Tips to stay connected with seniors in the new year
As we leave behind a difficult year and enter an equally uncertain one, many of us are feeling complicated emotions. Worry, fatigue, and even hope for the future are all common reactions as we move forward. However, for the elderly in our lives, one emotion may be more heightened than others in the new year—loneliness.
Isolation in older adults has been a growing issue since the start of the pandemic. In fact, the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging (UMNPA) showed us that 56% of adults aged 50 through 80 felt isolated in June of 2020. When you add in a unique holiday season and the prospects of another challenging year, there’s no doubt that these feelings of loneliness have grown in the past month.
For many older adults, this holiday season brought new levels of isolation, including spending holidays alone and missing out on family traditions. This loneliness is more than just a short-term emotional challenge for elders—it can have long lasting effects on their mental and physical health. From anxiety and depression to high blood pressure and weight gain, loneliness can be life-changing.
Although physical distance is still important in ensuring that the elderly stay healthy, there are many ways you can ensure your older loved ones feel emotional connected. Whether you connect with the via new technology or safely in person, check out these tips to make sure your older friends and family feel the love in the new year.
Try out new tech
Luckily for those of us who can’t spend time in person with our loved ones, technology is here to keep us in touch. In addition to regular phone calls, video chats can be a great way to feel closer to friends and family despite the distance. Whether it’s Facebook, Zoom, Skype or FaceTime, there’s bound to be a platform that works for you and your loved one. Looking for virtual substitutes for the important activities in your loved one’s life? For movie buffs, a virtual movie streaming party can be a simple substitute for the cinema. If they’re missing church, there try researching virtual worship options offered by their church or community.
Send a letter
Although technology is convenient when it comes to maintaining a close bond, an old-fashioned letter never goes out of style. There’s no denying that receiving a handwritten letter adds some excitement to anyone’s day. In addition to brightening someone’s day, a letter shows that you took the extra time to write down your thoughts and share your love.
Keep their hands busy
Handheld hobbies, such as arts and crafts or gardening, keep the mind occupied and the body moving. If you know someone who might be feeling lonely, try sending them a package with some fun activities, such as a paint kit or some seeds for an indoor garden. To keep the fun going and create a stronger connection, try doing the activity with them virtually. All you need to do is join a video chat and test out your artistic skills together.
Share a meal
Nothing says you care quite like a homecooked meal. Even if your loved one is a great chef, dropping off a meal made with love can wash away those feelings of isolation. Just cook up a recipe you both love, drop it off on their doorstep, and enjoy the meal together via phone or video call.
Reach out—even if they seem okay
The elders in your life might seem to be doing fine, but it’s always a good idea to reach out when you can. If you haven’t talked to an older relative or friend in a while, set aside some time to give them a call or send them a card. If you have a lot on your plate, it can even be helpful to set a reminder on your phone to reach out.
If you know an older loved one who is in need of assisted living, Lodge Lane Assisted Living and Memory Care can help. Located in Wilmington, this community for older adults is committed to ensuring that residents feel connected, safe, and supported in the new year and beyond.
Their common areas and outdoor spaces allow residents to mingle with friends, keep up with hobbies, and explore in the fresh air. In addition to the amenities designed to keep residents social and entertained, each resident enjoys a private apartment with a private bath and walk-in showers equipped with grab bars and emergency call alerts.
For more information and to learn why residents are happy to call Lodge Lane home, contact Lodge Lane at (302) 757-8100.
1221 Lodge Lane, Wilmington, Del., 19809
Phone: (302) 757-8100
Email: [email protected]