The holidays that focus on gatherings of friends and family can also exacerbate loneliness and isolation. Frail seniors may not be able to attend family parties, and yet they know they are occurring, making loneliness even worse. Frail health can keep them from socializing with friends.
Isolation is more than missing out on a card game, it can be dangerous to one’s health. It has been associated with people developing more chronic illnesses like hypertension and depression, results in less physical activity, restricted mobility and even a higher risk of death. The less a senior interacts with others, the more likely cognitive decline and dementia become. According to research published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, social isolation is associated with higher levels of fibrinogen, a predictor of heart disease and stroke. The result is “comparable to the effect of smoking.”
Even though holiday schedules are packed, there are ways that you can help a loved one combat loneliness.
Pick up the phone: There are many small moments in the day when you can call a loved one to chat- while waiting at the coffee shop, in the grocery checkout line, or walking through the mall. Just pick up the phone for a quick chat and you will have picked up the spirits of someone you love.
Go to worship: Places of worship remain among the most reliable communities. You probably can set up a ride so that your loved one can go to holiday services or choral events. Call and inquire as to whether rides are available.
Call the local senior center: They are amazing resources. Call and talk to them about your loved one. Ask if there are visitation services, or rides to events. If the center doesn’t have what you need, they most certainly will know who does and can connect you.
Get out, get active: If your elderly loved one is still able to drive, but seems unwilling to get out, it may be a matter of connecting them with people who share their interests. A quick online search will gather groups and clubs for any number of interests and hobbies. The local YMCA or YWCA will have a list of groups and meetings, as do local churches and synagogues, the town hall, the senior center, newspapers and local magazines.
Go Visual, Go Digital
LivHOME Connect is the perfect companion that connects you with a loved one. You can see and talk to one another. Families can share photos and create lasting memories with their loved one. All of the photos are saved to their photo gallery and displayed at all times using a digital photo frame. You can even send reminders of birthday parties and other events so your loved one has something to look forward to.
In a connected world we have many tools at our disposal with which to stay in touch with a loved one. We just have to find the best way to weave them into our daily lives. LivHOME is here to help.