If you have elderly relatives, it’s only natural that you will want to be there for them as much as you can in their senior years. With many of us leading busier lives than ever, you may not have the time to be constantly by their side. However, if you have noticed a change in their behavior and find they’re becoming more withdrawn, you’ll want to do all you can to help.
Loneliness and social isolation in seniors have been linked to many serious health problems, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, depression and anxiety, obesity, and general cognitive decline. Unfortunately, many seniors end up feeling isolated as their health declines. In today’s modern society, it’s common for families to live many miles apart, so many older people don’t see anyone from one day to the next. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are many ways to encourage older people to have a more active social life.
Here are a few of them.
1. Increase Your Time with Them
If you’re able to, spending more time with your elderly loved ones can help them be more social. Frequent short visits are much better than infrequent long visits, and keeping in regular contact can help boost their communication skills. For those who don’t live nearby, make sure that you regularly phone your elderly loved ones to keep updated on how they’re doing and whether there are any causes for concern.
2. Embrace Technology
Try and encourage your elderly relative to embrace the wonders of technology. Simple devices like tablets are a wonderful resource. They are easy to use, and you can chat with your relative on Face-time or Skype at any time of the day or night. They’ll love talking to the grand kids and if they need help with something, you can talk them through it quickly and easily.
Technology can’t replace actual visits, but if you live a long way away or even overseas, it’s the next best thing.
3. Encourage Outdoor Activities
There are numerous benefits that the elderly can gain from getting outdoors and being in the fresh air. Whether it’s going for a stroll around the neighborhood, a trip to the grocery store, or an afternoon at the movies, there are tons of outdoor activities that can boost your elderly loved one’s mindset. If your senior family members are reluctant to go outside, being with them as they take the first step can be a big help. Having someone they know and love by their side can boost their confidence and self-esteem and encourage them to go out alone when you’re not there.
If your elderly relative has mobility issues, Afikim mobility scooters are very comfortable and will help your loved one get around with ease.
4. Suggest Volunteering
Once your loved one has retired, they may still have a lot of love and care to give to the world, which is why you should suggest that they volunteer. If your elderly relative is passionate about a particular cause, they will have more time to dedicate towards helping others and their local community. Whether it’s with their local church, library, or theater, volunteering can be a great way for your elderly loved ones to connect with others and boost their social life.
Even simple activities like reading to younger children at a local school can have a wonderfully beneficial impact on an elderly person’s life. Children really benefit from interacting with older people, as they have more patience. In turn, older people can benefit from spending time with happy, active children.
Also read our blog on: [highlight color=”yellow”]5 Important Ways Elderly Can Live a Healthy Lifestyle[/highlight]
5. Encourage Family to Visit
If you don’t live nearby to your elderly family members and are worried about them being isolated at home, express your concerns to other family members and ensure that they visit them as much as they can. Many seniors struggle with their mobility and find it hard to go outdoors, so encouraging your loved ones or friendly neighbors to pop in and see them can make a huge difference to their health and well-being.
Develop Their Hobbies and Interests
It’s likely that your elderly relative will have lots of hobbies and interests that they would like to pursue once they enter their senior years. Sitting down with them and discussing the things they enjoy can help you find local groups and clubs that they can join. Your loved one may be reluctant to attend the first session alone, so going with them for moral support can be a big help. It’s important that your elderly relative finds something they thoroughly enjoy doing. Otherwise, they’re not likely to stick to it, so try not to push them into doing a hobby they don’t feel comfortable with.
Check out what’s on at your local library, as these are often hubs for activity groups and adult learning. Classes such as ‘Internet for Beginners’, life drawing, and languages are fun for older people and are usually held during the day, which is perfect for seniors.
History groups are also interesting for older people who have lived in the community for many years. They often have many great stories and snippets of history to pass on, so encourage your elderly relative to give something back to the local community and make new friends at the same time!
Don’t forget about exercise classes. Walking groups, yoga, and Pilates are great for older people. Classes such as pilates is an excellent way to improve mobility, flexibility, strength, and range of motion. There is a strong social element to these classes, and if an older person is reasonably active, such classes can be a good incentive to get out and about.
Social Networking for Seniors
Encourage your elderly relative to join social networking sites for seniors, such as Meetup or SilverSurfers. Do be careful to monitor their activities if they are new to the online world.
As your loved ones enter their senior years, it’s vital that they have an active social life. Staying social can reduce their risk of developing depression, boost cognitive function, and improve their physical fitness. All the strategies above are great ways to encourage the elderly to be more social and active.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s).
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