As our mature loved ones continue on their retirement journey, it is common for them to feel bouts of loneliness especially if they live alone. Many factors contribute to your loved ones feeling lonely, such as age-related health conditions affecting their social circle. Some may find it more difficult to socialize or lack social skills in general. It could even be due to their preference to be alone. While it is alright to feel lonely at times, too much loneliness can negatively impact your loved one’s wellbeing. Several studies have suggested that social isolation leads to higher risks of high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression amongst others. Loneliness can also harm one’s life expectancy in the same way obesity or smoking does. There are many ways your loved ones can deal with loneliness, and here are a few examples.
One of the best ways to overcome loneliness and other life changes is to accept them. Age and the conditions that come with it are things that are out of your loved one’s control. Instead of being sad about what has changed, they should work towards accepting the change and looking for ways to still do the things they love. Being realistic about their current stage of life will help them transition a lot easier. If your loved ones enjoy being outdoors, consider bringing them on short hikes once in a while. There are many activities in living communities and neighborhoods in general, so there are bound to be something your loved one enjoys. Tweaking the way they do things will help them enjoy the activities they love, and this active lifestyle will keep loneliness at bay.
Socialize with Friends
Another way to combat loneliness is to socialize more with the people around them. Have them invite friends over for house parties once in a while, or get them moving around their neighborhood to make friends. If socializing with strangers is difficult for your loved ones to do, there is always an option of moving in with them or vice versa. Having people constantly around them will alleviate the anxiety they feel about socialization and when they are ready, they can slowly open their social circle to nearby neighbors, and eventually the whole community. Do not rush your loved ones into making friends immediately. Allow them to do it at their own pace so that they are comfortable with the transition.
Another way for your loved ones to fight loneliness is by volunteering. Volunteering is a great way to get your loved ones out and about and give purpose to their life. They can go to local churches, community colleges, or community centers to offer their services. It could even be as simple as helping during food drives, but the fulfillment and satisfaction they will get from helping the community will be more than you might imagine. Volunteering also requires your loved ones to socialize with other volunteers, reducing the chances of them being lonely.