There are many benefits to seniors remaining in their homes as they age, a sense of familiarity, independence and a lower cost of living.
However, at times, ageing in place can lead to a sense of isolation, especially when the senior is living alone. There are several things you can do to make sure your family member has an active community and a sense of purpose to help combat feelings of social isolation.
According to a study conducted by AARP 87 percent of adults over the age of 65 prefer to stay in their homes as they age. To help these seniors ward off feelings of social isolation, it is important they find a hobby that includes social interaction. This could be volunteering with a church group or participating in a weekly knitting group, anything that will give them something to look forward to each week. Many communities have activity centers geared toward seniors. Encouraging them to take a class and learn a new skill is a great way to ensure they are staying social.
Make sure your loved one has a strong community around them. Talk to trusted neighbors and let them know your parent or grandparent is on their own. Having a neighbor who is aware of the situation and who can pop over and check on your family member can do a lot to make sure they feel safe at home and can give you peace of mind as well. Using a daily check-in service like Iamfine is another way to make sure that the senior in your life is doing well.
Staying at home every day can lead seniors to feel isolated, but transportation can be a barrier to leaving the house. If the senior in your life is no longer able to drive make sure they are aware of transportation services. Public transportation is a great option, but not all seniors are comfortable using buses or other means of transport, so Uber and Lyft are other viable options. Many communities also have ride services specifically tailored to seniors. The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging is a great resource to check for services in your area.
If the senior in your life was used to eating with their family, eating alone can have an impact on their feelings of isolation as well. Providing company at mealtimes is a great way to help your family member feel less isolated. Eating together is also a good way to ensure the senior in your life is eating healthy and regularly. Encourage your loved one to hold potlucks with their friends or others in the community. If you lived close enough, plan weekly dinners so your loved one knows they don’t always have to eat alone.
According to a 2017 study older adults who feel socially isolated are at higher risk for poor health and early death. With the increasing number of people wanting to age-in-place, it is vital to make sure your loved ones have resources for combating that social isolation.