For years, your parents were there for you, offering love, support and encouragement as you navigated your childhood, teen years, young adulthood and more.
Now, as your mom and dad are getting up in years, you feel it is your turn to be there for them.
One of the greatest ways to help aging parents is to provide them with ways to avoid feeling lonely. If your elderly mom or dad live alone, they may be especially at risk of being isolated. Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can do to help your elderly loved one overcome these feelings.
Invest in a Medical Alert System
If your loved one is afraid of falling, they may not be as active as they would like to be. This may be especially true if your loved one has already suffered a fall. Fear of falling again may prevent them from leaving the house, visiting with friends, volunteering, gardening and doing the many other things they used to do.
One way to overcome these fears is to invest in a wearable medical alert system. For example, the GreatCall Lively Mobile is a portable medical alert device that can be worn around the neck or placed in a pocket. GreatCall offers fall detection service that will automatically call for help when a fall is detected, and the device is waterproof, so your loved one can wear it while gardening or swimming. By providing your elderly relative with the assurance that medical help is always available if needed, they may be inspired to get out more and resume their usual activities that help to ward off loneliness.
Help with Transportation
If your elderly relative is no longer driving or is driving much less, they might be missing out on social functions with friends and other opportunities to get out of the house. Anything that will help your beloved relative get around and make independent choices about their transportation will go a long way in promoting their social and mental health. If you live in town or nearby, offer to drive your loved ones to not only medical appointments and the grocery store, but also to lunch with their friends.
If you have a teenager at home with a driver’s license and good solid driving skills, you can enlist his or her help too. This is also a wonderful way for the oldest and youngest generations in your family to spend time together, which can be highly beneficial for both of them.
You might also research local transportation options with your loved one; this includes bus routes, senior ride services, taxis and rideshare services. Get your loved one on Lyft or another transportation network. It is possible that your dear old dad might want to take the bus to meet his old bowling buddies, but he is nervous about getting lost. If you can, go with him on the first bus adventure, pointing out the stops and the numbers of the buses that he needs to take.
Encourage Them to Have People Over
Battling loneliness does not always mean having to leave the home. If your elderly loved one is recovering from a medical condition that has them housebound, you might encourage them to have friends over to visit. Remind your relative that they don’t have to put out a big spread of food, simple snacks or just coffee or tea will be fine. They can talk the afternoon away, watch a movie or favorite TV program, work on hobbies and simply enjoy time together.
Put these tips into action to help your elderly loved one feel less lonely and more engaged.