Community Blog

Elder Care Tips: Encouraging Your Parent to Build and Maintain More Friendships

By Vicki and Brian Day

Elder Care in Walnutport PA

Elder Care in Walnutport PASocial interaction is vital to the health and well-being of anyone. For your aging loved one, however, getting enough of this interaction can be extremely challenging. They may no longer drive, which limits their movement and keeps them from getting to activities, events, and get-togethers. They may no longer live as close to their friends as they did, making it more difficult for them to see them as often as they would like. They may have experienced the loss of most, if not all, of their social circle from when they were younger so they no longer have people outside of you, their partner, and their elderly health care services provider to talk to.

Encouraging your parent to build and maintain more friendships is a critical aspect of supporting ongoing mental, emotional, and cognitive health. It can also play an important role in supporting better physical health, providing more impetus for your parent to follow through with care guidelines and getting them more active.

Use these tips to make encouraging your parent to build and maintain more friendships a part of your elder care efforts:

Establish reliable transportation. It is difficult to make friends or to keep those friendships going if you can never leave the home. If your parent no longer drives, make sure that there is safe, reliable transportation available to them. An elderly health care services provider can be invaluable in this situation. The care provider can be there transport your parent to activities, events, and gatherings that will get them into contact with more people and encourage more engagement. A teenager who is a safe and responsible driver is also a fantastic option for added availability. This encourages a multigenerational approach to care that will be beneficial both to your child and your parent.

Seek out interests. Find out what types of activities or topics interest your parent. Use this information to then go out and find activities, groups, clubs, organizations, or events that speak to this interest. Not only will this stimulate your parent's mind, but it will also get them into contact with likeminded people. This is a great foundation for friendship and provides built-in activities for them to start enjoying together as they get to know each other.

Volunteer. Volunteering in the community lets your parent get out and meet others who have the same interests, skills, and motivations. This helps to "break the ice" and gives them a chance to do things together as their relationship builds. Encourage your parent to suggest other volunteer opportunities that they might want to do together, or to plan offshoot activities related to the volunteering theme.

Find a support group. Finding your own friendships within your elder care journey can be instrumental in helping your parent get more social interaction as well. Seek out a caregiver support group that will get you into contact with others who are going through the same things that you are. Suggest getting your parents together for activities and outings. This will provide friendships for both of you, easing stress and boosting emotional health.