This post by Daily Human Care is all about senior mental health. We’ll provide you 6 ways to help elders who are feeling loneliness
When it comes to health, especially psychological, medical care pales in comparison to other factors surrounding us in the community. The extent of our social connectedness, independence, and a sense of purpose are powerful tools to keep us going in life. Unfortunately, the aging process weakens these factors along with health. With advancing age that withers one’s energy, a sense of purpose, and empowerment, spiraling down into loneliness is common.
But the good thing is that you can reverse this with your consistent efforts! So if you see an elderly becoming a victim of this, you can extend a helping hand. Here are some ways to curb the feeling of loneliness eating away the senior mental health in your family and community.
1. Volunteer in Organizations that Support Elderly People:
Out of all the things you can do for the elderly, the best one is the time you dedicate solely to spending with them. Many eyes are awaiting good company in the senior living communities, and your attempt to bond with them can make their day! You can go on walks, give them a manicure, or have a conversation. While you are at it, watch out for the signs of elder abuse that might be prevalent in some nursing homes. It can be unexplained injuries, restraint, or fear of certain staff members that may raise your suspicion.
The victim might not be vocal about this predicament, and your keen eye can be a lifesaver for them. If you have this prickly feeling that something’s unusual, contact the nearest family of the victim. If your suspicion is correct, hiring a well-reputed legal representative to get help for an elderly family member will be an inevitable choice for them. From regular meetup sessions to identifying big problems, volunteer work can make a big difference in someone’s life.
2. Organize Gatherings:
As age advances, the social life of a person dwindles accordingly. Life after retirement reduces a person’s social interactions, and age-associated diseases might limit them to their homes. It further promotes loneliness and, consequently, depression. To make up for this decreased social contact, organize gatherings at your home frequently, involving your neighbors, friends, and family. It will provide the elders of your family and community with an opportunity to interact with each other and spend quality time. Likewise, take your elders to family and friends’ gatherings if they cannot drive. Small social activities now and then will improve their social life and lessen the impact of loneliness.
3. Have a Meal Together Regularly:
Meal time is a perfect opportunity to bond together. While we lose ourselves in the whirlwind of busy schedules and pending deadlines, we often compromise on seemingly insignificant things that matter the most to our aging community. So while you might not be able to take out much time during the day, ensure to share at least one meal with the elders of the family. Share little details of your day with them, ask for their advice, inquire about their health, and joke around the dining table while enjoying your daily meal.
4. Accompany Elders in Daily Chores:
Daily chores are much more fun when done together! You can help the aged people around you to make their routine chores fun rather than a tiring duty. While they may not need your help doing their work, try to accompany them. You can go with them to walk their dogs or do some gardening together. These shared moments of camaraderie will take their minds off of depressive thoughts and engage them in the present moment. It is also a great way to promote their hobbies and indulge them in tasks they might have been reluctant to do.
5. Show Small Gestures of Love:
It is the small things that have the greatest impact. Old age brings with it an increased sensitivity towards small things. It is because it comes with its share of hardships. A person may not be the hub of the family anymore. Increasing age means a person gets to witness the passing away of their spouse, friends, and other fellows. The incidents leave a mark and make the mind more sensitized. It can be problematic sometimes, but you can use this quality in your favor too.
Where the smallest of happenings can upset the elderly, small gestures of love can do the contrary! Check up on your neighbor if you observe them taking a break from their daily walks, call your elderly family members to ask if they had their meal, look after their medications, etc. And do not forget to remain consistent in doing so. Your gestures of love will instill a positive outlook helping them age healthily.
6. Identify the Physical Limitations Contributing to Loneliness:
Loneliness is not always due to social or mental health factors, and physical ailments can also play a role. What if an elder has a weak hearing capacity and can not follow a conversation or contribute to it? Likewise, a memory decline will make it hard for the elders to maintain social bonds or be enthusiastic about activities they once used to enjoy. Impaired mobility will confine them to their rooms and make them dependent on others to maintain their social life. It is necessary to identify these factors to deal with situations accordingly and stop them from fueling the feeling of loneliness in the elder group.
It is shockingly easy to feel lonely and depressed in old age, yet you would not find many elders reaching out for help. Whether it is the social stigma or pride coming in the way, you will have to hear the unspoken words if you wish to bring any change in their life. It will not be hard to read between the lines if you are receptive. Your little efforts in the right direction can mitigate the nagging feeling of isolation in someone’s late life. The result will be renewed energy and high spirits that will keep both the physical and mental health problems at a distance and promote happy aging!