Dallas Home Health Care Blog

Tips to Help Senior Adults Avoid Isolation

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Winter can make things difficult for aging seniors. They are at higher risk for health complications like illnesses, accidents, and infections, especially in cold-weather areas of the United States. But more importantly, seniors are at a high risk for being isolated from social companionship, events, and other gatherings.

Humans are social creatures. As we get older, the need for social interaction only increases. Life changes the circumstances, however when a spouse dies, family moves out of the area, or people retire from our careers and our former coworkers are too busy to spend time like they once did. And when they do spend time, they find that common interests have dwindled.

Senior isolation and a lack of social connections can lead to depression, which affects both physical and mental health. Blood sugar rises, the risk of dementia increases, and a fall could result in a lengthy hospital stay. It does not have to be this way, as you can take steps to help them avoid it. Here are some tips to help senior adults prevent isolation.

Plan regular visits. These give seniors something to look forward to, whether it is a regularly scheduled dinner or just spending a few hours together in the afternoon. If you do not live close to your loved one, you can email, all and video chat over the computer to stay connected. You can even hire a home care services company to simply provide companionship. 

Reach out to the neighbors. You may not be able to see your older loved one each day, but their neighbors are right next door. Ask them to stop by and check in every few days, especially if they see that your loved one’s mail or newspaper hasn’t been collected.

Adopt a pet. If your senior family member is not allergic than a pet can help lift feelings of depression and help improve their mood. Even a goldfish in a small tank can provide a relaxing, interactive distraction from loneliness.

Encourage some exercise. If your older family member or loved one lives somewhere that is plagued by snow, then a walk around the block may not be an option. However there are low-impact exercises that can be done indoors – including chair yoga which is done start to finish from a seated position.

Keeping in touch with seniors and making sure their social connections do not take a nose dive is easy if you are willing to take a few extra steps. Check to see if the town where they live offers a senior meal delivery program and sign up for them to get a meal a few days a week. You can also call the local senior activities center to see if they provide transportation to and from the programs they offer to older adults.