Getting enough social interaction is important for everyone, but elderly adults often struggle with maintaining friendships and other relationships. Your aging parent may be suffering from mobility issues and challenges that keep them from being able to get out of the house as often as they would like to, may have moved into a new area, or may even be struggling with cognitive function decline. Whatever the reason, if your senior is not getting enough social interaction, they could struggle with serious mental and emotional consequences, including depression, anxiety, a sense of irrelevance and loss of importance, diminished motivation to care for themselves, and more. As a family caregiver, helping your senior maintain their friendships is an important step toward preserving their health and quality of life as they age in place.
Use these tips to help your senior maintain their friendships:
- Encourage them to plan activities to do together. Rather than just “visiting”, have a specific plan for them to do together. This will give both of them something to look forward to, and offer focus and structure to their time together.
- Get them involved in a shared interest together. Encourage them to all join a club or organization that holds meaning to them, or even support them in starting their own. This will help them spend more time together while also supporting a sense of relevance and involvement.
- Help your senior use social media effectively and safely. This is a great way to stay connected to friends who live at a distance and cannot see your senior as often as they would like.
- Consider adding home care into your care routine so your parent will have consistent access to safe and reliable transportation, physical support, and other services that can help them get out and enjoy more activities with their friends while staying safe and managing their needs.
Home care is not just about helping your aging parent manage their physical health and well-being needs, though this is an important focus of it. Home care can be there for your parents to provide services necessary to support their mental and emotional health and well-being as well. Combining these efforts helps to ensure your aging parent will be able to enjoy the highest quality of life possible as they age in place. Home care is a completely customizable resource, with an in-home senior care services provider offering a wide range of care services so together you and your parents can select the ones that are right for them. This care provider can help support physical health and safety through tasks such as meal preparation, assistance with personal care tasks like bathing, physical support to manage mobility issues, and medication reminders to keep them compliant. They can also support mental and emotional health through companionship, mental stimulation, and encouraging them to get out into the community and engage with the world around them.