According to Time magazine, approximately 33% of seniors are lonely which, while completely normal, if left unchecked for too long, can be detrimental to their health in mild and severe ways. In fact, Time states “research indicates that chronic loneliness can affect older adults’ physical well-being, memory, life expectancy, and mental health.” Now before this worries you too much, know that there are time and science-proven methods to help prevent and overcome loneliness in older adults. Below are a few simple ways you as a caregiver can help your senior loved one overcome loneliness.
Encourage daily fitness
While your loved one may not be ready to jump straight into high-intensity Zumba sessions or doing a triathlon, getting seniors to move their bodies is a great way to combat loneliness and boost their energy and mood! Encourage a daily walk around the block or a nearby park. They can even try yoga at home or at the park if the weather is nice. Don’t forget to check out local classes where your loved one can join others through Zoom or at a nearby local spot. This way, they can fulfill their need for socializing and fitness at the same time! Here are a few more resources that can help seniors get moving:
Due to COVID, many organizations have implemented and kept many free online resources including free videos for entertainment and educational purposes. While some programs are going back to, or adding back in-person events, there are plenty of free online events still available that cover a variety of topics such as how to knit, how to bake a certain item, gardening tips, and more! There are also meetings in-person and through video that can offer seniors a chance to converse with people who have similar interests, similar lives, or are also just looking to socialize. Don’t forget to check out Facebook groups that offer up more specific groups for seniors to be a part of. Check out these free resources that are offering free classes and meetings:
- Fort Worth library programs & resources
- Dallas library resources & events
- 29 other online courses offering free lesson
Encourage new hobbies
Suggest your loved one take up new hobbies or even revisit old hobbies. Spending time learning new things and discovering new hobbies to love can be fulfilling and even a fun way to meet new people. Volunteering is a fulfilling new hobby that has many benefits. If they’re up for it, your loved one could join a group dedicated to the specific hobby they are learning either locally or through online forums or meetings. Check out these fun, inexpensive new hobbies to get your loved one started!
Suggest a pet
While pets cannot talk, they can be a great source of companionship for anyone, especially seniors who otherwise live alone or spend a lot of time at home. Caring for a pet is a huge responsibility. While you must consider if your loved one is able to handle the responsibility, also consider if you as a caregiver are up for the responsibility that may be thrust upon you. While you may not be the main one taking care of their new pet, you may need to occasionally provide assistance or step up if your loved one becomes unable to care for it. For this reason, we suggest “low maintenance” pets if you think your loved one is or may soon become less mobile or forgetful. Some ideal “low maintenance” pets can include:
- Betta fish
- Sea monkeys
For more low maintenance, but still, lovable pet ideas click here. You can always also consider a stuffed animal as a pet that is given as a surprise present.
Consider a professional caregiver
Finally, consider hiring a professional caregiver from an experienced agency, like us, to help combat loneliness by providing companionship to your loved one as often as you’d like – daily, weekly, or even monthly we work with your schedule and needs. Among the many services and benefits of hiring professional caregivers – companionship and welfare checks are just a few that can ease your mind. Family caregivers need and deserve support as well so contact us today to see how our experienced, trained caregivers can provide relief and support to you and your loved one.