As we age, we may find ourselves becoming disconnected from others. Especially with the recent global pandemic, it has become increasingly common for many to suffer from social isolation, and older adults face the brunt of this issue. The question is, how do you remain socially connected amidst aging? Studies have shown that those who are less lonely and more socially engaged are healthier, both mentally and physically. Thus, we have compiled several pointers to help you remain socially active and for meaningful connections to better the lives of others and yourself.
Spend As Much Time Face to Face As Possible
As mentioned, it may be difficult to spend time in person due to our current extenuating circumstances. However, if and when the situation permits, families should make time to see each other as often as possible. Take time out of your week to meet your loved ones, be it for a simple meal or to partake in some outdoor activities together. This is exceptionally crucial for older adults who are less mobile, as they may feel even more cooped up alone.
Pick Up a New Hobby
Another way for older folks to remain socially connected is by picking up new hobbies and interests. They can then find other like-minded individuals who can provide social support and act as a network. Some options include board games such as chess and scrabble or interest groups such as hiking or walking. The possibilities are endless! Not only will these hobbies help your loved one make new friends and forge more bonds, but they are also meaningful and fulfilling ways to pass time.
Hire an In-Home Caregiver
Another option is to employ a live-in housekeeper who can provide daily assistance and keep the living area clean and tiny, but also provide companionship. It can be nice for your loved one to have someone else stay with them, thereby curbing loneliness and preventing them from feeling isolated. These trained caregivers are also professional and know how to cater to the needs of your loved ones, so you can rest assured that they are in good hands.
Take Advantage of Technology
You can also make the best of our technologically advanced landscape. Help your loved ones install video conferencing software on their devices so that you can remain in contact even from miles away. You can also help them download online board games such as Scrabble and Monopoly, allowing you all to have a virtual game night together! Being able to stay connected despite the physical distance is now fairly easy with the help of mobile devices and the internet.
Find a Pen Pal
Finally, revive the dying art of letter writing by encouraging your loved one to find a pen pal. Everyone loves the joyous feeling of receiving a letter and reading the handwritten note inside. These can also act as small mementos and keepsakes that they can continue to treasure for years to come.
To conclude, is it crucial that older adults continue to maintain their social network as they age to avoid loneliness and isolation, which has been shown to cause depression and impede their overall mental well-being. Thus, do consider giving the above pointers a try!