Social isolation is relatively common among older adults, and it can impact several facets of their health. Loneliness and isolation can increase a senior’s risk of diabetes, cognitive decline, depression, heart disease, and a myriad of other health issues. Here are five tips families can use to help their senior loved ones prevent isolation.
1. Use Modern Technology
A computer with a camera gives your loved one the ability to connect with friends and family members all around the world. Video chats are much less taxing on seniors than heading out of the home, and they can call people on their own schedule without worrying about getting ready. Programs such as Skype and Viber are completely free to use with an internet connection.
Staying in touch with family members through modern technology is one of the many ways to prevent isolation. Professional caregivers offer companionship and regular mental stimulation that can also help seniors keep isolation at bay. For families living in Anchorage, Alaska, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.
2. Provide Transportation
A lack of transportation is one of the most common reasons seniors become isolated. Once they are no longer able to drive, catching up with old friends and family members becomes difficult. If transportation is a concern, contact local senior centers and nonprofit organizations to see if they offer free rides to the elderly. You can also hire an in-home caregiver to provide transportation to your loved one.
3. Try Pet Therapy
If your loved one adopts a pet, he or she might be motivated to get ready in the morning and step out of the house. Having a pet will give your loved one something to talk about when meeting up with old friends. Older dogs and cats are great options for seniors who don’t have the energy to play with younger animals that need more attention.
4. Treat Incontinence
According to the CDC, around half of all seniors experience incontinence, and many feel the need to isolate themselves because of this issue. There are now quite a few treatments for incontinence, including exercises, medical procedures, and medications. Next time you meet with your loved one’s doctor, discuss what treatment options are available.
Consider hiring a professional caregiver if your loved one needs help managing incontinence or performing daily tasks. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in home care, Anchorage Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.
5. Encourage Volunteering
Even seniors who have difficulty getting around can still donate their time to a good cause. Many organizations around the world connect older adults with children who are having difficulty reading. The children read over the phone or through a video chat program as the seniors follow along and encourage them. Seniors can also staff phone banks, knit warm clothes, or use their home as a collection point for donations.
6. Reignite Old Interests
Pursuing hobbies can give seniors a sense of purpose, which reduces the risk of social isolation. Hobbies that challenge cognitive abilities also lower the risk of depression, dementia, and other serious health disorders. You might be able to reignite your loved one’s passion by taking him or her to weekly classes or streaming videos of his or her favorite hobbies.
7. Schedule Weekly Family Meals
Strict daily and weekly routines give seniors a sense of security, which is why you should try to plan social events a few weeks in advance. Suddenly showing up at your loved one’s house for a meal or short visit might startle or annoy him or her. Scheduling a family meal at the same time every week can mentally prepare your loved one for the situation so he or she can enjoy your company.
Social isolation can lead to a variety of health issues such as depression, anxiety, and dementia. Seniors who feel isolated or live with serious physical or cognitive health issues can benefit from professional in-home care. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated home care company. Anchorage Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services. To learn about our premier home care plans, give us a call at (907) 770-0907 today.