FIND COMFORT IN STAYING SOCIALLY CONNECTED
Loneliness is harmful to your health.
Humans are hardwired for connection. In fact research has shown that If you feel lonely, you are more likely to get dementia or depression, even die earlier. Seniors who report feeling left out and isolated have more trouble with everyday tasks, and have higher levels of stress hormones that cause inflammation, which is linked to arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues.
Whether you live alone or with someone, have lots of friends or none, you can still feel lonely and anxious. Social isolation and loneliness may also come from chronic illness, or be due to hearing or vision loss, or mobility issues. For seniors who are homebound, with no family nearby, a home health visit from a caregiver may be one of the few social interactions they have.
Life tests us in many ways as we age: Loved ones die, health problems pile up, retirement isn’t what we thought it would be, family is far away, etc. It is often hard to stay optimistic and positive. Ask loved ones about their appetites, sleep patterns, diminished self-care, and daily moods to find red flags for loneliness and anxiety. Personality and behavior changes can be a symptom of the stress of loneliness.
Positive thinking is powerful medicine when it comes to mental health. When you choose to be optimistic and grateful, your mind and body respond in kind. There are high tech and low tech ways to help Seniors maintain social contact and remain positive and optimistic. There are apps for everything on a smart phone or tablet these days, including mindfulness and relaxation, in addition to exercise and yoga class.
There are online educational classes available you can urge your loved one to take in order to learn something new. Engaging in creative activities and hobbies can help Seniors prevent feelings of loneliness and give them something to chat about. Of course, nothing beats having a family member just pick up the phone to talk to a loved one, or writing and sending a card or letter. Other tips for staying connected include watching movies or listening to music together with friends or family over the phone, or reading the same books and then discussing them afterwards.
Who wouldn’t love a facetime call from a grandchild or child? Or an unexpected floral or plant delivery? Sending groceries, small thoughtful gifts, any random act of kindness works if you cannot physically be present. Pets can provide some comfort but are not always ideal for every situation.
A Visiting Angels caregiver or companion can be a friendly and familiar face to depend upon when family or friends are not available. Our caregivers can help Seniors overcome social isolation and find enjoyment through meaningful interaction and engagement via favorite hobbies, exercise, pleasant conversations, meal times, and more. Our companion and caregivers can also schedule fun activities or social outings.
Contact Us: Do you have a loved one who may be at risk for social isolation and loneliness? Let us help them live their best life. There are many ways to connect, keep busy, and be social even while distancing due to the uptick in Omicron cases. Our caregivers provide great conversation and company for a card game, a movie at home, or a walk in the park. Need help setting up a facetime call with family? Want to bake some cookies? We have an “Angel” for that! Call 561-328-7611, if you or a loved one are starved for social engagement. Check out the articles below for more good advice.
Till Next Time!
Irv Seldin, JD, MA
Owner & President
Visiting Angels of the palm Beaches
This article not intended as medical advice.