As a family caregiver on a senior care journey with your elderly loved ones, you likely already know that loneliness is something that many aging adults face. According to research by the University of Chicago, this loneliness not only has a serious impact on the mental and emotional health of elderly adults, but it can also actually increase the risk of premature death by as much as 14 percent.
The Effect of Loneliness on Seniors
The six-year study, which followed over 2000 adults over the age of 55, found that the loneliest adults in the group were more than twice as likely to die as those who were the least lonely. This is caused by many issues, including that pervasive loneliness is linked to increased risk of:
Focusing on helping your aging loved ones avoid and overcome loneliness is a critical part of protecting their mental, emotional, and physical health.
4 Ways to Avoid and Overcome Senior Loneliness & Isolation
Some ways that you and your parent’s caregiver can help your parents avoid and overcome loneliness include:
1. Increase Care
Even if your parents do not have extensive physical or cognitive needs that necessitate care, consider increasing the amount of time that they spend with their senior healthcare services provider. Never underestimate the importance of companionship and regular social interaction, both of which a care provider can offer consistently and reliably.
2. Plan Your Visits
Rather than fitting in care visits with your seniors whenever you have the chance, put them on your schedule. If you write these care visits down on your calendar or put them in your day planner, you are much more likely to not only schedule things around them so that you do not fill up your time too much but also to keep up with those visits so that you spend more time with them.
3. Quality Time
Even seniors who are married and see their adult children for care efforts on a daily basis express loneliness. Make sure that when you go to your parents’ house you are doing more than just taking care of them. Spend time talking with them, enjoying activities with them, and eating with them so that they feel more supported and loved. Find time to integrate your children into their care plan as well so that both generations can get benefits from each other.
4. Participate in Activities
Find ways that you can spend time with your parents outside of their home. Activities such as adult education classes, craft classes, clubs and organizations, and exercise groups are fantastic ways to not only stimulate their minds and strengthen their cognitive processing, critical thinking, and memory skills but also to get them interacting with other people. Doing these activities with you supports a stronger relationship and is a powerful way to reduce loneliness throughout your senior care journey with them.
Contact Care Options for Kids for Companion Care Services in Florida