By 2050, one in five of all Americans will be classed as elderly. With our population aging at a fast rate, more and more of us will be supporting an elderly relative at some point in our lives.
The University of California produced studies that show as many as 40% of all elderly people experience loneliness which can lead to other serious health problems. If you are supporting an elderly relative here are some simple ways you can help them to feel less lonely.
5 Ways To Support A Lonely Older Relative
It is often assumed that Personal care services need to be delivered by agency staff. However, many elderly people can access paid care through Medicaid’s CDS program. The CDS program allows for a relative or friend to be paid for the time they spend caring for the elderly person.
If you are intending to give care to a relative, then you should check if they are eligible for this support. This would allow you to be paid and therefore means you can spend more time with a loved one as you may not need to fit it around other work commitments.
It may often feel simpler and more convenient to turn up with a lot of groceries for your relative every week. However, you should speak to them about this and see if this is what they prefer.
Shopping can often be a social experience for them and a chance to be in a different environment. Shopping with your relative also gives them autonomy of choice, as they get to select their preferences for food and drink. Helping a relative navigate the shop may be a lot slower, especially if they have trouble with mobility but it may be a more rewarding social experience.
Scientists have discovered numerous health benefits from spending time in nature. For the elderly, more exposure to nature leads to a lower chance of developing a mental disorder compared to those who do not get to enjoy nature in their community.
Nature can be experienced simply by taking time to sit out in a garden or to go on gentle strolls through a park. If your relative needs a lot of assistance then they can often end up spending a lot of time indoors.
Ask your relative when they have last been outside and take the chance to go outdoors whenever the weather allows. Remember that your relative may not be as mobile as you so try to avoid rocky or uneven paths.
With the boom in video conference software, there are now several ways that relatives and friends who live further away can keep in touch with an elderly relative. However, the technology is only useful if it is accessible.
Spend time with your relatives to show them how to make use of this technology in their lives. Be patient and remember that their neural pathways do not work as quickly as they once did.
This can make learning new skills and remembering things difficult. Be prepared to show your relative the technology a few times before they can master it themselves.