America has an aging population. In fact, in Utah itself, the state’s estimated population is at 3.22 million as of 2019, making it the 4th fastest-growing state in the country. Out of the 2,082,530 adults, 307,095 of whom are seniors. Age brings difficult challenges that contribute to a person to feel that they are alone and lonely. One issue that the seniors are facing is that their social circle is now beginning to decrease. They start to lose a sense of connection and community.
Choosing the right place to live after retirement is an important decision, and choosing a retirement community in Ogden or somewhere else in Utah is an option. The mental, physical, and emotional advantages of being socially engaged are huge. It is believed that elders who stay socially active are more likely to live longer, have a stronger immune system, and are happier. In a retirement community, it is also easier for the seniors to find someone who they can easily connect with and have the same interests as them. Here, they have an instant neighborhood and more opportunities for conversations and social activities.
It is also vital for seniors to do something that would keep them busy. Whether it’s an old hobby or a brand new one, it’s good to have something that will make them enthusiastic and look forward to the next day. Different activities like Tai Chi, dancing, and crocheting are best for seniors and will help them increase their decreasing social circle.
To avoid loneliness, it may also be helpful to give your elderly parent or relative something to take care of. Owning a pet will make them more socially engaged, feel less depressed and lonely, and feel more secure. It will give them a reason to wake up in the morning and can be used as an icebreaker in establishing a friendship. However, before deciding on giving them a companion, make sure first that they are capable and willing to take care of a pet properly. For those who are not so keen on taking care of a pet, gifting them with gardening supplies can be beneficial, too, since tending to a garden can increase their nurturing drive.
Furthermore, the most important thing in making your senior parents feel less lonely is to have time for them and make them feel your presence. Bridge the generation gap. Try to come up with ways to connect the oldest and youngest generation in your family. Let them spend time together and make them more aware of the differences between both generations. You’ll never know, but the seniors have a big potential of contributing a lot to your family if they stay engaged.
Communication is not an issue at this age anymore. With just a few clicks and taps on a laptop or a smartphone, you can easily talk to your family and friends from around the globe. It is highly encouraged to make technology available for the elderly to make it possible for them to have an active social life. There are different video chat services that they can use to see their families who live far from them.
It may be hard to identify the cause of loneliness and the solution to stop it, especially for the elderly. What you can do to help them is to make them feel that they are loved and not alone. Let them know that no matter the situation they are in, they still have their family and friends with them.