November 24, 2020
Many seniors have long-since made the decision that they want to live in their home as long as they can. As a caregiver to an aging parent, you’ve probably helped your parent live out this dream. And while there are many benefits of seniors staying in their own home, one of the concerns that many caregivers have is “are they lonely?” This question becomes increasingly important when your senior parent is living alone in her home.
Being alone and feeling lonely are two different things. While being alone refers more to the physical act of not having another person nearby, feeling lonely relates more the internal feeling on not having someone nearby that cares for you. Loneliness (or feeling alone) can lead to multiple other health concerns such as: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and sometimes, even death. And if your parent has recently found herself without a partner, she can be especially susceptible to succumbing to loneliness and other connected symptoms. Then put on current quarantines and self isolations due to the pandemic, and many caregivers are extremely worried about their aging parents.
An Elderly Care provider may be able to step in and help alleviate any feelings of loneliness by interacting with your parent on a weekly or daily basis and providing connection and opportunities for shared experiences. While, as a caregiver, you probably have a good idea of what your parent needs to help him alleviate loneliness, here are a few activities your elderly care provider can do with your parent to fill those gaps of connection he may be feeling right now.
An elderly care provider can not only help prep a meal but can create it as a time with your parent to bond and enjoy the social aspects of sharing a meal together. Your provider can help prep the meal with your parent and then sit with your parent as he eats his meal. Having company while enjoying a meal often time leads to a much more enjoyable meal and a feeling of community.
Games stimulate the mind and provide a chance to connect and have conversations for those who struggle with having conversations. If your parent enjoys playing cards, Scrabble, or anything else that requires someone to play with, your elderly care professional can make sure there is time set aside to play a round or two with your parent.
Working on Hobbies
While some hobbies can be done independently, some are a lot easier (and more fun) when done with someone. Your elderly care provider can help put a puzzle together, paint a picture side-by-side or even help prepare a craft area for your parent. While your elderly care professional may not be as talented as your parent, she is sure to be a companion to help your parent stay involved in activities that provide joy.
If your parent needs someone to go on a walk with her or take her to the local bird sanctuary to watch birds, an elderly care provider can also be hired to help with transportation and companionship during activity.
Loneliness is a heart-breaking condition that many seniors struggle with, but it’s also something that you can help alleviate by actively pursuing opportunities for your parent to connect with those around her.