There are many reasons why a senior may start to feel isolated. It may be due to the grief of the loss of a spouse or loved one, mobility issues preventing them from getting around easily or leaving the house, depression, or the loss of their ability to drive.
Whatever the reason, no one wants to watch their senior parent slink into total isolation when they have so much more life left to live. If you start noticing signs that your parent has been isolating themselves, or that they seem to be be losing interest in being socially active, here are some ways that you can help them.
If you have concerns about your senior being alone, whether they are needing physical help or just companionship, there are professional senior care companies that can send compassionate caregivers to spend time with your loved one when they need it the most.
If your senior has recently lost their ability to drive, senior care aides can also assist with errands and rides to social events that you senior would not be able to attend alone.
Let The Light In
Another way to help boost the mood of your senior is to make sure they are getting a daily dose of sunlight. Moderate exposure to the sun is vital for both physical and mental health as it triggers production of serotonin.
If your senior has issues with mobility, you can open the blinds and let the sun in through the windows, lighting up their room. If they do go outside, be sure they are protected with an appropriate sunscreen to avoid the negative effects of the sun’s UV rays. Without the proper amount of sunlight, serotonin levels can decrease and that can lead to feelings of irritability, tiredness, and low mood.
It may sound counterintuitive, but if your senior is feeling left out or isolated because they are missing out on important family gatherings, social media may help them feel included and connected in ways that they would not be able to be otherwise. Consider helping them navigate social sites like Facebook, that can allow them to communicate and view the important events that are occurring in the lives of the people they love.
There are groups that meet both online and in person that can offer support to your senior who may be needing community and companionship to help get them out of the house and around people their age. Talk to their doctor to find out about what local support groups or clubs may be available for your senior, and encourage them to attend.
Talk to their doctor.
Lastly, consider talking to your senior parent’s doctor or medical professional if you have concerns that their increasing isolation may be related to clinical depression, which is common in the elderly even though only about 10% receive treatment. Depression affects about 6 million Americans 65 and older so be aware of the signs and make sure to reach out for help if this is something you suspect with your senior.