Social Isolation Among Elderly Population Increasing
Silver Tree Home Care would like to raise awareness about social isolation among our elderly population. Have you noticed the distant look in mom or dad’s eyes? Have you noticed them sleeping more? Are they less interested in getting out of the house?
Imagine being confined to a wheel chair day-in and day-out.
Maybe your vision is impaired so it’s not safe for you to drive any more. Maybe you can not breath rhythmically and can’t even make it to your car without gasping for air. You desperately want to go see your friends, go to have your hair done or eat out. Instead, you sit in your house, in your chair, watching television and eating tv dinners because there is no one to take you. How would that make you feel? I’m sure you would become depressed very quickly. Due to this, these are are all things that add up and contribute to social isolation among elderly. Here are some ways to prevent this and encourage more social interation.
1. The number one way to help avoid social isolation among our elderly population is to make transportation more available to them. Anything that helps seniors get around and make independent choices about travel promotes their social health.
We have a female client that lives in an assisted living community. We get her up every morning, give her a bath, fix her hair and help her get dressed. Next, we take her to the dining hall where she meets all of her friends. Our caregiver gets her food and then leaves so she can talk to her friends. The caregiver will stay close by in case she needs something but at enough of a distance so she can socialize without us hovering over her.
Another way to help with social isolation is to take seniors to church.
This is especially important for seniors who have been regular churchgoers. The weekly social connection involved with church is quite beneficial. Not only does this promote socialism, it promotes a sense of purpose within the community. Remember the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child”? It also takes a village to care for our seniors.
2. Promote a sense of purpose.
Have you ever just had nothing to do? You sit on the couch watching television, make yourself something to eat, pay bills, etc. It can be mind-numbing! Imagine if that’s all you had to do every day. You literally have nothing else to do. Having a sense of purpose or a hobby decreases the risks of social isolation among elderly. Many hobbies and interests are social in nature. Examples would be playing cards or going to bingo.
My grandmother kept a garden until the day she passed away.
Canning vegetables and making fresh fruit pies and cobblers were one of her favorite things to do. She had 12 children and over 100 grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. There was always someone at her house. She would cook and just fuss over all of us. She was truly the best grandmother, ever, in my eyes.
3. Encourage a positive body image.
Individuals with a poor body image; being overweight, unkempt hair, etc. can cause social isolation among elderly.
d you know there are some hair dressers who make house calls? My Mammaw had her hair done every week. She would have it washed, colored, and curled. At night she would put on a little bonnet to keep the curls in place. The next day she would just fluff it a little before she went out. Mammaw would put on her bright pink lipstick and a cute little outfit when Pappaw would take her to dinner or out to go shopping.
4. Encourage hearing and vision tests.
Last week, I was visiting a client. I walked in and said, “hey, Mr. so and so, how are you doing?” No response. I repeated myself only a lot louder the second time. No response. An undiagnosed or untreated hearing problem may cause social isolation among elderly. The elderly individual may be embarrassed and have difficulty carrying on a conversation.
In addition, vision failure limits socialization.
Mammaw had degenerative eye disease. Consequently, she could only make out shapes and no details. Because of the eye disease, she had no idea who she was talking to unless you stood close to her face so she could see who you were.
5. Address incontinence issues.
Noteworthy, seniors who experience incontinence may develop social isolation.
They are hesitant to leave the safety of their homes where they have a bathroom and clean, dry clothing. Adult briefs have come a long way over the years. You cannot see evidence that a senior is even wearing one. Especially relevant, remember to change the brief regularly to avoid the smell of urine and possible urinary tract infections. Most of all, this will have an impact on decreasing social isolation among our elderly population.
6. Hugs. Social Isolation Among Elderly can be lifted quickly with these!
Physical touch greatly helps to lower stress and anxiety. It promotes feelings of well-being. After a long day of work, there is nothing like coming home and hugging my children. There is nothing like seeing your family and them offering a hello hug and a goodbye hug. In addition, hugs and touch are important to seniors too especially for those who may have recently lost a spouse.
In conclusion, social isolation among the elderly excels aging into overdrive. Let’s help keep our seniors young at heart! It only takes a little tweak in your life to make a huge difference in theirs.