Many of us suffer from feelings of loneliness and isolation, and research has shown that older adults experience such feelings at a higher level than any other demographic. As such, you may wonder how to help your loved one deal with loneliness, which is caused by a variety of factors. For one, with old age comes the sad truth of a shrinking social circle as friends start to pass on and children and grandchildren leave the nest. Other issues including mobility and ailments also make social isolation a struggle. Loneliness is a big issue that has been proven to result in poor mental well-being and even memory loss diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. But, you need not worry as we have compiled some tips for you to help your loved ones cope with loneliness!
Lend Your Loved One a Listening Ear
First up, before deciding how to help your loved one feel less lonely, you need to understand the root cause of the issue. Sit down with them and have a chat about why they feel lonely. Often, one of the best things you can do to help someone is to hear them out. Moreover, you can also spend quality time with them by calling them on the phone regularly and letting them tell you about their day. Consistently engage with them in conversations and help them feel more supported and less alone.
Pick Up a New Hobby
Picking up a new hobby is a great way to engage with others and widen their social circle. By finding people with like-minded interests, your loved ones can forge meaningful connections. For example, they could join an interest group such as a book club or a gardening society. They could also meet up with friends to play chess, go hiking, or fishing. This not only keeps them socially active but also ensures they are mentally stimulated and alert.
Adopt a Pet
If your loved one lives alone, they can consider adopting or purchasing a pet for companionship. Although this may not be a perfect substitute for human interaction, it has been scientifically proven that caring for a pet has great mental benefits, such as relieving stress and boosting one’s mood. Moreover, having a pet will give them something to look after, helping them to feel less alone.
Make Use of Technology
Finally, you can teach your loved ones how to use video call platforms and applications such as skype and zoom so you can keep in touch with them. They can also learn to use simple social media platforms to stay in touch with the rest of the family. Even better, help them install online board games like Monopoly and Chess so that you can play with them regardless of how far away you are from one another!
To summarise, while it may seem like a side effect of aging is loneliness, this definitely need not be the case. Keep these tips in mind the next time you visit your loved ones and help them feel more socially connected and less lonely!