Research has indicated that loneliness and social isolation have been clearly linked to poor health outcomes. Unfortunately, isolation among seniors is common and will continue to increase as the population ages.
“Loneliness in seniors is a major risk factor for depression as well as linked to long-term illness,” said Abbie Tucker, a senior advocate and client services director, certified senior advisor (CSA), a qualified dementia care provider (QDCP) and co-owner of the local Senior Helpers office.
“Family members and close friends can help their loved ones stay healthy and avoid isolation by using some of the following tips,” said
Bob Tucker, a qualified dementia care provider (QDCP) and co-owner of the Senior Helpers office serving the north and northwest suburbs. This Senior Helpers location is the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) affiliate office for the entire Chicago area.
Encourage Volunteering - Volunteering is a rewarding activity, and seniors can gain social connections from this activity. Volunteering can take place at a senior center, working to raise money for a particular disease, helping children in reading programs or art programs at schools and many other activities.
Promote Hobbies -Some seniors like to knit. Others love painting or photography and hanging their pictures on the wall. Many people like playing cards or bingo or doing wood-working.
Give Seniors Something to Care About -Nurturing can relieve feelings of social isolation and result in less loneliness and better health.This is why many experts recommend a senior get a dog or other pet. When seniors have companionship, theyare motivated to get up in the morning.
Make Technology Available - Encourage your loved one to learn basic technology. AARP is helping bridge the technology gap with free TEK workshops across the country.Seniors who learn how to email, create a FaceBook page, learn Facetime and Skype can connect better with friends and relatives and won’t be as lonely.
Find a Group Activity Program - There are group exercise programs for seniors as well as dancing classes. They can also sign up for a chess class, current events class, religious class or be part of a group that visits seniors who can’t get out due to physical limitations.
Be on the lookout for problems -Keep in mind that seniors with walking, cognitive, incontinence, hearing, vision or other problems may avoid social situations because of the difficulty of getting around or communicating easily. Ensure they are receiving the medical attention they need to help keep them as well as possible. Then try to help them stay as physically and socially active as possible.
If you are concerned about the health of a senior loved one and would like more information about how to help your loved one from becoming socially isolated, please contact Bob Tucker at Senior Helpers at 847-564-7500 or email Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.