Senior Emotional Health: Preventing Loneliness

How Loneliness Affects Seniors and Ways to Help

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As a leading provider of Grand Rapids senior care, Home Care Assistance wants to address a common, but often forgotten, issue affecting senior health: Loneliness. New statistics reveal that as many as 43 percent of American seniors live in social isolation. What’s more, research is piling up that shows the detrimental effects of loneliness in older people. Loneliness doesn’t just increase the risk of psychological problems like depression, it has also been associated with higher risks of all-cause mortality, physical injuries, and dementia. If you worry that your senior loved one is suffering from loneliness, here are some things you can do.

Encourage Social Hobbies
If your loved one has a hobby, encourage them to do it socially. This can include things like playing bridge, joining a knitting circle, or taking part in a book club. Most local senior centers provide ongoing activities at low or no cost, or he or she could take a class at the community college as well.

Provide Transportation
Many seniors are no longer able to drive safely, so their isolation can result from an inability to go places outside the house. You can help bridge this gap by offering to provide transportation to and from activities, appointments or other outings. If you are unable to do so, find a Grand Rapids hourly caregiver who can provide assistance on an as-needed basis.

Give Elderly Something to Care for
One of the best ways to help a senior avoid loneliness is to get them a pet or houseplant that is easily cared for. In one study, it was discovered that seniors who had a plant to care for were in better physical and mental health, and felt less helpless.

Make Time for Visits
Try to visit your loved one several times per week if possible. For many older people, these visits are the only social interaction they have throughout the week. If you live too far to accommodate multiple visits, consider a Grand Rapids live-in caregiver who can provide constant companionship for your loved one.

Make Meals a Group Affair
Eating is historically a social activity. Consider reserving certain days for having lunch or dinner with your loved one. This gives them something to look forward to and serves as a wonderful opportunity to socialize. If possible, get the whole family involved in the meals.

For more information on how loneliness can affect seniors and ways to help your senior loved one stay social, reach out the Home Care Assistance of Grand Rapids. Our expert caregivers are available 24/7, compassionate, and trained in the Balanced Care Method, which focuses on physical and mental activity and maintaining a sense of purpose. Give us a call today at (616) 243-0835 to speak with a friendly Care Manager today.