Your Parents are Lonely – What Are You Doing to Help?
Now more than ever your parents are lonely – what are you doing to help? Loneliness goes hand-in-hand with age. It’s normal to feel lonely during life’s highs and lows, but it’s different for older folks. The older generation is more prone to loneliness and isolation than other ages especially during this times. Prolonged periods of loneliness can lead to depression – making it even more important to regularly check on them.
There are many ways you can help your parents combat their loneliness like a simple weekly phone call, engage them in different activities, or take them out for a short drive. Aging parents tend to feel lonely most of their time, and reminisce their memories often, longing for the good old days. This drives them to lose interest in themselves. They may begin to eat less, making them weak and open to all manner of ills.
If you're worried about your parents falling victim to loneliness, don't worry. There are dozens of things you can do to help them.
Are Aging Parents More Vulnerable to Loneliness?
It is important not to misinterpret the terms' feeling lonely' and 'being alone.' An individual who is alone will not always experience loneliness; a person can feel lonely even when in a crowd and can feel happy when alone. Loneliness is a human emotional state that a person experiences when they feel a gap between their social connection desires with what they experience in reality.
As you age, you tend to feel lonely more often than when you were young.
Have you ever noticed your elderly parents spend most of their time home alone? Have you seen them be at solace with their loneliness? Unfortunately, it has become common among our senior citizens to experience such feelings.
This sense of feeling negatively impacts their health. It could make them feel unwanted, depressed, agitated, at times aggressive and angry on small things. Most of the time, all they need is a bit of attention and affection to keep them going.
Your Parents are Lonely – What Are You Doing to Help?
When aging parents suffer through losses at a certain point in life, they are less likely to feel the need to go out or talk to anyone about the matter. They opt to be quiet and tend to be with themselves. However, given the physical threats loneliness can impose and how it can disrupt mental peace, aging parents must maintain a connection with their family members and peers.
Here are some ways you can help your elderly parents fight their loneliness:
Maintain frequent contact with them
It isn't hard to grab your phone and make a five or ten-minute call to your parents. If you're far away, try to make it a point to call them up on a set scheudle whether daily or weekly to converse. It isn't even necessary to spend hours talking. A quick "hello, how are you doing" can brighten up their day. Just make sure you keep a frequent check on them.
Sit with them and listen
This can do wonders for your parents. All they want is someone who will listen to them after a long tiring day. If you don’t live with your parents, plan to drop in at least once a week. Visiting them with a warm smile and a big hug can make them happy and valued. Grab a cup of tea, sit together, and talk.
Mostly, older parents love to talk about their memories. Listen to what they have to tell you. Pay attention to the little details. Discuss different topics with them like sports, inquire about their favorite teams, or ask their views on country politics.
Bridge the gap
It isn't easy for aging parenting to deal with the struggle of loneliness on their own. They need support to overcome loneliness but fail to express it. One of the best ways to help your parents is to connect them with the family's young members.
Encourage them to spend time with their grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. It can also help them learn something from each other. By connecting the bridge between the younger and older family members, the elderly can feel more wanted in the family.
Take them out
Plan an entire day with them. Take them out for a short walk, drive, or to some event. A change of location can help aging parents boost their self-esteem and give them a sense of belonging. Search around for any events or ceremonies going on in their area. These events can help them engage with their community. At the same time, it will positively benefit their well-being too.
Introduce them to technology
Since we live in an era of technology and social media, you can get your parents a smartphone and introduce them to different social media platforms. This will help them keep in touch with what's going on in the world and give them something visually interesting to engage in. If you live quite far from each other and cannot have face-to-face interactions, get them an iPad plus a video calling and messaging app like Ohana that’s designed for them to help stay in touch.
Adopt a pet
Getting your aging parents a pet can help them get rid of loneliness. Although people crave more for human interaction, studies have proven that caring for pets can bring physical and mental advantages. Additionally, having a pet can make a home feel less empty, ultimately making your parents feel less lonely.
Aging is a universal truth of life, and none of us can escape it. However, the sense of loneliness that accompanies aging can make matters worse, especially for our parents. It is essential to identify and utilize opportunities to help ease loneliness. This can be done by interacting with new people or building stronger connections with family – all it takes is a bit of effort to make it happen.