Loneliness is common in later life. It can lead to depression, isolation, mental health issues, and a lower quality of life. Lonely seniors can also be more likely to experience physical health issues, and less likely to seek help. As someone with elderly loved ones, you should be looking for signs of loneliness and isolation and trying your best to help.
What is Winter Loneliness?
Unfortunately, loneliness is much more common in the wintertime, and the holidays can be especially difficult. Your older loved one might find it harder to get out and about during cold weather; they might experience joint pain, which makes enjoying hobbies and seeing friends difficult; and seasonal depression is common, in part due to this loneliness. Below is a look at some of the things that you can do to help your loved ones to avoid winter loneliness.
Help Them Find Their Community
Is your loved one lonely because they haven’t got friends, or because they are seeing them less due to the cold? If you are worried that their social circle has decreased since they’ve retired, helping them to be part of a community again is one of the best things that you can do for them. Looking at senior facilities near me which they can move into can be a great way to make new friends, attend classes and groups and regain independence.
Looking for seniors’ groups and activities that they might enjoy in their local area can also be effective.
Help Them to Get Online
The internet is an excellent way to make new friends and stay in touch with friends and family who don’t live near enough to see regularly. Social media can also offer a way for your loved one to reconnect with friendsandcolleagues that they might have lost touch with over time. Spend some time with your loved one setting up accounts and finding friends, but make sure you commit time to teach them about online safety and scams.
Check-in for Chats
Visiting, spending time with your loved one, and inviting them to your home will help them to avoid loneliness, but this isn’t always possible. Checking in and chatting on the phone can be just as important so try to do it regularly, even if you can’t visit.
Look for Mobility Issues
Mobility issues are a common cause of loneliness. If you are worried that your loved one is struggling to move about, or that they are in pain when they are on their feet, speak to them, find ways to help, and recommend they seek medical help.
Hobbies, even those that are practiced alone, can boost mood, keep the mind active and reduce loneliness. Encourage your loved one to try new hobbies and help them to explore possibilities.
Give them Something to Look Forward to
Having something to look forward to is a great way to reduce loneliness. Make sure you’ve always got a plan, or something booked that includes your loved one.
Winter loneliness is common in seniors but that doesn’t mean that it is inevitable. With the right help and support, your elderly loved one can enjoy wintertime with family and friends.