Later in life, feelings of isolation, loneliness, and uselessness can be prevalent. These emotions can shorten life spans and put us at a greater risk for dementia. This can be combated by maintaining a socially engaged lifestyle which can add to the sense of a fulfilling and satisfying life.
If your loved one resides in a care facility, find out what events are scheduled and which ones they would enjoy. Meals can also be taken with other residents which is a great opportunity for conversation. If they live in their own home, research the senior centers in your area or find local events they would find interesting. Arrangements can be made for transportation to make it possible for them to attend activities. Encourage them to accept invitations to birthday parties, holiday celebrations, or other events. If it is difficult for them to get out of the house, make arrangements for family and friends to visit and perhaps share a meal, a cup of coffee, or a treat. Even a routine weekly social visit can give them something to look forward to and lift their spirits. Volunteering their time with charity organizations can often be done both from the comfort of their own homes as well as by going to the charity's location. Supporting them in their hobbies or helping them to discover new ones will enrich their lives as well.
Although we will all need help eventually, each of us want to feel useful and needed. Be mindful of tasks that your loved one can still accomplish independently or with a degree of assistance and allow them to continue doing those things for as long as possible. Walking with them to the mailbox and having them carry it inside, or even just opening the mail can help them feel useful. Ask them to make a grocery list or accompany you to the store or while running errands. The time out of the house can be refreshing and rejuvenating and give them a sense of accomplishment.By staying socially engaged and enriching their quality of life, your loved one can enjoy benefits such as higher energy and less stress, as well as a better appetite. Not to mention feeling fulfilled and satisfied with their day-to-day life!