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Minimizing Isolation helps Support Mental and Emotional Health in Aging Adults
There is an idiom; it takes a village. While this statement typically refers to raising a child, it can easily apply to the support and care of older adults. Many studies have found that aging adults face isolation and loneliness, but strong support systems and social connections significantly promote mental and physical health and well-being.
Ensuring your loved ones have proper emotional and social care is critical to their health.
When I was very young, my grandfather passed away, and my parents moved our family back to my mom’s hometown, as my grandmother was in poor health and could not take care of her home without support. My grandmother had extreme difficulty moving around and used leg braces, a walker, and a wheelchair, so she relied on my parents, myself, and my siblings for her care and socialization. We did as many activities as we could to keep her engaged. For example, sometimes we would go on long drives around our community with the windows down for fresh air and time away from home. My grandmother lived longer than any of her doctors predicted, and I am confident that this was made possible by the family and friends who assisted in her care and prioritized her well-being.
Understandably, not all families are in a position to care for their aging loved ones, so creating a community and regular check-ins is critical to avoid the adverse health effects caused by isolation and limited interaction with other individuals.
Individuals may be at a greater risk of isolationism if they…
- Cannot drive
- Live in a rural area with limited access to senior programming and services.
- Reside in an urban environment but are unable to walk very far
- Do not have family or family members living close by
- Live in assisted living or a nursing home with few visitors
- Have a stressed caregiver or one who is faced with personal challenges
- Reside in an apartment complex with limited amenities
Preventing loved ones from the impact of isolation is possible. Below are some strategies to help older adults avoid the loneliness that often accompanies aging.
- Conduct weekly mail checks and social visits.
Because mail has to be managed, a weekly mail check-in can be an excellent opportunity for a caretaker, family member, or a trusted companion to connect with an aging adult in their life. If the older adult is still mobile, take a short walk to the mailbox to retrieve the post and then review the received items together, sorting the important documents from the junk mail. Sort and read while enjoying a cup of coffee or tea and quality time together. In addition to managing mail, you could play checkers, organize a closet, or bake cookies. If you notice that your loved one could benefit from a little extra help, the support of a Senior Companion or Eldercare Bookkeeper may be a great way to ensure your social visits remain social and not stressful.
- Address physical impairments to build confidence.
Many elderly adults struggle with impairments like poor vision or hearing, which can lead to insecurity and a desire to shy away from the public. If a loved one is struggling with these challenges, research solutions that can help them navigate life more easily and confidently.
- Get out of the house by using available resources.
Getting out of the house is a wonderful way to spend quality time with your loved ones and uplift them. Our bodies and minds crave natural environments and visual stimulation, so if the aging adult has the necessary mobility, going on drives — as my family did with my grandmother — is a wonderful way to spend time together. If these types of visits are not possible, you can hire a trusted driver to take them on scenic journeys as often as time and budget allow. Senior transportation resources are also available in specific areas, so caregivers can research what is available in their neighborhoods.
Building your village is crucial to supporting loved ones.
At Meier Law Firm, we are committed to playing a role in the ‘village’ of support that all caregivers and aging adults require to maintain the best and highest quality of life. We know that services like Personalized Senior Support, Eldercare Bookkeeping, Estate Planning, and Estate Administration are not just business — they are personal. As a firm that practices counsel without judgment, we go the extra mile for our clients to ensure they are happy, comfortable, and confident with their life transitions.
Meier Law Firm is committed to playing an active role on the team of professionals that help you and your loved ones maintain the best quality of life. To learn more about their Eldercare Bookkeeping Services, visit TheMeierLawFirm.com
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