Many things contribute to the feeling of isolation and loneliness among older people. Death of a spouse, brothers, sisters and friends can disrupt and limit a person’s social circles. Inability to drive and other restraints on mobility make it more difficult to participate in a full plethora of social activities. The desire to remain in one’s home, despite the difficulty of leaving for daily excursions further add to isolation.
What can you do as a loved one, or as the person in question to alleviate some of the pain of loneliness? Here are a few ideas which can help reduce loneliness and isolation among the elderly.
- Make phone contact more often. If you are now calling once a month, up it to once a week. Are you calling once a week? Try every day. Just hearing the voice of a loved one can make all the difference in a person’s day. And don’t forget those milestone days like birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, etc.
- Make sure to visit as often as possible. A phone call is nice, but a visit is nicer. A hug, kiss, face to face discussion, can really add joy to a person’s life.
- Go beyond just visiting and take your parent on an excursion. How about a concert, movie, visit to a museum? Whatever your loved one enjoys and is not beyond their abilities is a great idea and great fun, too.
- Teach your parent how to use social media and other technologies that can be life enhancing and reduce the feeling of isolation a person has from spending hours alone each day. Using the internet can be a great convenience for many people. Bills can be paid over the internet, gifts and necessities can be ordered on-line. There are web sites where you can play games such as chess or checkers, and many more games with either friends, relatives, or complete strangers. And this is not to mention news sites, TV shows, movies, books, and a huge array of activities which can really enhance life.