Loneliness can be detrimental to health, including mental and physical health, and for older people this can be even harder. Their home might once have been a thriving hub of activity, with children running around and continuous visitors through the doors. However, families grow up and move away, leaving people feeling remote and alone.
There are some simple ways to prevent loneliness among elders, some of which are as follows:
- Many local centers have fun and engaging activities for older people to take part in – this is a great way to make new friends, get out of the house, and do something fun!
- It is great to see people in person, but social media, phone calls, and emails can help keep you connected too. If you are not yet comfortable with computers, ask a young relative, friend or neighbor to help you.
- Helping others is an incredible way to give something back to the community and remind yourself that even later in life you too have a great deal to offer.
- Joining a gym or fitness center is a great way to stay physically fit and engage with others. Staying socially active and maintaining your relationships are important parts of healthy ageing. Stay as active, vibrant, and social as you have always been.
- Also talk about subjects that interest you, even if you get the feeling that the person does not feel involved. Who knows, you may benefit from his or her advice, and it will also give you the opportunity to make the person feel that he or she matters.
- When you visit an elderly, bring your children or those of family members. Senior citizens often enjoy the company of young children, who represent a great source of entertainment and joy. You can also bring a pet, if you have one, and if the elderly person enjoys that. Animal therapy is an established method to combat loneliness and isolation.
Combating loneliness means preventing exclusion, loss of autonomy, poverty, and psychological or emotional distress. Everyone must do his or her part to donate to the well-being of our senior citizens and implement measures enabling them to conquer loneliness and isolation. The elderly members are a national and familial treasure, so it is the duty of younger generations to take care of them.