Ways to Reduce Social Isolation for Better Health
Loneliness is a common feeling among seniors who live at home. Yet this social isolation not only affects quality of life in older adults, it can also have health consequences such as increased falls, increased risk for dementia and increased risk of being hospitalized, according to a recent study on social isolation.
Here are some ways to help older adults connect, feel engaged and stay healthier overall:
Address the Root of Social Isolation
Embarrassment. If seniors are experiencing incontinence, they may be hesitant to leave their home. Yet the solution is simple. Medications and/or personal supplies provide peace of mind that allow older adults to join in social activities without embarrassment and discomfort.
Mobility issues. Older adults may not trust their abilities to walk even short distances or don’t want to admit they need a cane or walker. Sometimes it’s a matter of pride because they don’t want to look or feel old. If you notice your loved one is unsteady or reluctant to walk very far, talk with the doctor. It may be time for assistive equipment. Once your loved one has a cane or walker, encourage its use and help them become more confident with the equipment.
Hearing or vision difficulty. Undiagnosed or untreated hearing or vision problems can make it difficult to communicate and may lead to avoidance of social situations. Seniors should get their hearing and vision checked annually. Hearing aids can make it easier to engage in conversations and open the door to more social activities.
Encourage Social Interaction
Dine together. Sharing a meal is one of the best ways to connect with others. It also promotes better nutrition for seniors.
Nurture something. The act of caring for something else, such as a pet, garden or even a plant, can reduce loneliness and depression and provide motivation to engage each day.
Get involved. Another way to promote connectedness is to sign your loved one up for a regular class or activity, such as art or exercise. When your loved one is in a routine and class with others, they have something to look forward to, people are looking for them to show up, and they feel a sense of community.
Provide transportation. When a loved one can no longer drive, opportunities to get out, feel independent and socialize quickly shrink. One way to help is to offer to drive or coordinate transportation for your loved one whether it’s for errands or social opportunities.
Consider an Active, Social Community
At McKnight Place Assisted Living, older adults enjoy independence while receiving a little extra help. This beautiful community offers endless opportunities for connecting with others through activities, dining experiences, card clubs, happy hour and outings as well as assistance with daily chores, personal care, transportation and managing medications and doctor visits.
McKnight Place is committed to exceptional service and attention. Residents enjoy elegant, warm suites to personalize for a comfortable feeling of home complemented by chef-prepared meals in the dining room for conversation and mingling. At McKnight Place, seniors appreciate living independently while never feeling alone.
Come See For Yourself
For more information or to schedule a personal tour, please call 314-993-3333 (Assisted Living & Memory Care) or 314-993-2221 (Skilled Nursing).