Older adults undergo many changes that impact them emotionally as they grow into a new stage of life. While many of these changes bring about wonderful things, it is important to be aware of the negative implications as well and how they impact your loved one’s comfort and quality of life.
Whatever the situation, the aging senior in your care may be facing incredible challenges as they navigate the winter of their lives. In fact, the HRSA reports that a staggering 43% of seniors experience loneliness. Not only does this impact their emotional and mental wellbeing, but the CDC states that loneliness bears significant health risks such as increased chances of dementia, anxiety, premature death, and heart disease. The team at Senior Helpers knows that in order to provide consistent senior care to the North Shore, Merrimack Valley, Burlington, and beyond, it is crucial to offer emotional support.
Here are some ways in which you can positively assist seniors with loneliness:
"Thinking of You"
One simple way to show a senior close to you that you care is to give gifts. This does not need to be something elaborate or expensive—a bouquet or home baked sweets can be enough to brighten someone's day and to remind them that you are thinking of them. A well-thought-out gift may help him or her to feel less alone.
"You're Not Alone"
An effective way of supporting a senior is to speak to him or her face-to-face. Too often, people can become tied up with busy schedules, and the elderly can suffer social isolation from infrequent visits. Take time to fit in a visit once or twice a week if possible. If you cannot spend a full hour, even a shorter visit could lift grandma's spirits. In circumstances where physical visits may not be possible or present health risks, then phone calls are a thoughtful alternative. A compassionate caregiver may need to assist if your senior is hard of hearing, but simply reaching out shows that you have not forgotten.
A Comforting Word
There is more than one way to reach out. There are those who very much would appreciate a heartfelt letter. Some seniors are skilled with the computer and enjoy emails whereas others might prefer a handwritten note. Grandchildren can get involved by being pen pals to grandpa, who will certainly cherish the time spent and personalization. Written exchanges between long-distance friends can also help to keep connections alive.
Sometimes extra support is needed when providing live in-home care. Talk to your senior aged loved one. If he or she feels that a neutral third party would be beneficial, suggest they speak with a counselor or a trusted spiritual advisor. Do not force the matter upon them, but if you sense they may need more than you can provide then gently put the topic before them. If they do decide that this is a viable option, then counseling can provide the tools for managing their changing environment. If anything, it could provide another listening ear which may be all they need.
There are many other ways to emotionally support seniors with loneliness, but the important thing is to do it with compassion and sincerity. We’re here to help. If you would like to learn more about our consistent senior care in Merrimack Valley, Burlington, and the surrounding areas, please contact us.