Are you concerned that a senior you know may be suffering from isolation? As our elderly home care professionals have discussed in previous articles in this series, a senior may easily become socially isolated – and without other people realizing.
Fortunately, unlike many other problems which face seniors, isolation can be relieved relatively easily in most cases. Once the problem is recognized, numerous things exist that an elderly home care provider can do to help encourage seniors towards more social contact and better emotional support.
Difficulties with mobility and transportation are strong contributors to senior social isolation. Work with them to find ways of improving their transportation system which could include helping them make use of public transportation, or hiring a service which provides rides to seniors.
For many seniors, a beloved pet is almost as good as human companionship. Based on your evaluation of your loved one’s level of mental and physical fitness, find a pet who can fit into his/her lifestyle. Cats are often good choices, due to their independent nature. Even a smaller pet such as a hamster or fish might help.
Communicative issues are another major contributor to isolation. However, technology has a wealth of options which can counteract many physical disabilities. A senior who has trouble speaking, for example, could potentially make use of a text-to-speech program on their cell phone or tablet to communicate. Or, on the other hand, one who has difficulty typing can make use of speech-to-text technology.
With a little research, many solutions should be available.
Whether going to the local community center, a place of worship, or merely going to the mall, encourage the senior you care for to get out of the house and into public spaces. Results are usually best when outings take place in a structured environment with activities available, but even sitting in the park can allow some social interaction.
Hobbies are great because they can give a senior a sense of purpose while also encouraging them to meet people who share that hobby. Whatever they enjoy doing, encourage them to engage and meet others with similar interests.
Neighborly Home Care offers a range of companionship and transportation services to help combat isolation and provide care to seniors. Please contact us if you need help with elderly home care for a loved one!