The BBC recently reported that social isolation can result in an increased risk of death among the elderly, due to the negative feelings associated with loneliness and its effect on health.
For families it can be difficult to determine how to tackle the issue of loneliness, especially for those who struggle to regularly visit their elderly relatives. Unfortunately social isolation can occur quite easily as we age, with loved ones passing away and activities affected by diminishing physical capabilities.
We have therefore provided some tips below that could help you or your loved one engage with social activities and reduce that feeling of loneliness.
Companionship care services
Home Instead Senior Care currently have many clients who use their companionship care services. CAREGivers are matched to each individual client based on similar personalities and interests, to allow for a natural friendship to develop between them. This creates that important element of trust within the support provided. Companionship care services are tailored to the individual and can range from simple conversation to day trips/holidays. Individual needs are identified which can help social stimulation.
Adult community/day centres
Day centres/community centres can often provide activities for older people to socialise through. These settings provide a social atmosphere where older people can communicate with one another, participate in a wide range of activities, take day trips and more. This can be very helpful if a family carer needs to go somewhere or wants some respite.
For a loved one diminishing physical capabilities as mentioned previously can affect their favourite hobbies. However this doesn’t mean that they can’t keep active. For example, walking groups in Sheffield (particularly over 50’s), can provide a social experience for your loved one as well as keeping them active. Maintaining an active lifestyle can also be achieved through simple daily tasks such as walking to the shops (generally getting out of the house).
Volunteering is a great way of getting someone to interact with people in the community. Whether this is at a local café or a charity shop, it can help stimulate the mind and is actually very healthy.
Changing the Scenery
A familiar home/environment can often cause distress for clients, especially if they have experienced a loss; it can act as a constant reminder to them and encourage further isolation. Moving in with family or an assisted living facility can therefore help change the environment and that negative frame of mind.