We spend our entire lives living and loving. Or we should. But it is becoming more and more often that seniors are spending too much time alone. Senior loneliness has many effects and needs to be changed.
What are some of the effects of senior loneliness?
1) a decline in the senior’s physical health
2) depression and other mental health issues
3) obesity – out of boredom and loneliness they may overeat
4) early death
Research suggest that these outcomes of loneliness are happening more often today. Why might that be?
Well, families in general are busier. Many seniors’ children are part of the sandwich generation which means they are raising their own kids and may not have as much time as they would like for their parents.
Many seniors have children who are working full time and may not live in the same city or town, making visiting more difficult.
Our previous article on senior depression provides tips to manage depression. Tips for the senior themselves.
What can family or caregivers do to help with senior loneliness?
If you can’t get to see the senior often, pick up the phone and chat. Have the grandchildren call and talk about their day at school.
Have the grandchildren draw pictures or write letters and mail them to the senior.
Encourage your senior to follow the 4 Tips to Avoid Depression including getting out and about and socializing.
Research some senior activities in their area and help them sign them up. Or surprise them with a gifted registration.
Use the beauty of technology! Get them a tablet or a smartphone that allows them to us Skype for virtual visits, provides access to on line groups and ability to play interactive games.
Video chats, emails, phone calls, and receiving letters can help with senior loneliness. They make them feel good and loved.
Suggest they volunteer to help others. This will provide them with interactions that not only help them but help others. It is suggested that volunteering may actually help us live longer.
Consider hiring someone to stay in touch with them when you can’t. Someone to stop by, someone to call, someone to check in on them. Again just some kind of interaction.
Click on the picture below to see original article below from the NY Times. Very informative.