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If you have older relatives, it is only natural that you want to be around them as much as possible in their older years. Since many of us lead busier lives than ever, you may not have time to be around them all the time. However, if you notice a change in their behavior and find that they become more withdrawn, you will want to do whatever you can to help.
Loneliness and social isolation in older adults is associated with many serious health problems, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression and anxiety, obesity, and general cognitive decline. Unfortunately, many older people end up feeling isolated as their health deteriorates. In today’s modern society, families usually live many miles apart, which is why many older people do not see anyone day in and day out. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many ways to encourage older people to lead more active social lives.
Here are a few of them.
1. Spend more time with them
Spending more time with your older loved ones can help them become more social. Frequent short visits are much better than infrequent long visits, and maintaining regular contact can help improve their communication skills. For those who do not live nearby, make sure you regularly call your elderly loved ones so you know how they are doing and if there is any cause for concern.
2. Adopt technology
Try to encourage your elderly relatives to experience the wonders of technology. Simple devices like tablets are a great resource. They are easy to use and you can chat with your relative via Face-time or Skype at any time of the day or night. They will love talking to their grandchildren, and if they need help with anything, you can talk to them quickly and easily.
Technology cannot replace real visits, but if you live far away or even abroad, this is the best option.
3. Encourage outdoor activities.
there is the many benefits seniors can get from walking outdoors and be in the fresh air. Whether it’s walking in the neighborhood, going to the grocery store, or an afternoon at the movies, there are plenty of outdoor activities that can improve the thinking of your elderly loved one. If your older family members are reluctant to go out, their presence when they take the first step can be of great help. Having someone they know and love next to them can boost their confidence and self-esteem, as well as encourage them to go out alone when you’re not around.
If your elderly relative has mobility problems, Afikim Mobility scooters are very comfortable and will help your loved one move around with ease.
4. Offer volunteering
After your loved one retires, they can still have a lot of love and care to give to the world, so you should invite them to volunteer… If your elderly relative is passionate about a particular cause, they will have more time to help others and their local community. Whether it’s a local church, library, or theater, volunteering can be a great way for your seniors to connect with others and develop their social lives.
Even activities as simple as reading for young children at a local school can have miraculous beneficial effects on an older person’s life. It is really beneficial for children to interact with older people as they have more patience. In turn, older people can benefit from spending time with happy and active children.
Also read our blog: [highlight color=”yellow”]5 Important Ways Seniors Can Live Healthy Lives[/highlight]
5. Encourage the family to visit
If you do not live near your older family members and are worried about being isolated at home, raise your concerns with other family members and make sure they visit them as often as possible. Many seniors struggle with mobility and find it difficult to get out, so encouraging your loved ones or friendly neighbors to drop by and see them can make a huge difference to their health and well-being.
Develop their hobbies and interests
It is likely that your elderly relative will have many hobbies and interests that they would like to pursue as they move into their older years. Sitting down with them and discussing what they like will help you find local groups and clubs that they can join. Your loved one may be reluctant to attend the first lesson alone, so reaching out to him for moral support can be of great help. It is important for your elderly relative to find something they enjoy doing. Otherwise, they are unlikely to stick with it, so try not to force them into a hobby that they don’t like.
Find out what’s going on at your local library as they are often hubs for classroom and adult learning groups. Lessons like Internet for Beginners, Drawing with Life and Languages are fun for seniors and are usually taught during the day, which is ideal for seniors.
History groups are also interesting for seniors who have lived in the community for many years. They often have many great stories and history snippets, so encourage your older relatives to give something back to the local community while making new friends at the same time!
Don’t forget about exercise. Walking, yoga and Pilates groups are great for seniors. There is a strong social element in these classes, and if the older person is active enough, such activities can be a good incentive to get out.
Social media for seniors
Encourage your seniors to join seniors social networking sites like Meetup or SilverSurfers. Be careful tracking their actions if they are new to the online world.
As your loved ones enter their senior years, it is vital that they lead an active social life. Communication can reduce the risk of depression, improve cognitive function, and improve fitness. All of the above strategies are great ways to encourage seniors to be more social and active.
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