How to Combat Loneliness at Old Age

Parents may feel lonely as they get older

Helping aging parents stave off loneliness. Pexels, CC0 License.

Anyone with an aging parents knows that it can be a real challenge to prevent them from feeling lonely. Loneliness is a common problem for elderly people as many of them have lost partners and friends. As elderly people tend to lose their independence over the years there are fewer possibilities for them to retain good social contact with those around them.

This can be a real concern for the family members and it is common for us to feel a little helpless when it comes to finding ways to occupy their time and help them to build connections with other people. So, with that in mind, here is advice on how to try and combat the loneliness that a parent of yours may be feeling.

Be There as Much as Possible

This can be very difficult if you live in a different area to your mother or father. Geographical distance can put a lot of strain on families who want to support their aging parents. If distance is a problem then daily contact, via the telephone, can go a long way in reminding parents that they are always on your mind and that you care. When distance is a problem, try and stay on top of the big milestones in your parent’s life, such as birthdays, anniversaries and make sure that you try to be there on the days when they will need that extra support to prevent them from feeling sad and alone.

You also don’t need to wait for the important days to go and spend time with your parents, so planning regular trips is truly the best way to be there emotionally and physically for your parent. Seeing familiar faces, grandchildren and just spending time together can be one of the most special moments in their life so it is very important that we are generous with our time and continually organizing days and moments to spend together.

Research Local Community

Whether you live locally or far away, you should be putting in research into the community of your parent to see what is available for them in their local community. Whether you feel that your parent needs around the clock assistance or whether you think that they will just benefit from getting out of the house for a couple of hours every day.

If you are concerned that your parent is no longer able to completely look after themselves, then maybe it is time to look at a residential home. Find comfort at McKnight Place or a similar residential home in your community where your parent will be looked after, safe and can enjoy the company of other residents on a daily basis. It is a big decision for all the family, so be open about these conversations and put in a lot of research to find the best options in your parent’s local area.

Alternatively, if your parent is still active, independent and able to look after themselves on a day-to-day basis, but you are worried that they are feeling isolated and spend too long at home by themselves, then there are other options to prevent them from feeling lonely. In this case, you should be looking at community resources, in the area that your parent lives, to see what social activities they can be getting involved with to get them out of the house on a regular basis.

Most communities have centers for elderly people that offer great opportunities to bring the elderly community together to make friends and enjoy activities together. Whether you think your parent will enjoy entertainment nights, social games or daily outings, find what you think will best suit your parents tastes and interests and then encourage them to give it a try. You can help with the transportation and organization in order to make it as easy as possible for your parent to get involved and out of the house, enjoying the company of others, as much as possible.

Go Out Together

Think of all the things that your parent loves to do and treat them to events or activities that they will enjoy.  Social activities, theater, concerts and anything else that you think they will enjoy will be all the more enjoyable if you take them. As elderly parents have less ability to do these things by themselves then they will naturally depend on those around them to make these leisure pursuits possible. Therefore, make sure that you are regularly thinking of the places that you can take them to give them a really lovely evening or a special day out.

Consider a Carer

If your parent is not quite ready yet for a residential home, or it is not possible for them to live with you, then you may want to consider hiring a part-time or full time carer to look after your parent or at least to be checking in on them on a daily basis. Carers will offer you the peace of mind that your aging parent is being looked after, if you are not able to spend time with them on a daily basis.

Professional carers will be able to cook and clean for your parent. They will be able to offer daily company and will be able to take your parent out to events and activities for the elderly community in your parents local area. So, whether you feel your parent needs a part-time or a full-time, live-in carer, put in some research into the different options and professionals in your parent’s area.

Don’t Shy Away from Technology

We all know that whilst kids are whizzes at every gadget, app, and modern piece of technology, when it comes to our parents they are pretty much at a loss when it comes to navigating anything even as simple as a mobile phone. That does not mean, however, that technology cannot be used as a way to make communication with your parent really easy.

Most elderly parents, who are willing, will be able to crack how to use Skype, for example, when shown what to do. So look into the different forms of technology that can keep you and your family in touch with your parent, when you can’t be there physically, to ensure they don’t feel alone and feel connected with the family around them, as much as possible

Advertisements

43 thoughts on “How to Combat Loneliness at Old Age

  1. Great advice! There are many retirement communities that have social functions. I’ve found these to be beneficial to my aging aunt who lives in one. She’s very active and spunky and they have crafts and game nights. She has a lot of fun.

  2. Nice topic and post👌💙
    Loneliness is a major problem for old because young people don’t understand their feeling. They feel so bored and time wasting to spend time with old. So mostly they avoid them.
    But old is always gold. They’re more experienced people and had seen every aspect of life. So we might get to learn so many things also if we sit and talk with them.

  3. Hi Miss Christy…

    Yet another great and timely post as we watch people age around us. We can see it coming with ourselves. I am actively involved in the church with visitation and helping fill that void often family can not because of distance etc. So sad as I talk to people just how lonely they truly are. That few minutes of visiting can make a huge difference in their day…

    Hugs from Alberta

  4. This is a very tough situation, Christy. I realize all the reasons why, but previous generations had it right when the grandparents lived with a son or daughter and their young family. Nursing homes (long-term care) are a lot less than ideal. Even if son and daughter both work and the kids are off at school, at least the elderly parent can look forward to the end of the day. I know this can put strains on the young family, but there are benefits too. Kids today don’t know their family history because they don’t hear the stories that the grandparents could tell. I think our society needs to get back to this model and bring in home care when necessary – likely less expensive than those assisted care homes. Good post on a tough issue.

    • Awww you do bring to mind a good solution, John. It will be interesting to see what happens in cities like the one where I live where so much of the population is aging.. will the younger generations help? Hope so xx

  5. A caring, insightful and very necessary article. Many of us will be there one day.
    This is a special post, Christy, for women and men. ♡

  6. Such a wonderful post. For some folks this is a real hard time. I mind when my older girl did a stint on phone lines in one customer service in one of the big supermarket here and she would often end up speaking to this old man. He would order like two things. he just wanted to speak to someone,. Hers was the first voice he’d heard all week. Poor thing. So very sad.

  7. Another excellent article. People with disabilities oftentimes move at a slightly slower speed than the rest of society and can become isolated as well. It has been my experience that when people stop thinking of themselves as “helpers” and become friends that isolation quickly fades.
    Thank you for inspiring me today! 👍👍
    ^^ Buffalo Tom

    • I think that friends is so much better than “helper” as it’s an equal relationship then rather than a shift in power dynamic happening. Wishing you a great night, BT 🙂

  8. Very thoughtful of you. We generally dont find time for our ageing parents. We are just so pre occupied with our routine life. This post is really helpful to find a way out of this problem. Thankyou☺☺

  9. I loved this Christy. Your compassion shines through your wonderful advice. Activities are so important to give seniors things to not only keep busy, but to enjoy. It’s what keeps us all going – having things to look forward to. ❤

  10. This is a very thoughtful post Christy. Loneliness at an age when you are not physically fit enough to go out and entertain yourself is dreadful. I wish each one of us can look after our parents and try to keep them happy in their old age just like they did for us when we were young. How about getting them to move in with us or at least near us so we can check on them easily. I read of an old woman who slipped and couldn’t get out of her bathroom for three whole days. I feel parents should never be left alone to look after themselves when they are old.

    • Ohhh when my grandma fell it was terrible to see her with a black eye… soon after that she went into a care home.. if families are able then having older parents live with them is a great option. Your warm nature is clear from your comment here, skd 🙂

  11. When my father passed away a few years ago, my mother naturally had a lot of trouble coping. After all, they had been together for 46 years, so my mother no longer knew how to manage being alone. After several months of living on my sister’s couch ( I and my brother unfortunately live too far away), my siblings and I finally convinced her to go out and make new friends. She wanted not a replacement for my father, but someone to be a companion, to make her feel like she would not be alone for the rest of her life. To our great surprise, she found a “boyfriend” who was in a similar situation, and they began to incorporate their lives. Now they live together, but divide their time between each others’ children and grandchildren, and are very happy together. Life does go on, one must simply look for a way to move forward in face of tragedy.

    • OH Amy, your story shows that life changes and we can help one another.. also that new people come in our lives at the times when we need them… and still your father has a special place.. so glad you shared this touching story ❤ Big hugs

  12. These are all great tips, Christy. I’ve a friend that I used to go on outings with. It helped her a lot especially after her husband died. She has Alztheimers, now, which makes it difficult to visit. She isn’t aware of it and gets angry. Her children have stepped in and are taking turns since they live out of state. Family does make a difference when aging. It’s difficult for everyone.
    A must read for everyone. Thank you for the url.
    Isadora 😎

    • I am glad to hear the family is stepping in to help your friend, Isadora.. and a situation like that puts stress on everyone.. I’m glad you found the article to be quality… I think that way about your posts xx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s