As they get older, many seniors lose touch with others. It’s often because their spouses, friends, and family members have died, and there aren’t many people left with whom they can interact. Isolation can have a negative impact on the elderly’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Many elderly people suffer from depression as a result of a loss of meaning in their lives. Things also get more difficult as you get older, which can contribute to depression. For these reasons, it is critical that you assist your loved one in finding ways to be more social on their terms. You can help your elderly relative improve their social life and health by understanding why socialisation is so important, introducing them to technology to stay connected, and encouraging them to participate in activities.
Method 1 Encouraging the Elderly to Stay Connected
1. Encourage them to participate in activities with other seniors. Your elderly loved one may enjoy socialising with people their own age. Spending time with peers of the same age ensures that your loved one has others who can relate to their unique experiences. Find out where seniors congregate in your area and make plans for your friend to participate in activities there.
You could look for events or organisations at your neighbourhood recreation centre. You could also look for Meetups specifically for seniors. Knitting groups, computer classes, bingo, and gardening clubs are all examples of enjoyable activities.
2. Assist your loved one in learning something new. Learning a new skill or activity can be a fun way for your loved one to meet new people. You can assist your loved one in learning a new skill by encouraging them to enrol in a class, such as pottery, painting, or woodworking. You could also teach them a new card game or even get their grandchildren (if they have any) involved in teaching them how to play a video game.
3. Inquire if your loved one would like to volunteer. Volunteering can be a great way for your loved one to connect with others while also giving them a sense of purpose. Consider your loved one’s interests and ask if they’d be interested in doing some volunteer work in that area.
For example, if your loved one is interested in animals, you could ask them to volunteer at a local animal shelter. Alternatively, if your loved one used to work in healthcare, you could ask them if they’d like to volunteer at a local hospital or for an organisation like Hospice.
4. Bring your loved one to religious events. If the senior in your life is religious or spiritual, take them to their places of worship to encourage them to continue their practise. It is critical for their mental health that they stay connected to what grounds them. It also gives you the opportunity to socialise.
Instead of dropping off a loved one, consider accompanying them to the service. This could help the two of you get closer.
5. Encourage them to join a medical condition support group. Talking about the difficulty with others can make your loved one feel better. After all, no one can truly understand what they’re going through unless they’re on the same journey. Your elderly loved one may be afraid to go; offering to accompany them may help to alleviate this fear.
There are support groups for a wide range of conditions, including dementia, arthritis, MS, cancer, depression, and grief. You will most likely be able to find a support group in your area that addresses the difficulties your loved one is facing. Request recommendations from your loved one’s doctor, religious leader, or social worker. Mental Health America also has a comprehensive list of resources that can assist you in finding a support group for your loved one: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/find-support-groups
6. Assist them in remaining physically active. Encourage social interaction that includes exercise as one of the most beneficial ways you can help your senior become more engaged. Physical activity can help the elderly avoid or postpone disease. Staying active also aids in stress relief and mood enhancement.
Suggest that your elderly loved one join a senior exercise group. You could also take the initiative to ensure your senior gets enough exercise by going for walks together.
7. Make it possible for the senior to eat with others. Eating a meal alone can be extremely depressing for many people. Instead of allowing your loved one to do so, take them to restaurants where they can eat with other people. Sharing a meal with their peers allows them to interact and gives them something to look forward to.
Bring your relative to church and senior centre dinners, and plan to share meals with neighbours, family, and friends.
8. Visit frequently. Most senior citizens can never have too much company. They enjoy telling stories about their childhood and other life events. Make an effort to visit your elderly loved one on a regular basis and engage them in conversation. If they are unable to get out much, you could also bring along fun activities such as colouring books or host events at their homes.
To start the conversation, ask your loved one, “What kinds of things did you do when you were younger?” They might even give you some ideas for fun activities they’d like to do on future visits.
Method 2 Using Technology to Stay in Touch
1. Call the senior on a regular basis to interact. Although nothing beats face-to-face interaction, talking on the phone with an elderly loved one on a regular basis can help prevent feelings of isolation and depression. Seniors are often at ease using the telephone as a mode of communication because they have most likely used it on a regular basis throughout their lives.
You may have to do the majority of the calling, but making the effort and staying in touch can have significant benefits for the senior.
Look into phone options for the hearing impaired, such as amplified speakers, if your elderly loved one has trouble hearing. Additionally, phones with larger buttons and screens can benefit those with vision issues. Headphones are also useful because your loved one can wear them and turn up the volume as much as they need to.
2. Use their technological knowledge to your advantage. Most elderly people will be familiar with technological devices such as computers or smart phones. If your elderly loved one is having difficulty using these devices, you can teach them how to use them.
Classes on computer and internet use may be available at your local library or senior centre. Taking your loved one to these sessions not only teaches them how to stay connected, but also allows them to interact with other seniors.
3. Use cell phones to keep the senior connected. Cell phones allow users to communicate in a variety of ways, including talking and texting. Seniors can also carry the phone with them, which can be useful if they become injured and require assistance. Having a piece of technology and understanding how to use it can help them feel empowered and boost their self-esteem. The ability to talk and text whenever and wherever they want makes it simple to stay in touch.
Look for cell phones marketed specifically to seniors. These phones have a variety of special features, such as GPS technology that is linked to 911 calls, which can assist emergency personnel in locating the senior in need.
Furthermore, senior cell phones can provide 24-hour access to nurses and doctors, as well as medical alert features, heart monitors, and a speaking keyboard.
4. Show them how to use the internet. The internet is an easy way for seniors to communicate with their friends and family. They can communicate with friends and family through chat rooms and email. Access to the internet can also help them avoid boredom by allowing them to play games, which can help them avoid depression.
Introduce your loved one to alternatives to in-person socialisation with caution. This may lead to increased isolation, and communicating online is not a sufficient substitute for face-to-face communication. Assure that they receive a mix of in-person and online communication.
5. Make time for regular video calls. The internet and smart devices provide a variety of options for seniors to stay connected. If your elderly loved one owns a computer with a webcam, a smartphone, or a tablet, they can see and talk to friends and family as often as they want.
Try out some of the most popular free services, such as Skype or Google Hangouts.
6. Assist them in creating social media profiles. Social networks offer a plethora of intriguing ways to connect with people from all over the world. Your elderly loved one may enjoy catching up with old school friends or following the lives of distant family members.
Spend an afternoon assisting your elderly friend in creating social media profiles by uploading appropriate photos, locating friends or followers, and updating their status. Make certain that your elderly loved one is aware of proper etiquette and best practises for each platform.
Method 3 Understanding Why Socialization is Important
1. Understand that prolonged isolation can result in depression. The elderly are especially vulnerable to depression as a result of isolation. These intense feelings of sadness can contribute to physical, emotional, and mental health deterioration. Many seniors become suicidal as a result of their depression.
An increase or decrease in appetite, fatigue or loss of energy, changes in the amount of sleep, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, and an inability to concentrate or make decisions are all symptoms of depression in the elderly.
2. Recognize that socialisation can have an impact on both physical and mental health. Spending time with others can not only improve your mood, but it can also improve your health. Seniors who participate in social activities on a daily basis have a lower risk of developing memory-loss symptoms. Furthermore, seeing and talking to others on a regular basis can help to reduce stress and anxiety, which can lead to better physical health.
A healthy amount of social activity, for example, can lower a person’s blood pressure, lower the risk of cardiovascular problems, and prevent certain types of arthritis. This is most likely because social people are more likely to stay active and eat a healthy diet.
One study also found that increased social time was associated with better health, while decreased social time was associated with worse health and mental decline. Increasing your loved one’s social opportunities, as well as doing something as simple as getting them a pet, may improve their mental and physical health.
3. Understand that isolation jeopardises the elderly’s ability to receive medical care. When a senior does not spend much time with others, they are more likely to have undiagnosed medical conditions.
For example, if they don’t talk to many people, they may be unaware that their hearing is deteriorating. Furthermore, not being able to hear or see well may make them apprehensive about leaving the house, which may prevent them from visiting their doctor on a regular basis.
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