Modern society is full of ways to communicate, so many that it can be overwhelming. Why then is there an epidemic of loneliness in the elderly sector of our society? So many people take for granted the ease with which contact can be made with all of the technology available.
As we age, our social circle begins to shrink. Friend pass away or move to a far location. Driving impairment may be a factor or mobility may become limited. Eyesight or hearing failure can make communicating difficult. Medical treatments or incontinence may limit the amount of time an elderly person can spend pursuing and maintaining friendships.
" Even when a senior is being taken care of by family caregivers, T. Byram Karasu, MD, from the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, says that there is often little attention paid to deep, engaging communication between a senior and the rest of the family. The changes listed above are factors, but caregivers are usually so worn out from juggling their day-to-day responsibilities that they have little time or energy left for truly meeting a senior’s emotional and social needs. "
To combat loneliness, the caregiver or the senior citizen need to have an arsenal of tips and ideas to incorporate on a regular and frequent basis. Here are some suggestions:
1. Make it a priority to interact with friends and family.
2. Dine with others
3. Take up a fresh hobby and find a like-minded group to meet with
4. Approach issues with incontinence - there are several innovative hygiene products
5. Start a low impact exercise routine - chair exercise classes are fun!
6. Start a scrapbook or photo collage
7. Write a memoir
8. Organize your beloved items into collections
9. Take a religious study course at your place of worship
10. Join a local choir
11. Call The Friendship Line at 1-800-971-0016
12. Consider a senior living community
13. Take a technology course and start using a new electronic device.
14. Take up gardening or buy a new plant to tend
15. Put on some upbeat music and dance, even if it's just tapping your toe!
By incorporating a few of these ideas and tips, one can stave off loneliness. It is important to remember that no man is an island. Isolation is avertable, so reach out. There may be someone you know who is also feeling lonely and by reaching out it helps two individuals, the giver and the receiver.
"We have all known the long loneliness, and we have found that the answer is community." ~Dorothy Day