It should come as no surprise that those seniors who socialize and engage with others are healthier not only physically, but emotionally. As San Francisco in-home caregivers, we know that it can be difficult to get your aging parent to become more engaged in life, or to get him or her out and about and around other people.
Isolation is common among seniors who often have issues such as depression or medical conditions, or who simply become withdrawn and lose interest in doing things. Everyone needs a healthy social life, not just seniors; it's vital to longevity, happiness, and emotional well-being. How can you help your reluctant senior become more social?
First, rule out the obvious. Is your aging loved one facing issues with driving, eyesight, or hearing? Transportation and factors that impair someone's ability to hear well or communicate can be huge hurdles for seniors. Also, go with your aging parent to the doctor to make certain there aren't other factors in play, such as incontinence, anxiety, depression, or even early indications of dementia or Alzheimer's.
Of course, there are certain things you can help with. For instance, if your aging loved one has problems hearing, it may be time for hearing aids. You can also provide transportation or arrange for transportation for your senior parent so he or she can get out and grocery shop, go to the barber/hair salon, to the monthly book club, to play cards or bingo with friends, etc.
What else can you do to help an aging loved one enjoy a more active social life?
Make sure he/she feels presentable, well-dressed, and neat. Even those who are older don't want to go out if they feel unkempt or "frumpy," and many have problems getting dressed or grooming their hair.
Are mobility issues a problem? If confined to a wheelchair or forced to use a walker, it may be easier to have friends and neighbors come to visit.
Put a "bug" in the ear of friends and family members. Ask them if they would mind visiting occasionally, providing transportation on an outing, or simply giving the senior a call every now and then.
When you visit, bring along a friend, neighbor, or family member you know your aging parent likes to converse with.
Having an outdoor barbecue, birthday party, or other gathering or celebration? Invite your senior to attend, and offer to pick him/her up.
Sometimes all it takes is a little gentle nudging to get a senior to get out and engage with others or become more active. Small steps can overcome big obstacles, but take your time and keep encouraging.
Care Indeed specializes in senior care services for those in Palo Alto, San Mateo, and the entire San Francisco Bay Area, including transportation services to help keep seniors active, healthy, and mobile. Count on our in-home care agency for all of your aging loved one's needs!
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