One of the leading causes of senior loneliness is social isolation, a condition resulting from them being cut off from family members or friends, or the possibility of interacting with others of their own age. Another very common cause of senior loneliness is the loss of a spouse with whom a great many years were spent, and a great many memories were acquired. This is especially true in the years immediately following the death of a spouse, when the loss might be more keenly felt.
In-home caregivers in the Palo Alto area recognize the importance of trying to cheer up an elderly person who is obviously suffering from loneliness, because if it should extend over a prolonged period, it can actually develop into a situation which negatively affects the health of the senior. There are some tried-and-true ways of helping seniors recover somewhat from the loss of a loved one, and for cheering them up in general to improve their outlook on life.
Encouraging socializing with other seniors
One of the best ways to combat senior loneliness is to arrange for or seek out social activities which put an elderly person directly in contact with other seniors. With a little searching online or through the news media, it’s possible to find scheduled activities in the area for seniors, such as dances, parties and celebrations, performance entertainments, and other gatherings. From such events, friendships can often be formed, and it’s in relating to other people that seniors are often drawn out of their own isolation, back into the social world.
Introducing a small pet to the home
Introducing a small pet into the household has historically proven to be one of the most effective ways of breaking down social barriers which a senior may have erected, which is something that can occur after having lost a loved one or spouse. Granted, bringing a pet into the home can be a major event which necessitates ongoing care and extra work, but it is exactly this requirement of having to care for another living being which engages a senior, and helps to overcome loneliness.
This is a step which obviously should be considered carefully, and which a caregiver would fully discuss with any family members, because of the considerable care involved, but in cases where senior loneliness is fairly extreme and a strong response is indicated, bringing a cat, or a dog, or a bird into the home can be very therapeutic. Having another living being to care for can be a very powerful way of re-engaging a withdrawn senior, to bring them back into a loving, caring situation.
Trying modern technology
While many seniors might be overwhelmed a bit by how powerful and capable computers have become, when adequately explained and demonstrated, modern technology devices can also be fascinating sources of information and entertainment. The appeal of a cell phone for instance, is something that, in addition to being a technological marvel, can also be a very simple device to use for keeping in contact with others, and for being entertained.
Asking them for advice or opinions
By virtue of their having lived for a great many years, most seniors have stored up a library of knowledge in their heads which they are only too glad to share, if asked. The experienced caregiver understands this very well, and realizes that all it takes is a simple question or two about something a senior is likely to know, or at least have a strong opinion about, and the basis for an engaging conversation is formed. Everyone feels good about offering an opinion and knowing that their opinion matters to someone else, and elderly people are no exception.
Providing opportunities for reminiscing
One thing that most elderly people particularly enjoy is recalling happier times from past years, especially regarding relationships with people and memorable events from their lives. These recollections can be very enjoyable for a senior to share with others, because in a small way it amounts to briefly re-living a very happy moment from long ago. The understanding caregiver encourages reminiscing as a means of engaging an elderly charge, overcoming senior loneliness, and providing a means for them to reconnect with pleasant times from the past.
Promoting shared activities
Very often, all a senior really wants is to have someone to spend time with, and to share an activity or conversation which can make them feel involved, and like they still matter. This doesn’t need to be anything elaborate, and can in fact be as simple as watching a favorite television show with the senior, or perhaps playing cards, or listening to music.
Taking a walk around the neighborhood and sharing thoughts about it, can provide a number of benefits in addition to that of engagement. In short, overcoming senior loneliness can be accomplished fairly easily, with just a little bit of caring and understanding on the part of those people surrounding the elderly person, including the in-home caregiver. Like anyone else in Palo Alto, seniors just need to feel that someone cares enough to spend time with them, and to talk or listen.