The Loneliness Epidemic Part 4: Helping seniors out of loneliness

Get actively involved in helping your senior friend or loved one feel less lonely.

Seeing someone close to you suffer from loneliness is often not only sad to witness, but also frustrating as you don’t know how to help. It is, however, something you cannot ignore, as prolonged loneliness can lead to various health problems. Try these ideas to get started:

Visit regularly

Physical contact is ultimately important for people who are feeling lonely. Try to take time out of your busy schedule to see your senior friend or family member once a week, if possible, and spend quality time with them so that they do not feel abandoned or like a chore. Go for a walk together, sit down and play a card game or just talk and be present. If you cannot physically visit, look into care and companion agencies and organize a companion to visit regularly and to keep an eye on them.

Stay in contact

If you live overseas or far away, find ways to keep in contact with the elderly members in your family. Try to get them used to a communication platform such as WhatsApp so that you can send each other pictures, voice notes or have regular video calls. If this fails, send cards or letters the old fashioned way or do some online shopping and have a care package or an indoor plant delivered to them now and then to show that they have not been forgotten.

Learn about the past

When chatting to seniors, ask questions about their past and you will be amazed how much you might learn about your grandfather or elderly mom. Speaking about the past is often easier for seniors, especially if they have dementia or Alzheimers. Ask for advice on general life to give them a sense of purpose and importance and learn from their experiences. 

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