Have you seen how social isolation can significantly impact health, well-being, and quality of life for seniors? Isolation may be one of the most common issues that seniors face. Even before COVID-19, social isolation among seniors was common. Let us discuss seven ways to help seniors avoid social isolation.
1. Incorporate Technology. Thanks to video conferencing technology, it may be easier than ever to connect with people. Taking the time to teach your loved one how to use video calling, Zoom, Facetime, social media, and chats can make it easier to connect more often.
2. Eat a Meal Together. When it may be safe to be together, enjoy a meal together. Until then, try a video call dinner, or have a picnic outside the window of your loved one.
3. Hearing and Vision Care. Seniors with hearing or vision impairments can experience additional isolation because they cannot hear the conversation or see what is going on, even when they are surrounded by friends. Glasses, hearing aids, and other devices can help seniors stay engaged, which can help them maintain meaningful relationships.
4. Address Issues of Incontinence. When incontinence is appropriately addressed by medical professionals, they can feel more comfortable leaving home without the fear of embarrassment.
5. Join the Club. Many clubs are social by nature, and many senior centers have successfully transferred club activities to online formats. Whether it is a knitting circle, book club, community college class, game night, or hiking group, seniors who remain active in their hobbies and clubs have something to look forward to each week. Seniors can also volunteer with many organizations. This type of involvement can help them feel fulfilled while also providing social interaction. Similarly, if your seniors have been regular church-goers, encourage them to continue to attend and to build relationships with their spiritual community. Maintaining connections to meaningful activities and community is beneficial.
6. Adopt a Pet or a Plant. Taking care of a pet or a plant can give anyone a new sense of purpose. Caring for and helping something grow not only reduces isolation and depression, but it helps seniors feel more secure and helps them engage more socially.
7. Make Transportation Available. Many seniors do not drive, and this can become a primary cause of isolation. Helping them to safely use public transportation, find safe walking routes, or find other transportation options, can greatly decrease feelings of loneliness.
To learn more about how to help the senior loved ones in your life, our office is happy to assist in providing trusted legal counsel on elder law issues, as well as direct you to resources for seniors. Please reach out to our office today to schedule an appointment.