individually combined into an affordable package when and where you need them! To learn more about First In Care now, or to schedule a FREE in-home consultation for a senior in Manatee County, FL, today, please visit us at: www.firstincare.com.