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Preventing Isolation and Encouraging Socialization with Your Senior Loved Ones

Asian elderly woman virtual happy hour meeting and talking online together with her daughter in video conference with tablet for a online meeting in video call for social distancing.

As senior citizens grow older, they are at a significantly increased risk of social isolation. The death of a spouse can be a major contributing factor. So can physical distance from children who are busy with careers and children of their own. But socialization is an important part of consistent senior care. Without a regular home caregiver involved, loneliness can have a cumulative and debilitating effect.

Today we're going to look at the dangers of social isolation and discuss some ways to keep your senior loved one happy, healthy, and engaged with their community.  

What is Social Isolation?

We are all socially-driven creatures by nature. Sometimes death, physical distance, and medical issues prevent senior citizens from engaging in the world. This is called "social isolation." But in order for your loved one to successfully age in place in the comfort of their home, a certain amount of socialization is necessary.

The Risks of Isolation

Social isolation isn't just a matter of being lonely. A senior who is isolated and without round-the-clock care or senior companionship runs the risk of developing a number of major medical issues including:

●     Depression

●     Poor nutrition

●     Increased risk of dementia

●     Increased fall risk

●     Lack of hygiene

●     New and emerging medical diagnoses

Ways to Counteract Isolation

Even if you live far away and are unable to be a direct, live-in home caregiver, there are a number of ways that you can help your loved one avoid falling into social isolation.

1. Provide a Mode of Transportation

It helps to encourage your loved one to get out of the house. Search for senior-focused transportation methods in their town or county, giving them a way to get around if they are no longer able to drive themselves. 

2. Look for Support Groups and Social Clubs

Encourage your loved one to join support groups, religious organizations, or social clubs that focus on their hobbies and interests. Local senior centers are a great place to start for in-person interaction, with many resources and online groups available as well.

3. Pet Ownership

Caring for another life provides a sense of purpose. That's why home caregivers do what they do. If your loved one is up to the task, help them obtain a pet to take care of. It can be as simple as a fish or as complex as a dog. No matter the scope, pets are a great way to provide senior companionship.

4. Lean on Technology

If face-to-face interaction isn't an option, encourage your loved one to embrace technology. There are a number of inexpensive tablets and laptops that can be used to video chat with one another. Home caregivers can help their loved one use free services like Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Skype for a quick dose of much-needed interaction. If your loved one is particularly technological, encourage them to go a step further and use that technology to enroll in an online course.

Keep Them Safe With In-home Care Services

At Senior Helpers, we understand that you aren't always able to provide live-in home care for your loved one. That's why we offer in-home care services designed to provide your loved one with consistent senior care and companionship. Senior Helpers is proud to serve the needs of elders in the Greenwood, Columbus, Franklin, Martinsville, and Shelbyville areas of Indianapolis. Please contact us today to find out how we can help your loved one age happily in place.