Helping Your Aging Parents Beat Loneliness
If your parents are getting older now, you need to be alert to the very real possibility that they might start to feel lonely and isolated, especially if they are single or they lose their spouse.
Loneliness and isolation are at epidemic proportions amongst seniors, and it doesn’t seem like things will get any better any time soon. As their child, you will, of course, want to do all you can to ensure that your parents are as happy as possible, so here are some things you can do to help them keep the loneliness at bay:
Keep in Regular Contact
If you live near your parents, pop in at least a couple of times a week. If you’re busy, you needn’t stay too long, but spend enough time with them that they feel loved and make sure you listen to them and that you always have some conversation starters to keep things moving along if there’s a lull in the conversation.
If you live too far away to visit, then call them for a little while each day (you should do this even if you live close by and you visit, too) to check in, ask about their day and let them know how the rest of your family is doing. You could even teach them how to use Skype, so they can see you when you chat.
Suggest a Retirement Community
I know most seniors prefer to stay in their own homes, rather than moving to a retirement home, but independent living at Christwood.com, for example, is a different prospect completely. Your parents will have their own home and be free to come and go as they please, but they will also be surrounded by a community of their peers, so they can make new friends and keep busy with various group activities, and there will be nurses and healthcare professional standing by to ensure that their healthcare needs are met. It really is a great option for elderly people who are at risk of becoming isolated.
Arrange Days/Nights Out
Seniors are often reticent to do things on their own, either because they simply don’t like to go out alone or because they’re unable to manage unassisted. If you can arrange some days and nights out to events they love, like a visit to the bowling alley or a night at the opera, they’ll feel loved and cared for, and they’ll get out and about where they can meet new people and brush up on their social skills.
Hire a Carer
If you’re too far away to call in on your parents regularly, hiring a geriatric care specialist to visit them, check their okay and help them out with any tasks they’re struggling with will not only give you peace of mind, but it’ll also ensure that they have someone to talk with on a regular basis. This is particularly useful for helping housebound parents beat loneliness.
Have you helped your elderly parents overcome loneliness? How did you do it?