To those outside looking in on one’s life in isolation, not many understand the toll this could take on an individual, mentally and physically. While not all people who live alone suffer from depression or extreme loneliness, it is a possibility and is quite common among the elderly. Seeing a loved one who had a passing of a spouse or someone entering into an empty nest situation at a later time in their life are the biggest at risk. An isolated lifestyle is very different from the lifestyle that person just transitioned from, even if they don’t expect it to be. So how can you help those who may be living in isolation?
First, don’t be afraid to address the problem. It is important to do so sooner than later to avoid a snowball effect of emotions in the long run. In most cases, they just need someone to listen and talk to. Spend time with them, take the time out to truly listen to their needs and then you may be in a better place to point out any clues that may lead to further isolation.
Next, find ways to get them out into the community. You could suggest to them about joining a club or taking up a hobby with others in the community. In most neighborhoods, you will find a senior center that provides a variety of classes and hobbies for the elderly to gather together. There are a variety of options for the elderly to take part in within the community. You could also suggest to them to attend local groups suffering from social isolation. Also visiting those in senior homes could be a way to allow them to meet new people who could possibly share in the same atmosphere at home. Another option isn’t meant to be used in place of face to face time with others, but technology might be another way to reach outside of their isolated living situation.
Although you suggest all these new ways to branch out, the senior might not be open to doing these things just yet. The main goal is that you’re opening a door of possibilities for them and you’re willing to listen, spend time with them and discover the areas they might need help in so you can provide them with whatever help you can.
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