Whether you’re an adult child concerned about an aging parent or growing concerned about your own social isolation, recognizing the signs and symptoms is often the first step to be taken to protect yourself.
Sadly, isolation for senior citizens is a relatively common issue. It’s something that family members and the senior should pay attention to. Family members can play a crucial role in supporting an elderly loved one by being aware of the risks and signals of isolation and by stepping in to help with transportation.
Here are several tips that can help avoid social isolation:
- Make sure that a loved one who has maintained church attendance continues to do so by identifying carpool opportunities or making other transportation available
- Keep neighbors in the loop for regular check-ins and encourage weekly or regular social gatherings or meals.
- Attend regular vision and hearing tests, as many seniors may be avoiding social interaction due to embarrassment about being able to see or hear properly. Making these tests easily accessible with transportation can be very helpful for a loved one.
- Plan regular family interactions that include the elderly loved one. A weekly check-in or Sunday night dinner can give a senior something to look forward to and it’s a chance for family members to monitor health and nutrition issues in the elderly loved one.
Social isolation, when ignored, could lead to anxiety and depression. It can also amplify the impacts of cognitive and other healthcare issues.
If you’re concerned about an elderly loved one and want to ensure that he or she has properly planned for the future, consult with an experienced elder law attorney.
Your area Council on Aging might also offer programs to assist with these issues and some even offer free or reduced transportation. The following resources may be a great place to start: