By Dana O’Donnell, RN
It’s a fact of life. As we age, our energy levels decrease and our bodies are just not as mobile as they used to be. But the older we get, the more important it is to stay connected to friends, family and neighbors, especially for older people who are living alone.
Staying connected is good for your health. New studies suggest that socializing may be just as important for seniors as physical activity. Researchers found that an active social lifestyle helps older people maintain a sharp mind, increase feelings of happiness and develop a sense of belonging. Having people you can turn to for company and support helps prevent loneliness, depression and hardship. But staying in touch with a few family members or a caregiver may not be adequate socialization. Experts say true social interaction means participating in activities and engaging with others, primarily peers.
It’s true that the older we get, the more people we lose. Retirement, illness, death, and moves make it challenging to keep in touch with close friends and family members. Here are some things you can do to help you stay connected everyday:
Get Outside: Ask a friend or family member to go for a walk where you live. Enjoy the fresh air. Take that opportunity to get to know your neighbors too. Also try walking around the local mall or the zoo.
Pick up the Phone or Go Online: Regular face-to-face contact is the best way to combat loneliness. But advances in technology can help when an in-person visit isn’t possible. Ask a family member to show you how to use Skype to chat face-to-face on the computer. Pick up the phone and call a friend, just hearing someone’s voice can make all the difference.
There are lots of ways to spend quality time with other people. Socializing will help you maintain your sense of purpose and your zest for life.
If you are a senior who requires assistance but is seeking to maintain your independence and live in the comfort of your own home, or you are a caregiver struggling to take care of a loved one, you will find that Liberty at Home can help by providing quality home care services. Liberty at Home, a licensed home care agency and service of Liberty Lutheran, serves individuals throughout Eastern Pennsylvania. We empathize with the growing number of seniors who wish to remain living in their home and know that their independence is important to them.
For more information about seniors staying connected or Liberty at Home, visit www.libertyathome.org or contact Dana O’Donnell, Executive Director, Liberty at Home, 215-643-6335 ext. 147.