According to some new studies, seniors who are socially isolated are more likely to face the risk of death and die earlier compared to those who have less feelings of loneliness. Social isolation and loneliness has been proved to link to poor physical and mental health in seniors. Unfortunately, they are becoming more and more popular among the elderly.
Since loneliness can lead to several health problems, it’s important to make sure that your beloved parents or grandparents still stay socially engaged. Here are some tips which you can use to help a senior family member avoid social isolation and forming healthy interpersonal relationships:
- Promote a sense of purpose
After retirement, many seniors lose their drive or motivation to move on. Lack of a sense of purpose is one of the biggest cause of social isolation in the old. In order to reduce the risk of getting affected by social isolation, you can encourage them to take part in a special interest club such as club of photography or stamp collecting lovers. Also, you should advise them to start a hobby such as reading, travelling or planning trees. The participation in social activities can boost a senior’s confidence and make them busier and they can develop a meaningful and healthy lifestyle after retirement.
- Give them a pet
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the old who have pets usually enjoy lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as increased opportunities for socialization with other pet owners. Another study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology pointed out that pets played an important role in improving social relationships and generally making their owners happier during their lifetime. Maybe it is because the process of nurturing a pet has been largely acknowledged to have a positive influence on an individual experiencing loneliness. Giving your loved ones a pet is a great idea to help them reduce depression and loneliness as they’re getting older.
- Provide transportation
Lack of adequate transportation is considered as one of the most popular cause of a social isolation. In order to make your loved one more socially active, provide them transportation so that they can travel to the place they like. If you are living in a crowed city, let them use public transport. If you are living in a countryside, offer them a bike.
- Recommend the use of social media
Nowadays, not only the young but also the old are attracted by social media. While there are some concerns about the negative effects of mobile devices on human’s health, the seniors are strongly recommended to keep themselves stay connected on social networks. Researchers from the University of Arizona found that the elderly who were guided to use Facebook performed 25 percent better on cognitive tests compared to their performance at the beginning of the study. It is possible that social media help the seniors keep in touch with their friends, their relatives and family members who live far from them, which makes them more socially active and mentally healthy.