Loneliness and Isolation Can Affect Senior Health
For seniors, maintaining social connections and staying in touch with loved ones not only improves quality of life, it improves health. Socially isolated seniors have a 59% greater risk of mental and physical decline than those who do not experience social isolation, and socialization has been shown to slow Alzheimer’s and Dementia patient’s decline. So, how can seniors foster connection and reduce loneliness during these times?
Social Media – Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites can help seniors stay connected to friends and family across the country. And, many social media platforms have built in chat functions, games and other features that foster connection.
Togetherness Activities – For older adults, planning activities reduces lack of contact. This can be through video chat and phone calls. Virtual or in-person activities can include good conversation, cooking and eating together, reading together, playing games, scrapbooking, or listening to music. And, studies show that planning and looking forward to an event can have mental health benefits too!
Online Interaction – Seniors may enjoy virtual meetups, online worship services, Facebook trivia night, virtual communities focused on hobbies, and other online activities can help people connect to others in their community without leaving home. For those that are able to go out, sharing hobbies and activities with others can bring joy and connection.
Virtual Volunteers – For seniors looking for a sense of purpose, there are opportunities to volunteer to help others from the comfort of home. This can include building baskets for children’s charities, sewing quilts for shelters, writing cards for military service members oversees and other activities that allow people to do good works in their free time.
Isolation and loneliness can be signs that a senior lacks the support and tools needed to live a healthy, independent life. However, with planning and deliberate action, fostering positive relationships and connections can be incredibly rewarding for everyone involved. Myles McNamara is the owner of Comfort Keepers In-Home care and can be reached at 661-287-4200
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