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As a family caregiver, you understand the importance placed on keeping your parent engaged and social as they age. A report in the Center for Advancing Health validates this: “Elderly people who are socially active and maintain or increase their interactions with others as they age have a slower progression of health declines than elderly people who become less socially engaged over time.”

Staying connected to the world at large as well as to fellow humans not only leads to better health, but increased happiness as well. A report in the Industrial Psychiatry Journal suggested that “Many people experience loneliness and depression in old age, either as a result of living alone or due to lack of close family ties and reduced connections.”

Knowing this, you may have prodded your loved one into checking out the local senior community center or joining a support group or going to one of the exercise classes geared for seniors at the local YMCA, all to no avail. Encouraging a reluctant parent to socialize can be trying. Here are some tips and tools to try the next time the topic comes up.

  • Determine why. They may be providing excuses because they do not want to bring up the true underlying cause of their isolation. This may be anything from incontinence to hearing problems to problems with transportation. Once you discover the underlying issues, simple solutions can often be implemented.
  • Medical issues. It may be that medical issues or medications your loved one is taking are producing extreme fatigue that is leading to lethargy and the inability to go out even if they wanted to. Make a list of all the medications your parent is currently taking and ask their pharmacist to look it over to see if any of the drugs could produce fatigue either by themselves or in combination with others. Make an appointment with their primary health care provider to determine if there is an underlying health issue.
  • Encourage companionship by scheduling a monthly potluck at your parent’s home. Change the theme to produce a fun and unique experience—one month is a Hawaiian theme while the next is Asian inspired. And dress accordingly!
  • Attend one of the many classes or community events that the local senior community center provides with your parent. This helps them to get comfortable with the process and encourages new friends. If transportation is an issue, bring it up with the personnel at the center who may very well know about a volunteer driving service in the community for homebound seniors.

Elderly Care Provider
An elderly care provider can not only assist with the daily activities of living, they can also provide transportation, run errands, attend social outings and accompany your parent to outside events as well as walks in the local green space. They often become your parent’s closest ally.

If you or an aging family member are considering elderly care in Palmer, AK, please contact the caring staff at TLC Home Care today. (907) 336-CARE

Resources
http://www.cfah.org/hbns/2011/socially-active-olde…
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC30167…

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