Seniors: Dealing with Isolation and Loneliness


Seniors Living at Home

As our parents and family members age they start to lose some of the things that we all take for granted. No matter how healthy they are, some of their functions will be impaired. For the majority of people 75 and older, there will be issues of mobility impairment.

In many cases, the sense of smell and eyesight will diminish. Taking medication can become a major issue because of forgetfulness, and over medicating is even more worrisome. All these issues and more are things that must be addressed with our loved ones and that is where it gets difficult. How do you tell the people who took care of you and raised you that you know better than they what is now good for them? I think the hardest one is telling someone they can no longer drive.

There are numerous blogs and print articles that can help you figure out the best way to talk to your seniors about such things. And sometimes you will simply be put in a position where you are not going to be able to keep them happy in the near term, but you must do what is best for them before something happens that everyone will regret.

Beyond these issues is one of the most difficult to deal with, and it is not strictly a medical issue. It is the issue of loneliness and isolation. There is nothing that will cause a decline in mental and physical health in a senior faster than these. As we age, people move away to get closer to their respective families, or get moved to skilled nursing facilities, and their social group gets smaller and smaller. If your senior insists upon staying in their home, and you can not physically get over to see and spend time with them several times a week, see if you can have the local senior center pick them up for social functions.

Call an in-home care company; even if you are on a limited budget there are ways to help with the cost. That will ensure that your senior family member is at least getting good meals and the proper dose of medication a few times a week, or every day if you can manage it. And it gives them some time with a person they can connect to.

Here at San Clemente Villas, we work hard to make certain that we have a wide variety of activities available to our seniors. We have dances, art classes, exercise classes, educational seminars, cook outs and fundraisers at regular intervals. We also encourage family visits. There is NO substitute for a hug from a Grandchild or Great-grandchild. I know we get busy in our lives and it’s hard to take time out, but schedule that time, just like you would for your child’s soccer practice. These are the people who loved and supported you, you will want to reciprocate. It doesn’t have to be for a whole day, or even any more than an hour per visit, in fact more short visits can be better than a prolonged visit that may tire your senior out too much. Phone calls are good too.

Just remember one of the golden rules: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, treat your seniors the way you would want people to treat you and all will be good…

Aileen Brazeau


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