Watching your parent cope with the challenges of aging can be difficult, and you want to do everything you can to ensure they are comfortable and healthy. While many elderly people need help with physical challenges, it's important not to overlook their emotional health. 43% of seniors state they are lonely. Unfortunately, loneliness has been linked to shorter lifespans and dementia. Here are three ways to help your elderly parent cope with loneliness:
Sign Up for In-Home Care
One of the best ways to help your parent cope with loneliness is to get them signed up for in-home care. In-home care assistants help with routine tasks that become more difficult with age, such as prepping meals, keeping track of medication, light cleaning, and even running errands.
Just as importantly though, they will also provide your parent with a regular visitor and companion. Your parent will most likely look forward to their conversations and quality time with their in-home care aide.
Prioritize Family Calls and Visits
Life is busy, but it's important that you and your other family members find time to call and visit your parent. Sometimes this requires advanced planning and discussion. Consider creating a shared calendar with your family members who want to participate. Seeing scheduled calls and visits on the calendar in a visual way will make it more obvious if there are weeks when your parent could use more family time.
When it's your turn to call or visit your family member, make the time count. Engage in fun shared hobbies, or spend time in meaningful conversation. If your parent is up for it, ask them to share memories and stories from when they were younger. You may even want to document these conversations on video so that you can have them as keepsakes in the future.
Help Them Find a New Hobby
Another way to help your parent feel less lonely is to assist them in finding and signing up for new hobbies or activities. While solitary hobbies can be fun, the idea is to find hobbies that will help them bond with others who have similar interests. A book club, a stargazing group, senior exercise classes, or a senior-friendly walking or hiking club are just a few ideas.
Your aging parent doesn't have to live a lonely life. By following these tips, you will help them live a fun, active, and full life instead.