Helping Older Parents Overcome Loneliness
We live in a world where communication is instant, no matter how far apart we are. Phone calls, email, instant messaging, text, these are all easily available and right at our fingertips.
If you have parents or other family members in this age group, what can you do? How can you help?
No one wants their loved ones to feel alone. And it is easy for adult children to feel guilty about not spending enough time with their aging parents, especially with all of life’s other responsibilities.
But no one should be burning themselves out trying to make it all work either.
The best plan is to figure out what you can realistically manage on your own, and then open up the possibilities for other social interactions.
Quick Facts about Loneliness
- 18 percent of seniors live alone, while 43 percent report feeling lonely on a regular basis
- Older adults that are isolated have a 59 percent greater risk of mental and physical decline than their more social counterparts.
- Those 65 plus who feel lonely are more prone to behave in ways that may cause other people to not want to be around them.
How Adult Children Can Help
- Put together a schedule and plan out visits. This way your parents know when they can expect you, and you can get into a routine that works for all of you. There are no surprises, no wondering and no guessing as to when you will or should visit.
- Encourage aging parents to take part in an activity. It could be mall walking, BINGO, a book club, anything that they enjoy. The hardest part tends to be going the first time, but once they do, it will be easier to go back.
- Help them find a cause they would like to volunteer with. Not only will your parents be contributing to their community, they will feel needed, motivated, and energized in doing so.
- Have them join a social community. Amintro is the online app designed exclusively for those fifty plus looking to make new friends and increase their social circles. Through Amintro your parents or older loved ones will connect with others who share similar interests, live close by, and also want to live a more socially engaged life. Membership is free, and so is the friendship. But their life will be richer for it.
By Christine Tompa