Helping seniors stay social as they age is vital to their overall health and well being. Below is how home care agencies can do more to help older clients stay socially engaged here.
Enlighten: Families are busy; adult children of aging parents have a lot on their plates between work, children, and home life, and oftentimes, a visit to Mom’s house or even a daily call can get pushed to the back burner. Agencies and caregivers need to enlighten and educate families about the dangers that a lack of social engagement can have on their loved ones. Give them tips that will help incorporate social interaction with their loved ones into their busy lives. A quick Skype session with the grand kids before bed or a visit while waiting to pick the kids up after soccer practice can help the senior feel both loved and engaged.
Encourage: Prolonged social isolation has the tendency to become habit, and after a while, some older adults may resist going out or even having others over to visit. Part of every caregiver’s job is to provide gentle encouragement that will help the senior push past reservations and remember how good it feels to engage with others. Start slow and spend time conversing with the senior yourself, then work up to a regular outing. Encourage a trip to the local senior center or a church function, and continue to encourage family members, neighbors, and friends to call and visit as well.
Engage: The monotony of being at home alone 24/7 can be very depressing. Find ways to engage with the senior even if leaving the house is not an option. Play games, read his or her favorite books aloud, listen to music together, find a craft or recipe you can make together, set up a small indoor garden. Keeping the mind engaged in enriching activities is a key part of helping older adults feel less isolated. Social media is another great way to help seniors stay in touch with relatives. Teach clients how to use Facebook and Skype so they can stay connected at all times.