Social isolation is a concern for older persons.
There are many reasons for this including decreased visits from family and friends, loss of independence such as the ability to drive and get out into the community, decrease in sensory abilities like vision and hearing, decrease in communication skills, and loss of mobility, just to name a few.
Here are some things to help an older family member or friend stay connected to family, friends, and their community.
- Visit as often as you are able. If you are a long distance caregiver call, face time, or Skype as often as possible. See A Postcard Tradition about how a son keeps in touch with his mother from afar.
- Keep mom in touch with friends by taking her to visit them, asking them to visit her in her home, meeting for lunch, calling on the phone, writing letter or e-mails.
- Set dad up for a class at a senior center or recreation center and arrange for transportation if needed. Check out other community resources here and information about senior centers here.
- Help a parent to keep in touch with neighbors. Take a walk in the yard or around the block and visit with neighbors who are outside. Make a special visit to drop off cookies at a neighbor’s house. See the post Connecting with Mom’s Neighbors.
- Have a party, potluck, card game such as bridge, and host it at your mom’s home or host it at your own.
- Call family and friends of parents and ask that they put parents on a call list, visit list, or mail list. A little friendly visit can make a huge difference. See how a family member kept my aunt in touch with this simple idea. See Keeping Loved One’s in Touch.
- Consider a pet for your older family member or friend. Pet have so many benefits!
- Ask that groups your loved one has belonged to in the past, keep in touch. This may be from church, a club, a volunteer organization, or other group.
- Schedule dinner with a parent once a week. Bring dinner over to share or invite dad over.
- Involve the children of the family to keep in touch. They can call, visit, send letters or artwork in the mail, or use social media (I have a 80 something Uncle that stays in touch with his family through social media. He says that’s how he keeps up with everything they are doing). Check out the Grand Activities page for a list of intergenerational activities.